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Last Update: Wednesday June 23, 2021

Key Idea: Think Positive

Big things are only accomplished by those who think positive.

Key Question:


You have to look for the good to find a solution.

People ask us all the time, "What does it take to start and grow a business?" Besides those qualities that we examined in the episode called Staying Power, we add "a sense and control of the moment" and "tenacity." The first is the ownership of a thought, word and deed. You take control of the moment. Then tenacity is when, even though someone else has control or some of the control, nothing holds you back or keeps you down for long. Bob adopted that attitude at a very young age, and it was instilled within him throughout his childhood years.

Q: Can anybody be an entrepreneur and start a business?

No. There is too much pain in the process for many people. People can possibly learn tenacity and to increase their thresholds for pain, but it is ever more difficult in our culture when there is always a fast, easy way to eliminate pains and aches, and so much of Hollywood depicts a "get rich quick" exploitative mentality.

This episode ends with Bob Simpson's words -- a statement he shares with Steve about seeing a big picture, huge realities, and fearless pursuit. This is the reality of the start-up on its way to become a big business.

Think about it

Do you have a positive attitude? Can you see possibilities where others only see problems?

Clip from: XTO Energy (aka Cross Timbers)

"I'll be back."

Fort Worth:  Remember when oil was $9 per barrel?  Bob Simpson and Steve Palko do.  They founded Cross Timbers Oil & Gas in Fort Worth at the same time others were getting out of the business. These two visionaries with a long range plan  teach us all what it means to take calculated risks.

Palko was the  VP of Engineering for Southland when there was a hostile take over of the company.  As a reminder to everyone in their newly-formed venture, one of the first things he did was to buy the "I'll be back" bronze (above).   And, surely, they did come back with a vengeance!

Today, know as XTO Energy, the business has quickly grown out of the ranks of a small business, but we believe the spirit of small business will permeate this business forever.  These people dream the impossible dreams then turn them into multi-faceted realities with deep-seated values.

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XTO Energy, Inc.

Gary Simpson, Senior Vice President

810 Houston St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102-6298

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
energy, oil and gas

Year Founded: 1986

Think Positive

We went to far west Texas, Andrews County, to a Cross Timbers field to see a new chapter in their success story.

Unidentified Man #1: (Voiceover) We're drilling a hole at about 7,400 feet right now. They use well logs off the existing wells out here, ones that have already been drilled. They use seismic data. And all that is incorporated into picking a location to drill, where you have the best chance for success.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) I haven't asked anybody: "Why the name Cross Timbers?"

LOUIS: (Voiceover) Cross Timbers refers to the region that's a dividing area between west Texas and east Texas. It's an area of broken forest. In the 1800s, the Indians and Comanches primarily roamed the western Plains, and the piney woods were occupied by settlers and the Cross Timbers land was no man's land. If the settlers got over there, they were subject to being killed. And the Indians raided through the Cross Timbers. Actually there's not a lot of oil and gas in the Cross Timbers . . . we don't have any operations there. But it does symbolize the history of Ft. Worth and of Texas and the heritage of being a Texan and being in the oil business.

HATTIE: Tell me about this new cap you've got.

LOUIS: This is a cap that just shows XTO; that's our stock symbol. It is an interesting contrast between the hard hat, the real roots of the company, but we also need Wall Street and the investors as a way to value the company.

STEVE: A favorite expression in the oil field is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." We don't let people say that. We want them to say, "Even if it's not broke, can it be better? How good could it be?"

BOB: It's more important to me to have fun and to be with talented bright people, if you will, than to have more money.

HATTIE: Do you think that having big ideas makes people bigger people?

STEVE: Absolutely. Absolutely. And not being afraid to go down a brand-new road. We're not afraid of change. We're not afraid of a changing environment. And, we're not worried that whatever the circumstances are that we can't figure out a way to make the best of it.

BOB: You know one of the things that we do, in the adversity of the day and of the moment, is to know that it'll be better later, and believe that. You've got to believe that, because you're gonna defy the odds and you're gonna succeed. I don't care the odds are you won't, but you're gonna defy them and you know that even on your bad days. And so the way you think where you'll end is a lot about ending there.

STEVE: My hope is at the end of the time that people say it mattered that Steve Palko was here. That Bob Simpson or Louis Baldwin or the rest of that there was something that was better because they were here.

HATTIE: Remember, do what you know with whom you know, and you'll build a better business faster.


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