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Wade Frazier

Lessons learned from my journey with Dennis

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Hi:

I have begun plunking along on my big essay revision, and plan for less posting in forums while I do it. I also decided on a theme for posting that will keep me busy for a while. It is going to be on the lessons learned from Dennis’s journey. I am going to get into physics, economics, the business world, retail politics, the USA’s legal system, and so on. My years with Dennis comprised the greatest learning experience of my life. Everything else pales beside it. All the study to create my site is trivial, compared to the educational experience of my years with Dennis. All of my background and training was only to get me ready for my ride with Dennis.

I put up a series of vignettes last year, about key learning events with various people. This is going to be less personal, and focus more on structural aspects of how the system works, get into the physics of the technologies that we pursued, and the innovations and tactics that Dennis used. They were incredible to witness.

In the end, no matter how divinely inspired, prodigiously talented, and courageous, while one man can make quite a dent (he gave Godzilla plenty of sleepless nights), one man can’t shoulder the entire planet like Atlas, no matter how much otherworldly “help” he seems to get. Indiana Jones can’t do it by himself.

I’ll start with an observation about Dennis and some others in my circle. Dennis, Mr. Professor, and my father all grew up on farms, with Dennis growing up as a migrant farmworker. There is something to a background like that. There is plenty of baggage that comes with the conditioning of the agrarian epoch, but it could also produce amazingly honest people, the kind that are hard to find in our cynical times. All three of those men grew up flag-saluting patriots, served in the military, were raised Christian, and so on. They all had that Boy Scout quality, Dennis and Mr. Professor far more so than my father, but I was raised with that Boy Scout mentality myself. I will allow that Dennis and Mr. Professor are/were extraordinary souls, and would have been great in any Epoch, but those agrarian roots counted for something.

We all lost our naïveté honestly, too. This is going to be a huge, wide-ranging series of posts, with plenty in it that I have not discussed publicly before, especially in the way that I am going to. It will be a bit different from this lessons learned essay.

Best,

Wade

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Hi:

As I do in my work all the time, I pull back and take in the bigger picture, to see where it all fits in. For all the undeniable evil that my great nation has inflicted on the world, and like Jefferson, I tremble for my nation when I think that God is just, the USA’s trajectory is unique in world history, and instructive in ways for what can lie ahead for humanity, as well as provide many examples to inspire sober caution.

The USA did not invent freedom, which is one of many myths and outright lies that gird the official tales, but the USA’s trajectory was unique, and auspicious in ways. England began invading North America during its ascent to industrialization, they plundered a mind-bogglingly rich continent, and their political descendants stole it from its inhabitants, from sea to shining sea. At the theft’s beginning, England was a newcomer to the imperial scene, and by 1890, when the American frontier officially disappeared, less than three centuries later, the USA had become Earth’s greatest industrial power, passing up its parent, and it was only getting started. The world’s electrification process had begun, powered by Tesla’s alternating current technology, and oil was on its way to becoming humanity’s most important fuel, making its monopolist Earth’s richest human.

But the American continent was so huge that “settling” it took centuries, and as late as 1870, more than 70% of the American workforce was farmers, not so different from the first civilizations. My grandfather was born to Kansas homesteaders and lived in a sod hut as a child, but lived on top of Queen Anne Hill for the last 40 years of his life, in the middle of a gleaming metropolis. His son helped put men on the Moon, and his grandson has been chasing after the biggest event in the human journey for the past 30 years. From a sod hut to the Moon to mind-boggling technologies in less than a century; the human journey has not remotely seen anything like it.

As I wrote in the post that began this series, Dennis, Mr. Professor, and my father all began their lives on farms. IMO, that agrarian beginning helped give them a certain “ballast” that helped them walk their paths. They all woke up, to one degree or another, to the lies of their indoctrination, Dennis most dramatically, but their honesty and desire to do the right thing set them apart from their more urban brethren. Moving from the farm to the city has defined the past century of the American experience. My entire life has been spent in cities, although my parents tried to turn our backyard into a farm, and many weekends of my childhood were spent working in that yard as a mini-farm hand.

There are many downsides to the agrarian Epoch, and all three men were subjected to heavy Christian indoctrination, which Dennis will not relinquish in this lifetime, although he escaped it for a brief time in early adulthood. They all had heaping helpings of nationalistic indoctrination, as all Americans do, being trained to worship a flag, they all enlisted in the military, etc.

Brian and I had urban childhoods, but Brian was force-fed the red, white, and blue Kool-Aid, too, which led him on his preposterous journey. My Christian indoctrination was blessedly confined to only a few years of Sunday school, and I considered myself an atheist (to the degree where I omitted the “under God” part of my daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, posing as an independent thinker :) ), before I had my mystical awakening. I also went to business school and got a bellyful of capitalistic indoctrination (thanks to that damned voice in my head), which I began to question upon graduation, to the amusement of my peers, but my adventures with Dennis beat those lies out of my head. Capitalism is organized crime on a vast scale, normalized by the social managers to appear to be humanity’s natural or even highest state, although conscience-afflicted heretics speak out from time to time. What we encountered during our adventures was capitalism on steroids.

We were all deeply subjected to the primary population management ideologies in the USA, and it was from that milieu that our journeys began, although we deviated from the paths that we were supposed to take. :)

With that preamble out of the way, on to our adventures.

Best,

Wade

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Hi:

Before I get to the journey, what are my sources? Other than being there for the darkest days of our journey, Dennis’s books provide plenty of documentation and narrative. I lived with Dennis and his family for nearly a year, and Dennis’s family lived with Mr. Professor for two years (one of those years while Dennis was in jail). In the winter of 1986-1987, when I became Dennis’s partner, he began grooming me to be the heir apparent, but I cannot do what he does, and I eventually took a different path. We talked late into the night that winter (which was a blessed calm before the storm), with the snow deep in the yard, and I heard his life’s story. Since I am kind of a member of the family, being Uncle Wade to Dennis’s daughters (as Mr. Professor was, even more than me), I know his journey about as well as anybody, and as far as what he attempted to do, maybe nobody knows it better than I do. When I last saw him three years ago, he treated me like a historian of his journey, which I suppose I am, and it is more than an honor.

While the facts of Dennis’s journey, or mine, are simply unbelievable to most people, when you are there, it is very believable ( :) ), but there are even times when I look back at my life’s journey and can hardly believe that it happened that way. If you had told me when I was 16, with my first energy dreams, what was in store for me over the next 40+ years, I doubt that I would have believed you. So, when I get people who deny our experiences or are “skeptical,” I sympathize, while I am less sympathetic to those who lie about our journey, whether they were on the payroll or leading names in the FE field. Those antics only serve as confirmation of my journey’s primary lesson. But if people do their homework, many of the salient facts of our journeys are easily adduced. We are not some so-called “insiders” with tall tales without a shred of documentation. Ours have been very public journeys.

I had my own pedigree and experiences long before I met Dennis, even though he is the 800-pound gorilla of my life. I see our relationship as me being Indiana Jones’s sidekick for a time (and Dennis’s relationship with his wife was similar to Indy’s and Marion’s in ways), before I had to go lick my wounds, and I took the scientist’s/scholar’s route for much of my work since our days together, while he still dons the whip and fedora. He is almost as old as Harrison Ford, who still suits up to play Indiana Jones, so old guys playing those roles might be amazing to the rest of us mortals, but to them, it is just what they do, almost all that they know how to do.

For me, however, it was what we learned through those preposterous experiences that was important, and that is what this series of posts is going to be about. I already wrote a little about those agrarian roots, but while my father and Mr. Professor worked on their family farms, Dennis grew up poorer than that. He never had a farm of his own, but grew up a migrant farmworker when white people still did that in the USA. Dennis told me that harvesting asparagus was his most grueling farm task while growing up, going down rows on his hands and knees, with knife in hand, slicing those asparagus spears even with the ground. When Dennis reached 13 years old, his father told him that the family could no longer afford to feed him, and he was being turned out of the household to make it on his own. That was not that unusual in those times. One close family friend was also on his own at about age 13, and eventually became an engineer. My father paid for all the clothing that he wore from age six onward, and was paying rent to his father at 16.

Dennis has a very high IQ, probably in the genius range, and he continued to go to school. He lived in abandoned houses and the like, in a milieu where those people thought little of killing somebody like Dennis. One of Dennis’s tricks was sleeping on the second floor of abandoned houses and booby-trapping the stairways to discourage “visitors.” In high school, he surreptitiously slept in a janitor’s closet, which he did for years, to only be caught soon before graduation, when they expelled him for his “crime.”

I was raised in the same Scots-Irish culture that Dennis was, although my family had made it to middle class. I have many relatives who are classic rednecks and hillbilly types, and my father never really shook that culture, but reveled in it. I put it in my rearview mirror soon after I left home. One aspect of that culture is that they have been the USA’s cannon fodder since the beginning. My father instilled the idea in me that I would not quite be a man until I had been a soldier. So, just as Dennis turned 18, he was expelled from high school and did the typical thing that men from his culture did: he enlisted in the military. It was the spring of 1964, a few months before the Gulf of Tonkin incident. That cannon fodder is more useful if they believe in the cause, and Dennis bought his nationalistic indoctrination hook, line, and sinker (like Brian did). When in the army, he would get in fistfights with fellow soldiers who made disparaging remarks about the USA.

Dennis became a paratrooping medic, stationed in Germany, but he ended up in Southeast Asia before his tour of duty was finished, and was in bloody combat. Dennis once performed an unassisted appendectomy and wanted to become a surgeon after his discharge. That was pretty ambitious for somebody of his background, but he surely could have done it. But fate had other plans for him.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

Over the years, I picked up stray anecdotes from Dennis, which helped me put together the jigsaw puzzle of his life. When Dennis had his dramatic mystical awakening, it was not his first brush with that kind of experience. During his army days, he once had an all-night out-of-body experience at his base. While Dennis was raised with those fire-and-brimstone sermons that his mother dragged him to as a child, in whatever farming community that they lived in during that harvest or planting season, or at the church at home, he did not believe them. The Bible stories seemed strange to him, and he even asked the ministers if they really believed their sermons. Sometimes he got the frank admission that they were far from sure whether those stories were true, but they were stories to believe in, and that was how they made their living.

Dennis said that he was introverted and shy when young, but somewhere along the line he lost that. He is extremely extroverted and gregarious, striking up conversations with nearby tables at restaurants (something that I have never done in my life), and when he was discharged from the military, he went home to Yakima, began attending the local junior college, got straight A’s, and became student body president. He was quite the ladies’ man, in those sexual revolution days of the late 1960s and early 1970s. During his tenure there, it was discovered that he never graduated from high school, and it was a bit of a scandal for the student body president, but the college administrator made an exception for Dennis, in light of his straight A’s.

In Yakima, Dennis got a job shipping munitions to Vietnam, which was typical veteran activity, and he took advantage of the USA’s postwar boom, intending to make it into the middle class. He bought a new Ford Mustang and got a loan from a bank, and not because he needed the money, but to establish credit and play the middle class game. That was when he had his life-changing moment in the bank lobby. Until that moment, American nationalism was his surrogate religion, and it went up in smoke before his eyes. He nearly pulled that trigger, and has always seen every day since then to be gravy. He kind of forfeited his life to his god after that day. I have had the voice, too, as have others in my circle, but my experience is that the voice does not identify itself, and I doubt that it did to Dennis.

Not long afterward, Dennis got a job on a radar base in Alaska, in the infirmary. That may be where me met his mentor, who was a heart surgeon who pioneered heart surgery for children and buried most of his patients. It was emotionally devastating activity, and the surgeon tried talking Dennis out of becoming one. He said that if Dennis forsook his surgeon dreams, that he would pay for his college.

That radar base was in the deep wilderness, with 2,000 isolated men, and the only eligible woman within hundreds of miles became Dennis’s girlfriend. Dennis thought that it was only his good fortune, but after a couple of months, the woman told Dennis what the situation was: she was a bribe to get Dennis to dispense the illicit drugs to the men at the radar base, on behalf of the local organized crime syndicate.

Dennis was shocked and went home to receive counsel from his father, who advised Dennis that saving his own skin was paramount. Dennis once told me that that was when he had his moment of seeing his father as human and far from noble (when I was telling him about my own similar experience), and Dennis did not take his father’s advice and instead approached the FBI. Dennis then played the mobsters as if their recruiting pitch was working, while he fed FBI everything. Dennis may have worn a wire during those events. When the FBI got enough information from Dennis, they moved in and busted the mobsters. While Dennis was in bloody combat in Southeast Asia and probably should not have lived to be an adult, he then received his first murder attempt from the Mob. I don’t know the particulars of the first hit attempt, but the FBI informed Dennis that he could not stay in Alaska with a price on his head, and he had a 12-policeman bodyguard as they whisked him out of Alaska.

At the airport just before he left Alaska, he went into the airport restroom, and one of his policeman bodyguards came into the bathroom with him, pulled out a Bowie knife, and tried to kill Dennis. Dennis’s soldier skills saved his life, as he screamed and grappled with the assassin. He survived, the assassin went to prison for a long time, and Dennis still has a scar on his arm from that attempt.

Upon leaving Alaska, Dennis took that surgeon up on his offer. The surgeon lived in New Jersey, and Dennis moved there, went to college at Farleigh Dickinson, and lived with the Eastern Establishment. From migrant farmworker to living amongst the oligarchy with their butlers who called them “master,” etc. The movie Heaven Can Wait depicted that oligarchical lifestyle, and it disgusted Dennis.

Dennis decided to study social psychology, and his senior project (it is less than a doctoral thesis, but is some kind of research project necessary to graduate – mine was on the history of accounting, showing where I was headed :) ) was a study of Utopian literature and ideal societies. Dennis performed door-to-door surveys, and his sense was that people lived in fear of their government. Well, in New Jersey, that should have been no big surprise. :)

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

At Farleigh Dickinson, Dennis continued his straight A’s, and was in the honors program for social psychology. He hobnobbed with the oligarchy, and his first wife was a daughter of the oligarchy. Dennis played the hero, marrying her to try to protect her from her overbearing father who was trying to seize her mother’s inheritance. Dennis did it because it was her mother’s dying request to Dennis, but he was not sure whether to adopt her or marry her.

Soon before his scheduled graduation, Dennis received a special invitation to a conference that B.F. Skinner ran. Skinner has been about as influential as Freud in the field of psychology, and Uncle Noam took him on. Skinner’s work was kind of like Pavlov for humans, and one reason for Noam’s critiques was that it was also quite like the PR work of people such as Bernays, and Dennis got a bellyful of it at that conference. The gist of the conference was manipulating the public to believe anything that the social managers wanted them to, with stimulus-response techniques. At Farleigh Dickinson, they offered internships with politicians, in order to hone that craft.

Dennis was like me, asking those Easter Bunny questions, having no idea what he was getting into in his idealism, studying Utopian societies and the like, honoring what that voice in his head had suggested. As the conference progressed, Dennis became increasingly dismayed. He sat in a special section near the stage, and at one opportune moment, he stood up, gave Skinner a Sieg Heil, and stormed out of the conference. All Dennis had to do was submit some paperwork to get his degree, but he refused to, which he seems to have always regretted, and it came back to haunt him in ways.

But another reason for not filing that graduation paperwork was that he was working for Sears as an aluminum siding salesman in his last year of college. A movie was made of that milieu, but tin men generally did not work for a place like Sears. Sears had never seen anything like Dennis before. I do now know when or how Dennis went from shy introvert to what he became, but at Sears, he sold like nobody at Sears had ever seen before. His paychecks were larger than the rest of his department, including his manager, combined. He was making more than the president of Farleigh Dickinson. What the heck did he need a degree for? Right around the time that he quit college, he was at a customer’s home until 1:00 AM, closing a sale, and he came in the next morning at 8:05, five minutes after starting time, and he was fired on the spot. As his manager handed him his final check, he said, “You made many enemies here.” Dennis was floored. He got along with everybody, as usual, but he did something that none of the others did: he worked! While everybody else stood around and waited for coffee breaks, lunch, an evening of alcohol, and retirement, Dennis sold, sold, and sold. A tin man of his talent with the backing of Sears was unstoppable. Dennis never worked as an employee again.

He married his first wife around the same time that he quit college and got fired from Sears. Dennis decided to try to make those Utopian dreams come to fruition. In the latter years of the postwar boom, those suburban subdivisions featured in those American Dream TV shows were virtually thrown up in mass-production style, and the quality suffered. Dennis began doing remodels and hired his brother who was trying to recover from drug addiction, and his first two jobs were disasters due to the negligence of the contractors that he hired. Dennis began getting his baptism by fire in the business world. He then founded a company whose goal was reintroducing craftsmanship to homebuilding, and he hired a master craftsman to do high-end remodels. Dennis used his unparalleled sales talent to get the jobs, and the craftsman got them done, and Dennis began digging out of the hole from his first short-lived business with his brother. During his travails with his remodel company, his wife gave birth to their daughter, who was born severely deformed and never left the hospital during her short life.

Dennis was finally beginning to see daylight when he got blindsided by the energy crisis that ended the postwar boom, which was humanity’s most prosperous era so far. If you are an American and old enough and aware of those times, the USA’s construction boom ended with the energy crisis, and wood became prohibitively expensive to boot. In the first home our family owned, bought in 1964 in one of those thrown-up subdivisions, our next door neighbor was a building contractor (and another who helped build our neighborhood lived two doors away), and by the early 1970s, he had a fleet of trucks for his constructions company, which my father remarked on as he saw them drive by. When that energy crisis hit, that neighbor’s company went out of business, as did construction companies across the USA. A generation later, I lived in Springfield, Ohio, as I worked for that trucking company, in an idyllic neighborhood in a house that won awards for its appearance. The owners of that idyllic house told me that Springfield was a bustling town, until that first energy crisis, when all construction came to a screeching halt, and the second oil crisis in 1979-1980 led to the rust-belt recession (when I graduated from college), and Springfield has been disintegrating ever since.

So, it was no surprise to me to hear about Dennis’s experience when the 1973-1974 energy crisis hit. He was just one of the crowd, but in New Jersey they played a little more harshly than elsewhere in the USA. When you start with little or no capital, as Dennis always did, it is a very fancy dance to stay in business, as you negotiate between customers, creditors, and workers, trying to thread that needle and survive. With no capital, there is no margin for error, and just as Dennis was getting his head above water, the energy crisis hit. He had just closed on a big job, his lumber supplier extended him credit, and the lumber and supplies were delivered to the worksite. In the wake of the crunch, the lumber supplier came to the site and repossessed all the lumber that it sold Dennis. This is one of many situations in Dennis’s life when listeners and readers exclaim, “They can’t do that!” But they do. The supplier had no legal standing to do that, but they were going to cover themselves. That was the end of Dennis’s company. The customer put a stop payment on the downpayment check, and suddenly, Dennis’s checks were bouncing all over town. His daughter was dying in the hospital, his short-lived marriage was about to end, and Dennis was desperate.

In his clever youth, he did the only thing he could think of: he went to Vegas! :) Dennis was going to gamble up the money needed to keep it all afloat. Dennis had developed a system somewhere along the way, which was this: the house cheats. Dennis would find a high roller and make small bets against the high roller’s position, assuming that the house would cheat and the high roller would lose, and a parasitic gambler like Dennis would eat the crumbs. It worked. Dennis thought that he needed $20K to buy his way out of all of his problems, and in two weeks, he had $10,000 to show for it. He called the hospital every day to check in on his daughter, and one day the nurse said that the police had been there to try catching him. Some customer likely made a complaint. Dennis didn’t know it at the time, but that $10K could have bought him out of all of his problems, but he desperately threw it all down on one bet, and naturally lost.

He went home to face the music, his daughter died, and his wife left him. He was charged with fraud for those bounced checks, which only bounced because his lumber supplier had illegally repossessed his materials and the customer then stopped payment on the check. Dennis got a taste of how the USA’s “justice” system worked, and got what seemed to be intentionally bad legal advice through his wife’s father, and Dennis pled guilty to fraud for those bounced checks, which haunts him to this day. The conviction ratio (AKA “kill ratio”) of prosecutors in the USA is over 90%, and the standard pattern is to threaten the “offender” with many years in prison if the case goes to trial (and a rigged trial, quite often, as I later learned), or plea to a lesser charge. It is a carrot-and-stick approach that almost always works, and Dennis was a victim of it.

Dennis soon met the woman who became his second wife, she got competent legal counsel and tried to reverse the plea, to no avail, with the judge openly wondering why the court was even wasting any time on the case, as Dennis never had to do any time behind bars. That plea bargain has been used by Dennis’s assailants ever since as hard evidence that Dennis is a criminal, as it is the only “crime” that he ever pled guilty to. Dennis was learning the hard way how our system works, but he still believed in the USA's legal system when I met him, even as he endured kangaroo court activities. Dennis has always been far too trusting of human nature, reluctant to believe that it was all as evil as it seemed.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

When Dennis went to Vegas to gamble his way out of trouble, his stake was a deposit from a customer, and the only possible crime that Dennis committed in all of that mayhem was taking their money, but they were only concerned about him and his daughter, and their act of grace saved Dennis’s sanity. Of course, Dennis made good on all of his debts from that fiasco as a matter of course, and he usually did it by not eating much and going without sleep, sometimes for days. When he was young, he could do that, but he paid a heavy price with his health. He lost his teeth, one-by-one, having the teeth removed rather than spending money getting them fixed, and in his last stint behind bars, he got “lucky”: instead of being murdered by the inmates, he “only” had his fingers broken and some more teeth knocked out. The next time I saw him after that day after his prison stint, he wore dentures. Losing his teeth was the easy part, as I will get to later.

In the aftermath of having his business wiped out, Dennis went into a room for days, in what amounted to a stint of automatic writing, and came out with an idea for a business to unite the consumer and give them a true voice in the marketplace, not the captured and manipulated herd that it is today. It was a coupon card, which reincarnated in a watered-down form as the Discover Card, the card that saves money as you use it, introduced by that company that fired Dennis for being so good at sales: Sears. Hmmm.

Dennis tried those idealistic ventures in New Jersey of all places, and the Mafia was constantly trying to muscle in on his businesses. The way that Dennis survived one of their hit attempts made him a legend with the New Jersey mob, and that family left him alone after that. When I last saw Dennis three years ago, he told me some more Mafia anecdotes. If you met a mobster in the 1970s and mentioned the Mob, he would look at you like he had no idea what you were talking about. His response would be that the “Mob” was some tabloid “conspiracy theory,” without any basis in reality. One time, a mobster who liked Dennis (and was an “investor” in his business) took him around to some Mafia dens, as a way of showing Dennis what he was tangled up with, without coming out and saying it. On one stop, The Ice Man was holding court, talking about some of his “deeds,” and Dennis got the picture and asked to leave the place, and fast. Dennis has been hung out of windows by his heels by mobsters (which is still a tactic of theirs), and he just laughed at them, as he hung upside down.

While mobsters were continually trying to muscle in on his businesses, the greatest threats over the years came from his business partners. They continually tried stealing his businesses. When I witnessed repeated theft attempts the next decade, I was shocked, but Dennis had long since become used to it, and when I last saw him, he admitted that most of the damage to his efforts was inflicted by his allies, not the Mob, Godzilla, electric companies, governments, etc. The enemy is truly us, which was the most important lesson of my journey.

After his first marriage ended, Dennis resumed playing the ladies’ man, and one of his consorts worked for him at his new, idealistic business. She said that she had an idealistic sister who would love what Dennis was doing, who was running a logging crew in Vermont at the time. Dennis was introduced to her, she immediately fell in love with what Dennis was doing, and then Dennis, and Alison is his wife today. What I have not written publicly before is that Alison was made “available” to Dennis because her boyfriend was Jim Croce’s manager, who died in the same plane crash that took Croce’s life. It was not long after that event when she was introduced to Dennis. She plays the guitar and sings (for her, it is a form of worship), which was surely part of her connection to Croce. So, she was no stranger to tragedy when she met Dennis.

Dennis’s idealist company, which he called United Community Services (AKA “UCS”), lasted for a couple of years, surviving numerous attempts to steal it, starting with no capital, etc. It was during those years, when Dennis was at some debate among intellectuals, discussing the ideal government, and he had his “Road to Damascus” experience, realized that humanity was incapable of governing itself, and only that benevolent dictator, God, was fit for the task. He left the debate, went home with Alison, got ahold of a Bible, and has been a fanatical Christian ever since. I am not a Christian, although I highly respect the journey of the man called Jesus, and I’ll buy the idea that the Infinite Spirit manifested through him at his life’s end (or it might have been a few people whose lives were conflated into the Jesus story that we see today, along with plenty of fairy tales embroidering the story). But while I have no use for any of the agrarian religions, I can only look on in awe at the earnest faith of people such as Dennis and Alison, as they walk their paths. Dennis and Alison pray for my benighted heathen soul, and I appreciate the sentiment, but I am not worried about where I am headed when this life ends. Those two will leave their Christian heaven pretty quickly, and the angels will be ten-deep, with trumpets, when they pass, and Dennis looks forward to leaving this dark world when his work is finished (and it won’t be, until he takes his last breath).

After two years of keeping UCS alive, Dennis tried giving it away to the Christian community, and Pat Robertson was briefly Dennis’s partner, until Robertson’s attorneys decided that Dennis’s multi-level marketing plan looked like a pyramid scheme, and he pulled out and blamed Dennis ever since for “conning” him. That is an inaccurate sentiment, IMO, but I can appreciate where it comes from, as Dennis’s faith, and his resultant persuasiveness, can be hard to believe. When Robertson pulled out, UCS died (but Dennis revived it in the 1990s, when I had my second stint with him), and Dennis then dove into the evangelical Christian community, to see what was next for him.

After this and that Christian misadventure, Dennis got caught up in the idea of energy conservation (which became a natural after the energy crisis, as the USA began to discover energy conversation), and in 1978, he moved to the Jersey Shore to try a novel marketing plan using low-flow shower heads, in which his company took on the risk of performance; if his technology worked as promised, then the customer could buy it outright or just share the energy savings with Dennis’s company. I believe that it is the first shared energy savings program in American history.

Dennis’s programs were always recognizable for those who developed an eye for them. They did not go for the quick capitalistic kill, removed the customer’s risk for the new technology, and if he had a superior technology behind it, his programs skyrocketed. Paradoxically, his programs also inspired greed and delusions of grandeur amongst his business associates, and they often idiotically thought that if they just stole the company from Dennis, that they could jump on the gravy train. They were too greed-blinded or just plain too stupid to realize that the magic was in Dennis and his approach, not the technology so much, as they launched attempt after attempt to steal Dennis’s companies. Their blind and stupid greed was a far cry from the ingenious greed of a John D. Rockefeller, for instance, as they constantly killed the Golden Goose, looking for that pile of eggs.

After a pilgrimage to Israel, after which Dennis adopted the biblical name Josiah David (which the authorities have prevented him from legally adopting), and Alison took the last name David, which their children also took, Dennis got involved with the urea formaldehyde insulation business and immediately began to industrialize a fledgling industry that was stuck at the craftsman stage, and that will take some posts to cover, and is when Dennis’s genius really began to become evident. It would not surprise me if he first came onto Godzilla’s radar then, as a minor curiosity and remote threat, but somebody to keep an eye on.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

As I think about the coming posts, I think that these will be close to my last words on Dennis for some time. I have Dennis’s My Quest open on my desk as I write this, and it will be like my vignettes, in that I really won’t have a whole lot more to add when I am finished. This is going to be soup to nuts on Dennis’s journey, mine, and what we learned. As I have stated plenty, if not for my journey with Dennis, I would likely not have much to say worth saying, and it was not just my own harrowing experiences, but learning from the master along the way. I know of nobody else on Earth like Dennis, not even remotely.

Dennis is highly intelligent, probably with a genius-level IQ (and definitely the creative inspiration of genius), he always learned from his experiences, and from his days of selling aluminum siding onward, he was always figuring out the business world. What is a business? In my profession, the standard-setters provided their definition nearly a decade ago:


“A business is an integrated set of activities and assets that is capable of being conducted and managed for the purpose of providing a return in the form of dividends, lower costs, or other economic benefits directly to investors or other owners, members, or participants.”


You don’t see customers mentioned as beneficiaries, which highlights capitalism’s emphasis, and that document further defines a business as a system that takes inputs and turns them into outputs, which ultimately benefit the owners or participants. In capitalism, businesses are organized on behalf of the owners, and publicly-held corporations are legally compelled to seek the highest profits. Nothing else really matters.

Many human inventions simply mimic nature, from spears and swords to flight and computers. A few years ago, the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers achieved the collective computing power of three human brains. Taking inputs and turning them into outputs is what life does, and the inputs are energy and raw materials, and the outputs are bodies, movement, offspring, and consciousness (or is that also an input? :) ). Trees are the greatest stores of energy of life on Earth, and exploiting that energy source was a key aspect of the rise of humanity. These lines of inquiry that I bring up here, about nature and human invention, is not really one that Dennis has pursued (he is not studious, in a bookish way, and he watches endless amounts of TV when he is not working), but he spent many long hours pondering the business world that he encountered, figuring out the game, and seeing how he could use it to build that Utopian society that he dreamed of.

In capitalism, however, there is an inherent conflict of interest for an effort such as Dennis’s. Greed is a cornerstone of modern economic theory, with the very structure of the system encouraging, even celebrating, greed. The self-serving mentality is sanctified in capitalism. Humanity’s egocentrism is its greatest weakness, and designing systems that encourage that proclivity are going to be ugly and even evil, so Dennis was trying to reform an evil system by coming at the game with a different motivation, but in order to get people to play, he appealed to their self-interest. IMO, that approach is doomed, and trying it out eventually led me to my approach, but it took me many years to arrive at it. But Dennis played the game as honestly as he could, and has by far the cleanest hands of anybody that I ever saw play the business game.

Efficiency is a key energetic concept, and businesses mimic nature once again when they pursue efficiency, and efficiency is a key to profit. In biological terms, profit can be seen as energy surplus, or what the fruit of activity for an organism is. At the household level, discretionary income is the closest concept. Discretionary income or profit that is saved becomes the basis of capital, in economics parlance. Organic capital is bones and muscle, brain and fat, root and leaf, seed and womb, and economic capital is machinery and the people who can build and run them, infrastructure such as roads, electric grids, water supply and sewer systems, and so on. And, of course, energy runs the show. :) The level of energy use has defined each Epoch of the human journey, or more importantly, the level of energy surplus.

Only with the energy surplus of the fossil fuel era was humanity able to experience the demographic transition and its related benefits. Industrialization freed women and slaves, people could expect to live to adulthood, unlike the crapshoot of preindustrial societies, and literacy is something that all industrial people take for granted, which they all learn as young children. Only 500 years ago, in the pioneering nation of industrialization, only 1% of women were literate, and only 10% of the men, and none of them in their wildest imaginings could foresee today’s industrialized world.

Dennis’s agrarian roots, as well as others with my great respect, do have something to do with his journey. That naïve honesty was part of it, and Dennis will never relinquish the agrarian religion that he was raised with, even though he didn’t buy it as a child. Dennis thinks that women have their place, that homosexuality is some kind of evil aberration, and other standard fundamentalist Christian beliefs, and IMO, it has limited how far he has been able to progress in this lifetime, but he lived it honestly and has always been willing to learn. Those rigid beliefs accompany societies with low energy surpluses, as energy has always funded freedom. Rigid social structures reflect impoverished societies, with a few fortunate elites garnering their disproportionate share of the scarce economic pie. I wonder if Dennis fully understands the threat that his efforts posed to the global elite. FE means Game Over for the global elite and they know it, and a world that Dennis can scarcely imagine can come into view. The agrarian epoch’s ideological baggage can limit the imagination, but the industrial epoch’s baggage does, too.

The Global Elite represent kind of an adaptive radiation of a mode of living, as a parasitic exploitation of agrarian and industrial societies, and while the Left denies their very existence, as an article of faith, the Right obsessively focuses on them. The weakness of both stances is that they encourage people to think like victims, and victims live in fear, not love. Dennis is rather conspiracist in his orientation, for various reasons, his agrarian roots being part of it, but he has also been of great interest to the Global Elite, in ways that I may never be able publicly disclose, and he has given Godzilla many sleepless nights as he threatened to overturn the entire applecart. Dennis has been approached by the Big Boys, they repeatedly tried to kill him (when their big carrots did not work), the so-called White Hats were very interested, and the Rockefellers and Rothschilds were lower-level players, not at the top, in Dennis’s experience. And those voices in our heads (1, 2, 3, 4) guided us on our unbelievable journeys. Given the nature of our journeys, Dennis can easily be forgiven for thinking that God guided his footsteps. In significant ways, it could well be the truth of matters. The terrors and wonders of his journey have made his anything but a typical life. I know that something much bigger than any of us is orchestrating events, and for what end, I am not certain, but I believe it is to help humanity turn the corner, as Spaceship Earth is listing badly to port these days.

OK, on to Dennis’s next adventure in the business world.

Best,

Wade

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Hi:

I want to make clear that Dennis and Alison’s Christian journey was not just a bunch of dogmatic blind faith and Bible thumping, but they had many events which confirmed, at least to them, their faith. When they took that trip to Israel, while Dennis was praying on some “holy” mountain, a cloud appeared and hovered over the mountain, and turned the colors of the rainbow in a light show that astounded the witnesses.

Like his high school days of sleeping in the janitor’s closet, Dennis and Alison slept in their offices for months (they did it in Ventura, too, after Dennis escaped jail), hiding in a room in the back, to save money. For months, Alison’s only food was rice cooked in a coffeepot, and she began developing kwashiorkor. Dennis’s father died of rheumatoid arthritis at about age 60, and Dennis had it in those early days with Alison. Dennis was so crippled that he could not even walk, and when they slept in the back, Alison would place Dennis on a mat, drag it to the front office, get Dennis in a chair at his desk, and he would not leave the chair all day, conducting business from that desk, and Alison would then drag him into the back room at night.

After months of that routine, one day, in Dennis’s early Christian days, he “knew” that if he had enough faith, that God could cure him. One day, he decided to get up from his chair and told himself that if he could make one complete circuit around the table, that when he completed it, he would be cured. Alison was not in the room with him, when he got up and began making his circuit. Each step was agony, as he leaned on the desk, but just as he took his last step and completed the circuit, instantly, all of his symptoms vanished. He skipped out of the room and found an amazed Alison. It was like something out of a corny faith healing movie. When Dennis was in New Jersey in the late 1990s, a woman who was the wife of Dennis’s right-hand man was in a wheelchair, and one Sunday, as the crew was praying in another building on the premises, the woman was suddenly well and skipped into that building, to everybody’s amazement. Medical doctors and scientists concoct ideas such as placebo effect, etc., to explain such events, but they can certainly strengthen somebody’s religious convictions. With numerous events such as that one accompanying Dennis’s journey, his Christian fanaticism is very understandable.

Now, to get to Dennis’s next business venture. He got into a fledgling industry, urea-formaldehyde insulation, which was stuck at the craftsman stage, and that idea deserves some background. Monkeys have social learning, in which the young learn by watching the adults. With chimps and orangutans, it is even more pronounced, and the second recognized stone tool culture, Acheulean, produced hand axes that could be considered a product of craftsmanship, and the human line made those stone axes for more than a million years, which is the longest-lived “product” of the human line.

The most important attribute of the first cities was that they allowed for the appearance of professions, and social organization began to be influenced by professional standing instead of kinship. Those early professions were basically crafts, whether they were pottery-making, metal-working, writing, weaving, and so on, and the crafts were generally one-man shows, with maybe an extra set of helping hands. Craftsmen formed professional associations (such as guilds), which largely looked out for the profession’s welfare, and the ranking of master, journeyman, and apprentice characterized a person’s professional development.

In the 20th century, as a result of reacting to sexism, racism, and other pernicious, scarcity-based ideologies, among “progressives” the idea arose that there are no inherent differences between the genders and races, and it still persists in corners, but there are differences between the races and genders. Throw like a girl and type like a man are clichés that are true, as they reflect the genders’ evolutionary adaptations to their activities, with men excelling in the large muscle activity and hand-eye coordination required for successful hunting, and women have an advantage with the manual dexterity required for successful gathering. The rough and tumble play of boys prepares them for a life of violence, while little girls engage in their own inherent activities that train them to become mothers. These are real effects that are deeply baked into the human animal, and we can’t wish them away with ad hoc social theorizing.

I played basketball growing up, and could have been a benchwarmer on my high school and junior college squads, and I doubt that I ever met a black man who could not dunk, when comparably-sized white players rarely could. Black men dominate most running and jumping events in track and field, and if it was a hot day, for instance, white guys like me knew that we did not have a prayer against the black jumpers. There are valid evolutionary reasons for that, and much has recently come from anthropology studies, enhanced by DNA evidence, which have traced the human journey. When that founder group left Africa and killed off all human competition and the easy meat, those who stayed behind kept practicing the physically demanding hunter-gatherer lifestyle until the Bantu Expansion only three millennia ago. Sub-Saharan Africans have not been sedentary for very long, on the evolutionary scale, compared to their brethren who began domesticating plants and animals more than ten thousand years ago (and who enjoyed thousands of years of easy meat, which their Sub-Saharan brethren never knew). Those running and jumping genes are better preserved in Sub-Saharan Africans, which is why they excel in those athletic feats.

Similarly, Ashkenazy Jews are humanity’s most “intelligent” ethnic group, and it is currently hypothesized that that less than a thousand years of being business managers, and engaging in that highly cerebral work, gave them that IQ boost.

Of course, in the Fifth Epoch, races will disappear, as will those attendant racial advantages and disadvantages. Enjoy those sporting events while you can. :)

So, craftsmanship was a very learned behavior, passed from master to journeyman to apprentice, and quality was something that came from individuals, and it is very different from the training, social organization, and technology of industrial societies. There has long been a backlash against industrialization that tried to preserve and revive craftsmanship, but a craftsman cannot build a Pentium chip, automobile, or spaceship.

The social changes wrought by industrialization were obvious to observers, and theorists such as Marx grappled with the social organization of industrialization, challenging the feudal roots of English industrialization and their attendant ideological justifications. Capitalism’s relationship to industrialization is not a given, like some natural outcome of human nature and that level of energy surplus, but was a historically contingent process, which Marx and others charted, and very differently from the capitalist cheerleader classical economists.

Rome had some operations that approached industrial social organization, such as in its ceramic and glassmaking operations, but with the fall of Rome, those social structures disintegrated and did not make their appearance again until Europe’s rise to industrialization.

New industries often started out in garages, shops, and barns, such as manned flight. Only later were industrial practices used, and more than once, Dennis stumbled into fledgling industries that were largely stuck at the craftsman stage of development. Dennis had no formal business training, but the way that he began industrializing those fledgling industries was astonishing. Dennis would not have articulated what he was doing in the way that I am about to, but I was in awe early on regarding how he did what he did, starting with nothing but brains and guts and taking a fledgling industry into the big time, or at least trying to, and his involvement with the urea-formaldehyde insulation industry was the first one that I know of, and I will tell that story in coming posts.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

If we go back to that definition of a business, in which processes turn inputs into outputs, that basic framework works for life processes, businesses, and civilizations. Matter and energy are input in the process, and life, goods, or services are produced. Without sufficient matter and energy, the rest can’t happen, which is partly why today’s mainstream economic theory is so delusional, as it assumes those inputs, as if they are only limited by market forces (or, in the end, human desires), as if desiring something makes it magically appear. Human ingenuity and manipulative ability created the processes that led to the rise of humanity, beginning with increasingly sophisticated tools, and the control of fire has defined all human societies for more than a million years, and maybe even more than two million years.

The process has to find the balance of inputs and outputs. A vast energy or material resource, but no way to exploit it, is not going to go anywhere. Vast production, but nobody to use it, won’t last long. With a bottleneck in the process, the output will be limited, even to the point of a collapse of the process. In today’s world, most industries operate below capacity, usually because there is not the demand for their products, or more accurately, there is not a paying demand for them.

For the past decade in China, they have been building ghost cities (like this one in Mongolia), as that nation’s central planning mechanism is operating on the premise of, “Build it, and they will come,” which some argue is only good planning.

You can’t run a car on the chemical energy in water, and if there is no road, the car is going nowhere. That entire chain, from resource acquisition to transformation to use, has to be optimized in order to run properly. But energy usage has always set the stage, as it was used to build and run everything. Without that energy, the rest can’t exist.

Insulation reduces heat loss, or going the other way in hot climates, it reduces the energy coming in. What most insulation does is create air pockets, which makes it harder for molecules to transfer their heat energy to those on the other side of the pocket. Feathers, hair, clothing, blankets and the like perform that function, and in whales, for instance, fat provides insulation to conserve the heat generated by biological processes, burning that food energy.

For instance, the home that I live today in has air conditioning (which I used a few days ago, and first used a few weeks ago, and will use for most of the summer), and in our age of Global Warming, it gets used more and more, whereas a generation ago, no homes had air conditioning in this region. The home’s insulation reduces both the heating and cooling bill. The urea-formaldehyde insulation industry was born of the USA’s energy crisis that ended humanity’s most prosperous era, which also wiped out Dennis’s first business. After the collapse of his first United Community Services venture and his foray into low-flow shower heads, he got into the urea-formaldehyde insulation industry, and it was in that fledgling state, in which the foam was mixed by a man with a bucket, a bag of foam mix, and a hose. There was poor quality control with that process, which was at the craftsman stage, depending on the skill and experience of that man with the bucket. If it was not mixed properly, it could make a house unlivable. If mixed properly, there was no health hazard (at least not an imminent one).

It did not take Dennis long to envision making big changes to the industry. He devised a system that computer-mixed the foam, for that quality control, and then he would sell a neighborhood at a time and use a “battlewagon” concept to insulate an entire neighborhood in a day, as the crew worked with industrial organization, not a craftsman one. That is what industrializing a process stuck at the craftsman stage looks like, getting economies of scale and quality control to do it, and Dennis soon proved himself to be a marketing genius, not just the world’s greatest salesman.

If you think about what Dennis did, from that business definition, there was a new energy conservation need, he took a process stuck at the craftsman stage and industrialized the process, and used those efficiencies and industrial quality to make the proposition attractive to the customer, and he could create a booming industry until all the homes that needed it were properly insulated. The only “losers” were going to be the energy companies, which saw consumption decline, and competing insulation products.

Dennis’s process arrived with a splash, and what he saw at Sears or at UCS was a preview of what happened when he got involved in the urea-formaldehyde insulation industry. It was obviously something far and away superior to a man and a bucket, who was usually the salesman, too, going from door-to-door. Dennis’s foam businesses immediately skyrocketed, and everybody from the customers to the workers saw the immediate advantages, and salesmen had a dream job. Dennis was the person who saw how to make all of that happen, and it was his particular genius, and as an untrained businessman (and migrant farmworker growing up), it was nothing short of astounding. Without really knowing what he would have been called, Dennis was a systems thinker, who could see the big picture and bring his creative genius to the problem. He was the magic that came to the milieu.

What I discovered from Mr. Mentor’s travails is that when fruits of genius come on the scene, at first, nobody can understand them, or they feel threatened by them, but when it finally sinks in, often by finally seeing them in action for themselves, or after somebody like Mr. Mentor wrote on blackboards and waved his hands long enough (or they write about it for 25 years and more :) ), then people jump on board, and many people (generally society’s predators, called psychopaths and other terms), in their arrogant delusions, think that they could have done it, deny that there was anything special about somebody like Dennis or Mr. Mentor, and they get resentful, greedy, and think that if they just steal the fruit of their genius, that they get an easy ride to riches and fame. Dennis saw this early and often on his journey, and he called it The Treasure of the Sierra Madre effect, and when I saw it happen at least a dozen times, I told Dennis how shocking it was to see, and he told me to join the crowd.

I will get into chapter and verse of his foam insulation days, to give a flavor of the issues that arise. It will be how the real world works, not the Hollywood version, even though movies like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre hinted at it, and I often make movie allusions in my work.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

The movie Born on the Fourth of July fairly depicts the East Coast’s VA hospitals in the 1970s,and with Dennis and Alison owning little more than the clothes on their backs, they availed themselves of the imperial benefits of being a former soldier. How did Dennis get Guillain–Barré syndrome? We have never discussed it, but it is an immune deficiency disease, like the rheumatoid arthritis that he had and what killed his father. His father was on steroids for decades, which contributed to his early death.

The VA injected him with 1,000 milligrams of steroids each day, which was the only treatment back then. When athletes use steroids, illegally, their steroid doses rarely exceed 100 milligrams a day, and are more often around 30 milligrams a day. Dennis was being injected with surreal amounts of steroids, as his treatment. In a few months, he was standing, and the VA doctors thought that he could go home for Christmas, and they sent him by ambulance to his wife’s sister’s house (who had taken them in again), but they did not send along any steroids. Dennis didn’t realize it, and he began going into convulsions the next day, from steroid withdrawal. By the time that Dennis was ambulanced back to the VA hospital, he was nearly dead, and the doctors were amazed that he was still alive. What they had done to Dennis, 1,000 milligrams a day to nothing, should have killed him, and the doctors had no idea what his prognosis was.

Dennis was not only back to being paralyzed from the neck down, but the staff there really could not care if he lived or died. When his bowels moved, he had to lie in it for hours, even until the next day, until they came and cleaned him up. His meal would be put in front of him, and he had to wait for hours as it got cold, before somebody came and shoveled it in his mouth. He was nearly killed by a crazed roommate, who was lured away by the staff in the midst of his sitting on Dennis’s chest, screaming that he was going to murder Dennis, and Dennis never saw that roommate again.

Dennis slowly regained the use of his arms, and got to where he could feed himself, when a Friday night came and Dennis noticed that there were no steroids for him. In a panic, he mentioned it to the weekend nurse, who blew him off, and he never saw her again. Dennis was “only” down to 500 milligrams a day by then, and Dennis spoke a mantra to himself that night, “I will not die, I will not die.” Dennis was already a medical marvel, with VA doctors bringing doctors-in-training to Dennis’s bedside, to ask the students if they could figure out why Dennis was still alive. One of those tours came to his bed the next day, and they found Dennis in his catatonic state. They had done it to him again. It was miracle that he survived the VA’s negligence. The VA hospital was far more dangerous than the jungles of Southeast Asia.

In the aftermath of that event, they did not know if he would ever be more than a vegetable. Dennis went from a muscular 180 pounds to less than 100 in that VA hospital. In the wake of nearly killing him twice, the care seemed to improve a little, and Dennis eventually could move his arms again. Then one Friday night, they did it again. The weekend nurse came in with Dennis’s meds, but no steroids were there, and Dennis said that he needed steroids, and the nurse said that nobody had prescribed any. By sheer force of will, Dennis beckoned the nurse to his side, and said that she needed to follow his instructions and bring a phone to his bed and call Alison, and that if she didn’t, Dennis would somehow survive and kill her one day. The nurse’s eyes got big as saucers, but she brought the phone over, called Alison, and Dennis said, “Get me out of here!” By the time that Alison arrived, the hospital was in an uproar, and the doctors told Dennis that if they let him leave, he would die. Dennis replied that he would certainly die if he stayed.

Dennis went home with Alison, with enough steroids so that she could wean him off them. Dennis was a medical believe-it-or-not story, and he could have obviously sued the federal government for millions, but he knew that the VA was underfunded and understaffed, and he did not have the heart to sue and wreck careers. Alison was able to get Dennis into the Princeton Hospital’s rehabilitation unit. Dennis was a celebrity patient, who should have been dead but miraculously survived.

Dennis got lasting damage from his bout with Guillain–Barré syndrome and the VA’s negligence. He has no equilibrium, and stays upright by sight. If he closes his eyes, he falls over. His musculature was strangely altered, and in the aftermath, he went from a strapping physical specimen to being fat, nearly 300 pounds at times. I never knew him in his muscular days. Room temperature is too warm for him, and he is constantly trying to cool off, due to cranial nerve damage. I have pushed him through airports in a wheelchair, as walking is hard for him.

Alison lived off of charity, with her infant daughter, while Dennis was in the VA and while she weaned him off the steroids. Dennis progressed rapidly in the rehabilitation unit, and he began to think about business again. A man named Dick had been looking to sell his insulation business and retire, and he and Dennis were in discussion after that mobster stole The Foam Company from Dennis. When Dennis had recovered sufficiently to think about business again, Dick was still available and ready to retire. He had no interest in being Dennis’s partner, and was looking to sell. Dennis was not in a very good negotiating position, but having no partner was attractive to him, given his past experiences. Dick doubled his asking price, and for nothing down and an “earn-out,” Dennis took over Dick’s company. As a typical New Jersey businessman, Dick had already stripped the company’s assets and Dennis got little more than an empty shell, and Dick began bragging to people on how he “took” Dennis. Dennis did not care. He just needed a vehicle that he could jump into the driver’s seat of, and he would be off and running.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

After months of rehab, living off of charity, and the like, Dennis, Alison, and their infant daughter moved to Delaware to buy Dick’s company. Essentially, Dennis bought some old trucks and equipment, and what little inventory that Dick had not already stripped off, for $250K, when the whole thing was worth maybe $50K. Dick bragged to people how he had shrewdly screwed Dennis in the deal. Dick was planning to retire on that $250K that he was going to screw Dennis out of, for his nearly worthless company. Of course, it was not long before Dennis had ten dealers working full time, a fleet of trucks, using his computer-controlled mixing, battlewagon concept, and the like, and turning the fledgling foam business into an industry. Poor quality control could make the foam off-gas formaldehyde, but Dennis’s jobs never did, and he guaranteed that if one ever did, they would tear out of the foam and rehab the house for free. One city decided to specify foam insulation as code, so foam had the potential to reach the Big Time, and Dennis was as eager as ever.

Dennis got so big so fast that for the first time, he began receiving “consumer protection” attention, inspired by the fiberglass insulation interests, which felt threatened by Dennis’s success. A “consumer protection” official attended one of Dennis’s mall shows and announced that foam insulation would soon be banned because of rat experiments, in which they gave rats doses that would be nearly lethal to humans. Dennis later discovered how big a racket “consumer protection” was – perhaps the biggest on Earth – similar to how the Mob’s protection rackets work. A Delaware newspaper named Dennis the “con man of the year” for defending foam insulation from the propaganda barrage coming on behalf of the fiberglass insulation interests. Dennis was beginning to discover how the media really worked.

The mall show that the “consumer protection” official tried to throw cold water on was a huge success, generating more than a thousand leads. Dennis sold far more than foam insulation, but a wide array of energy conservation technology for the home, and Dennis revived his CONSERVE concept from those shower head days, offering a very low initial price to customers, and sharing subsequent energy bill savings with them. Again, to my knowledge, Dennis pioneered the idea of shared savings programs. At the very least, his program was original with him, and he made waves with it like nobody in world history has done before or since. Dick ran his company from his house, but Dennis soon rented a 5,000 square foot building, filled it with people and equipment, and the business took off like a rocket.

The year was 1980 when Dennis was in Delaware running that company that he bought from Dick. It would be Jimmy Carter’s last year in office, and in the wake of the first energy crisis of 1973-1974, when Carter came into office, he declared the “moral equivalent of war” on the energy issue and initiated a tax credit for buying innovative energy technology. If a homeowner bought qualifying technology, there was a refundable tax credit for 40% of the equipment cost, up to a $4,000 credit. It inspired the USA’s first solar energy industry. However, the industry was largely a scam, as the vast majority were tin cans put on people’s roofs that never worked well, if at all. They were all priced at $10K, and were generally designed to just grab the money and run. It was a huge disaster and black eye to the concept of renewable energy, and after some initial involvement, Dennis would not have anything to do with that scam industry, preferring to sell honest energy conservation equipment.

But at that mall show, one of Dennis’s employees badgered Dennis to demonstrate a solar system. It was a one-panel demonstration unit, and Dennis finally allowed his employee to have it at the mall show, but Dennis had it put in the back, near the men’s room, out of the way. During the mall show, one gentlemen asked Dennis about that solar system, and Dennis tried dissuading the man, telling him the virtues of insulation and the other wares that he sold. But the man kept coming back to Dennis, after continuing to examine that solar system. Finally, Dennis said, “Sure, you can buy it, but are you prepared to pay $12,000 for it?” The man replied that if it worked how he thought it did, he would. That got Dennis’s attention. Since Dennis did not carry that equipment and knew almost nothing about it, he gave that man his home phone number, so that they could discuss it further.

Dick, who had previously bragged about how he had screwed Dennis in the deal of selling his business, was now telling people how Dennis screwed him, as Dick saw the empire that Dennis was quickly building.

The mall show was so stunningly successful that Dennis decided to rent space at the mall and begin an energy store concept that Dennis was planning to franchise. That was how big Dennis always thought.

When Dennis came to work the next day, he was met by the sheriff. The sheriff had a court order for Dennis to turn over his company to Dick! Dick was another greed-blinded genius who was going to kill the Golden Goose. The sheriff ushered Dennis into Dennis’s office, and Dick sat in Dennis’s chair. Dick literally had his feet up on Dennis’s desk, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, announcing gleefully to Dennis that he put a legal loophole into the contract (the loophole was a one-word lawyer term) to sell his business to Dennis, and was using it to take back his company. The company that he sold Dennis was now taken back, Dick had Dennis ejected from the premises, and Dick took the reins of Dennis’s empire.

With Dennis’s past business failures, his Old World Builders “conviction,” and the like, it was easy to dig up newspaper clippings and other documents, to heave mud at Dennis. Dick did his best to discredit Dennis to the employees and dealers, but they were not that stupid, knew that Dennis had been the magic behind the company’s meteoric ascent, and most of them immediately quit. Dennis did not even want to know what happened, sickened to watch what he had built be stolen and then destroyed by another one of the innumerable greed-blinded. Dennis did not keep up on the saga of his business after Dick stole it, other than hearing that Dick’s move drove one of Dennis’s dealers into bankruptcy, and Dick’s company went bankrupt a few months after he stole it from Dennis. There went Dick’s retirement fund. He sure was shrewd.

There Dennis was again, cast out onto the street, and for the first time in his life, Dennis applied for food stamps, so his family could eat. Dennis still got around by wheelchair, barely being able to walk with a walker, and finally found a job selling medical supplies, and he got to use an old, beat-up ambulance to make his sales calls. Dennis quickly began to get his boss to develop a rental company, for the people who could not afford to buy the medical equipment, some of which was lifesaving equipment. Just then, Alison gave birth to their second child, another daughter, and Dennis rushed in the ambulance and hobbled into the hospital to see his child being born.

Dennis began thinking big with the medical equipment, and began a program to sell hospitals hundreds of units at a time. His program was beginning to take off when he got a call from that man from that mall show, who was so persistent with his interest in that solar system. The man was a scientist who knew about the technology’s basics, was sure that it worked, and Dennis dug up some old paperwork, found the regional dealer for the equipment, called and asked if he could get a finder’s fee for the lead, and he and the dealer visited that persistent scientist. The dealer and the scientist talked into the wee hours of the morning, on technical issues that went way over Dennis’s head. It was certainly no typical solar system: it was the LamCo system. I will get into the physics later, but at the moment, Dennis just was looking for a finder’s fee to feed his growing family and keep a roof over their heads.

Dennis finally interrupted the lively technical conversation between the dealer and customer, to say, “Have you heard enough to pay $12,000 for the system?” The reply was an instant, “Yes!” and Dennis drew up the contract and received a $3,000 downpayment check.

After that night, Dennis knew that the LamCo system was no typical solar system, asked about becoming a dealer, and he got a meeting set up with the regional head in Pennsylvania, to be able to sell the system in Newcastle County, Delaware, where Dennis lived. Dennis drove to the office in Pennsylvania, tried to hide the fact that he arrived in an ambulance, and made his way to the fourth-floor office with his walker. Dennis’s phone was about to be turned off and he wasn’t sure whether he could sway them into becoming a dealer, when he had almost nothing but the clothes on his back and a $3,000 downpayment check.

Dennis met with the regional director, Bill, who was friendly but businesslike and who immediately announced that the dealership for Newcastle County was $25,000. Dennis then went into his salesman’s mode, told Bill that he had already sold one system, could work off the rest in sales if he could have the use of a demo unit, and handed Bill the entire downpayment check as his good faith deposit. Dennis struck a deal with Bill to work a mall show with the demo, and Dennis would split the leads with Bill. Dennis asked Bill to give him a month to come up with the rest of the money. Dennis had gone to the meeting with the hope of earning the $1,000 finder’s fee, and returned home with just enough money to keep a roof over their heads, their phone operational, and their bellies full, but with a new opportunity.

Dennis knew very little about how that LamCo system worked, but saw how that scientist raved over it, and began to get very excited about its potential. He crowed at the mall show that his demo made hot water from the air in the mall at night, while the other solar systems on display only sat there looking good. Dennis generated 42 qualified leads from the mall show, the most qualified leads that he ever had, and 21 were his to sell. Dennis’s leads knew that he was coming to their home to talk to them about a $12,000 system, and they looked forward to the pitch. It was a salesman’s dream.

The night of Dennis’s first sales call came, which he arrived at in his ambulance, making his way to the lead’s front door with his walker. Dennis had worked the mall show sitting the entire time, so the leads did not know that he was crippled. As he laboriously made his way to the front door, the lead finally recognized Dennis as he peeked from behind the curtains at that strange approaching apparition, came out and helped Dennis into the house, and they sat at his dining room table. The man immediately began bombarding Dennis with technical questions, which were way over Dennis’s head. Dennis asked the man what he did for a living, and he replied that he was a scientist who worked for du Pont. Their headquarters were in Newcastle County, Delaware, and they invented the Freon that the LamCo system used. After the initial barrage of questions and Dennis’s finding out the lead’s credentials, Dennis handed him the key to the ambulance and told him that there was a big box in the back of the ambulance, full of documentation on the system, and if the scientist could be so kind as to retrieve it, his questions would be answered in those documents.

The scientist retrieved the box and began reading the documents. He was a natural teacher and Dennis was an eager student, and they spent all night going through the documentation, with the scientist explaining to Dennis how the system worked and the theory behind it, from soup to nuts. As they wrapped up their session, with the du Pont scientist eagerly handing Dennis the check, the Sun was coming up; they had spent all night in their session. One thing that puzzled the scientist was that the literature stated that the system should only get a performance of a COP of three where he lived, but he calculated that it would do twice that, for a COP of six. It was one of many technical issues that Dennis learned and heard about, which he hoped to learn more about, and here is where I will take a break from Dennis’s narrative and get into the history of the LamCo system, the physics and economics, and discuss those issues in a way that I have not publicly done before, and may not again.

There is plenty on my site that gives the gist to most audiences that have just a little bit of scientific literacy and real-world experience beyond the cubicle and Internet surfing, but I am going to get into the details in a way that I have not done publicly before, and draw the big picture. This is going to be a soup-to-nuts narrative, which will have rich application to the FE issue and what is not likely to work. For any FE aspirants who are not driven by greed, naïveté, and other personal deficits, it will be a goldmine of information that comes from the best possible source: experience. Instead of the innumerable lies told about Dennis, by “skeptics” and august personages in the FE field (who can only hope to gull the ignorant and gullible, and it was amazing to see how easily their audiences fell under their spell), this is going to be an insider’s account of Dennis’s LamCo days. Although I came in at the tail-end of his Seattle effort, I was just as eager a student as Dennis was, and long before I met Dennis, what will follow will be a combination of experience, scholarship, and science. It should not be hard for anybody to follow, who takes the time and effort to digest it.

My work hurricane begins tomorrow and will run for six weeks, with 70-80 hour weeks likely, and I hope to plunk along on this topic during then, probably finish it in that time, and if I am lucky, I will be able to get my essay update done over the rest of the year after that.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

To back up a little on Dennis’s journey and take in a larger framework, what a long, strange trip life on Earth and the human journey took, to get to where history’s greatest energy-using nation suddenly discovered the virtues of energy conservation in the wake of the energy crisis that ended the most prosperous era of the human journey.

I have made a rough estimate that about half of the USA’s energy goes to producing work, and the other half to heat. Machines do more than 99.9% of all work performed in the USA, which is why our standard of living is so high. Much of that heat is wasted, and a great deal of effort in the USA after the first energy crisis was to reduce energy consumption. That is how Americans learned the virtues of insulating their homes, and why that urea-formaldehyde business took off. While most industry takeovers were all about amassing huge capitalistic fortunes (Rockefeller, Gates, etc.), Dennis was trying to build a Utopian society.

American society began declining after that first energy crisis, the Empire is teetering, and some photographers specialize in America’s ruins, as we go the way of Rome. The short-lived solar industry thrived off of that tax credit and misplaced optimism during the 1970s, and the first thing that Ronald Reagan did after becoming president was dismantle Carter’s solar collector on the White House roof. I got my energy dreams during the energy crisis, as my first professional mentor invented the world’s best engine for powering an automobile, and Brian O was also getting his feet wet in the energy issue, on Capitol Hill. Our pursuit of the energy issue brought us together, but rather preposterously (1, 2).

Energy suddenly became a byword in American life, and a wide spectrum of people engaged the issue, from environmentalists to entrepreneurs to homeowners to sitting American presidents. One technology used to reduce the USA’s energy bill is the heat pump. I get into the physics and economics of heat pumps in some depth on my site and don’t need to belabor it, but briefly, virtually all American households have heat pumps, but they call them refrigerators and freezers. A heat pump moves heat around, and refrigerators and freezers move heat out of an insulated compartment, to make it cold. Millions of Americans also have another kind of heat pump, generally used to heat their homes in the winter, bringing in heat energy from outside the home. In some climates, they can also run it “backwards” to cool the home in summer.

Household heat pumps are generally the “air-to-air” variety, meaning that the two heat sinks are air, not water or something solid like rock. Back in 1980, air-to-air heat pumps got a coefficient of performance (“COP”) of around two, meaning that for every unit of electricity used to power the heat pump, two units of heat were delivered into the home. My diagram of how a refrigerator works makes the jargon that I will use pretty clear, of evaporators, condensers, expansion valves, and the like. I will not get much into what can be the very involved jargon of the field, as with any technical area. The basic concepts and terms that I will relate will be plenty to understand the important ideas. I do the same thing in my big essay: keeping the technical jargon to a minimum. The important ideas are not that hard to understand.

Since the energy delivered by electricity was four times the cost of natural gas, why did anybody heat their homes with electricity rather than burn gas, oil, or coal? In certain markets and certain climates, it could make sense, and the rise of heat pumps was another energy conservation phenomenon of the 1970s. In 1974, a Colorado cowboy bought an air-to-air heat pump. He did not understand how it worked and called up an engineer friend to explain how it worked to him. The engineer came over to the cowboy’s house and explained its function, like my refrigerator example. The cowboy thought through the explanation and noted that where he lived, cooling in the summer was not important, but they wanted to get the best winter performance. The cowboy suggested that if they put the heat pump in the sunshine, versus the shade that most heat pumps were placed in (so they could cool the home in the summer), that it would perform better.

The evaporators of air-to-air heat pumps look like car radiators and perform the same function, of heat exchange with the air. They are not very efficient, but when a car’s radiator has wind blown through it when the car moves, it works well enough.

The cowboy and his engineer friend proceeded to place his new heat pump on the roof of his house, and they cut away the shroud around the evaporator and placed it in the sunshine. Before that heat pump blew up, because the sunshine subjected the system to far higher temperatures and hence, pressures, than the heat pump was designed to withstand, they received amazing performance data.

As they stood there on the roof, the cowboy exclaimed, “Why, we’ll be rich, putting heat pumps on people’s roofs!” The engineer replied that they did not have to put the entire heat pump on people’s roofs, but just the evaporator. That day, that cowboy and engineer founded LamCo, and the “LAM” was an acronym of the initials of the cowboy’s wife’s name. The LamCo system was what Dennis literally stumbled into, with his walker, in 1980, and one of the most amazing chapters of Dennis’s life began, and that is saying something.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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With LamCo, Dennis had stumbled into another fledgling industry, stuck at the craftsman stage, although he did not know it yet. LamCo’s business model was selling dealerships for regions, the dealer bought one unit that he installed himself on his own home, and he usually did not make even one sale before he went out of business.

Because the dealer installed it himself, the quality-control was poor, and if he ever sold a unit, his customers were technical geeks like him, and when Dennis stumbled into LamCo, half of their customers installed their LamCo unit themselves. The air-to-air heat pump that homeowners bought were self-contained appliances, and all that had to be done to install it was to hook up a few lines to it, and was installed by the heat pump company. The LamCo device was something else entirely. The main guts of it, with the receiver and pump, were in a self-contained unit built at LamCo’s factory, but the rest of it, especially the evaporator, was installed piece-by-piece, as a tinkerer project. The panels came in a stack of eight, and the installer had to decide where to put them. The goal was to put the panels where the sunshine and wind could hit them, which increased system performance, and here are some examples of panel arrays. The panel array had to be installed by braising the refrigerant lines to the panels, and to the units and heat exchanger (condenser). After the braising had been done, then there needed to be a vacuum drawn on the system for 24 hours (if the braising was done right and there were not any leaks), before the refrigerant could be added. The thermal expansion valve had to be calibrated, as well as temperature sensors placed in various places.

Installing the LamCo system that way was a science project, and the systems rarely worked very well because the quality control was poor. That panel also turned the refrigeration textbooks upside down. The pumps were rated by horsepower or by the “ton,” a technical term derived from the cooling effect of one ton of ice. According to the textbooks, refrigeration systems could only output 12,000 BTUs per ton, but the LamCo system output 25,000 BTUs per ton. That was “impossible” according to the textbooks, and Dennis eventually had one of his engineers testify against him, announcing that 25,000 BTUs per ton was “impossible,” until he was shown the report from a test that he performed, which demonstrated the “impossible.” I just added that report to my site, so I am getting other benefits of writing these posts, and I am going to put up another famous test soon.

In the coming years, Dennis would spend more than a million dollars on R&D on the LamCo system, to work out the kinks in its design, find the ideal temperatures and pressures, find the ideal applications, and reduce the installation risk, but after that night at that du Pont scientist’s home, Dennis was on fire. He put the scientist in touch with LamCo’s factory and they had long technical talks, and Dennis sold the scientist’s system for cost, and the scientist literally turned his unit into a science project. With the scientist’s help, Dennis wrote a technical document on why the LamCo system would perform so well. He was flying. That scientist was the first of those 21 leads that Dennis got from that mall show, and the other 20 never knew what hit them, as Dennis closed them all. Dennis never failed to close a sales call for the LamCo heat pump, and he sold more than a hundred himself. One customer said that Dennis was so on fire that if he had been selling tickets to the Moon, that he would have bought one.

Dennis returned to Bill’s office in Pennsylvania, with 21 sales, hoping that it was enough that he worked off the cost of that dealership to Newcastle County. When he met Bill, Bill showed him a letter that he received from Dick, the man who stole Dennis’s previous company. Dick wrote to Bill, to try to steal Dennis’s LamCo dealership in Newcastle County, and here is one of the many human nature lessons that Dennis saw time and again on his journey (and I experienced it to, to my dismay). Stealing Dennis’s company was not enough for Dick. He stalked Dennis, and even though Dennis was not involved in foam insulation anymore and Dick was on the sinking ship that he stole, trying to discredit Dennis to anybody that he ever again got involved with became Dick’s mission in life. That sick and evil behavior is related to the crimes that people commit, as if continuing to attack those that they hurt somehow retroactively justified their crimes.

Bill said that he liked Dennis, did not care for Dick, and he gave Dennis another month to prove himself. Bill did not give Dennis any hint that his performance was anything out of the ordinary. Dennis had just sold more systems in one month in one county than LamCo had sold on the entire East Coast of the USA in the previous three years, but Bill was playing Dennis like a good poker player. The rocket was about to take off once again.

Best,

Wade

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Dennis went back to Delaware with another month to sell enough systems to earn his dealership. With those first 21 customers, Dennis dropped the price to $8,500 from $12,000, and his cost from LamCo was $8,000. Dennis immediately began thinking big, and soon discovered that Carter’s energy tax credit would refund $4,000 on a $10,000 piece of equipment. Ever since Dennis gave his new car away when his nationalist illusions were shattered, he has been known for the extravagant gesture, and in that month, Dennis decided to put Dick away and earn that dealership for Newcastle County free and clear. The du Ponts virtually owned Newcastle County, and Dennis reserved the ballroom at the Hotel du Pont, which was the ritziest venue in Delaware, and he put out the word for a fancy meal and world’s best heating system. He asked Bill if he could borrow his demo unit for a little presentation, not telling Bill what was up. Bill came with a couple of assistants, as Bill later said that Dennis was the best salesmen that he ever saw, and he was curious about what Dennis was doing. Needless to say, Bill was bowled over by Dennis’s extravaganza at the Hotel du Pont.

That night, Dennis unveiled his Systems for Savings Program, adapting his earlier shared savings programs. To this day, I think that it is the most brilliant thing that Dennis ever did, and it had the hallmarks of Dennis’s approach. Dennis’s Systems for Savings plans never went for the quick capitalistic kill, but he used the tax credit to put the equipment on people’s homes for free, and they would only pay proven energy savings. Dennis saw it as a win-win-win, as the USA was going to finally get the energy conservation that Carter promoted, not a bunch of useless tin cans on roofs, the customer got no risk energy conservation, and Dennis and those with him would build an empire, which Dennis planned to leverage into finally building that Utopian society. Dennis sold 280 systems that night at the Hotel du Pont. Bill was dazzled by what Dennis had done, dropped his poker face, and begged Dennis to become his partner, admitting that LamCo had not sold 20 systems on the entire East Coast in the previous three years.

With Dennis’s bad experiences with partners, he declined that offer, but counteroffered to do a joint venture with Bill. I have mentioned before how the fruits of genius are often dismissed at first, and when their brilliance becomes undeniable, the very people who attacked it at first claim that they discovered it. This is an endemic aspect of today’s humanity, with the pioneers skewered and dying in ignominy, with their innovations stolen, and the thieves becoming rich and famous. My first professional mentor repeatedly suffered that fate, and this is a big reason why humanity is heading toward the abyss today.

Every single time that Dennis’s companies were stolen, the thieves threw away his “crazy” marketing plans and went for the quick capitalistic kill, completely oblivious to the reality that Dennis’s marketing programs were the gold, not the technology, and they all promptly ran the stolen companies into the ground. I never saw or heard of an exception.

I’ll finish this post with an observation about how casual observers constantly get it wrong. Dennis was the epitome of the overgrown Boy Scout, a flag-saluting patriot who wanted to build a Utopian society, and he always tried to work with those in power to do so. People like him never start out as rebels, but as idealists trying to work within the system, such as Ralph McGehee. Only after all of their attempts are wiped out, or they finally understand the system’s evil, do they stop trying to work within the system and do it independently, and then they are cast as “rebellious,” when that is the furthest thing from the truth, but portraying him that way allows the portrayers to dismiss them and continue worshipping the evil system that feeds them.

Also, as I learned the hard way myself, people tend to project their motivation onto others, both the good and the bad. Dennis and Ralph were freaks, but believed that if The People had a chance, that they would wake up, take back their power, and the evil days can end. IMO, that was the most foolish part of their approach. They were one in millions or billions, but they failed to realize it, although Dennis finally came to understand, and it is one of the loneliest feelings on Earth. Every time that Dennis, Ralph, or I had to field attacks from people, often those closest to us, the attackers were simply projecting their own low-integrity mentalities on us. Long ago, I stopped trying to engage such people, but still they come, making their baseless accusations, etc.

Time to start my busy day.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

To go back to that business definition and how energy propels all life on Earth, including all human activities, energy processes have to be properly sized to work. If a mainmast can’t handle the wind, it breaks. A thousand-horsepower engine in a mail truck makes no sense, and a rocket to the Moon can’t run on diesel. If the components are not properly sized and integrated, the contraption won’t work, whether it is an animal, automobile, or heat pump. Those huge LamCo panels were radical game changers, absorbing not only ambient heat, but the panels also directly absorbed sunlight, just like solar collectors do. In fact, that Colorado cowboy and his engineer friend stumbled into a thermodynamic advantage when they made the panels look like solar collectors.

But if the rest of the system could not handle that vast energy coming from the panels, the heat pump was not going to work well. Liquids have far greater ability to absorb heat energy than gases, as there is more matter to absorb the heat. So, instead of an air-to-air heat pump, which was what the rest were, the LamCo heat pump was an air-to-water arrangement. A water system could readily absorb those 100K BTUs per hour that the LamCo system produced, and even better, a water tank could store the hot water and use it at night, when American homes needed the heat the most. As you can see in that Gannon’s Restaurant data, the LamCo system got a COP of eight in the daytime and four at night (in Minnesota in the winter). So, it made more sense to run the system when the COPs were high, in the daytime, and use it less at night.

That flat panel was why the LamCo device worked so well, so well, in fact, that LamCo cut their performance data in half because they were getting laughed out of engineering offices for the “impossible” performance of their system. That du Pont scientist was right. However, until Dennis arrived on the scene, the industry was stuck in arrested development, in ways similar to how today’s FE field is stuck. Installing the LamCo system was a tinkerer project, with half of the customers before Dennis got involved installing it themselves. It was a prescription for disaster, and the quality of the installations varied wildly because of that.

Since his days at Sears, Dennis just wanted somebody to make and install them as fast as he could sell them. When Bill begged to be Dennis’s partner after that Hotel du Pont show, Dennis’s company would sell them and Bill’s would install them. But early on, LamCo acted strangely. Selling 280 systems in one night was far more than the cowboy wanted. Just sell 20-30 a month, and the cowboy was happy. Dennis saw a market of several million homes with his Systems for Savings program, and the cowboy just wanted to sell a few at a time.

Like he did with the foam insulation business, Dennis began industrializing another fledgling industry. Dennis spent more than a million dollars in R&D, getting the sizing right, working the kinks out, making them easier to install, perfecting his Systems for Savings program to where a chimpanzee could make the sale. How the heck could people pass up, “We will put the world’s best heating system on your house for free, and you will only pay proven energy savings”? It was the world’s most unstoppable program.

Dennis always thought big, and wore out his shoe leather walking up and down Wall Street, looking for the big play. I am going to give out another name that I have not publicly revealed before. When Dennis finally got the plant manager’s attention, it was at the world’s largest heat pump factory, the Carrier facility in Tennessee.

Dennis banged on all the big doors that he could. After banging and banging, he finally got the attention of somebody who understood: the chairman of the board of a household name American finance company. Dennis was getting to the short strokes of a deal for that company to put up $1 billion to carpet the USA with the LamCo heat pump. When Dennis is not trying to put deals together (he still is, as I write this), I may reveal that company’s name, and it is one that you all have heard before, as ubiquitous as Visa and MasterCard.

Best,

Wade

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