This is probably one of the toughest letters I’ll ever write. We’ve gone through so many things together. Many good times and many bad times. I will never forget the first time I met you on November 28th, 1990. It was love at first sight. I loved your curvaceous mountains and I couldn’t take my eyes off you every time you danced your way into an earthquake. I had many firsts with you.
The first time we went to Disneyland together.
The first time we took a long walk on the beach.
The first time we shared your famous sunset together.
The first time we went shopping at Rodeo drive.
The first time we walked the hollywood stars.
The first time we went to Florentine Gardens together.
The first time we drove up the coast.
The first time we visited San Francisco and had Clam Chowder at the Fisherman’s Wharf.
The first time we went to a Laker game together when their best player was Sedale Threatt.
With all that being said I wanted to take this moment to write 10 things I’ll miss most about California and why I chose to move to Texas.
Top 10 things I’ll miss about California
1. Family & Friends
This past week was filled with great get togethers with family and friends. I will miss you all. You know who you are. You’re a big part of my life.
2. Shepherd of The Hills
It’ll be tough to find another Dudley. I will miss the SOTH family.
3. The state that gave me the opportunity to make a name for myself.
My entire career in the financial services got started in the streets of LA. 100’s of thousands of miles driven while hustling as an entrepreneur.
4. The Lakers
Our Love affair will continue and depending on how things turn out, I would be very glad to be the majority owner of the Lakers one day. That part of my life probably won’t start till I hit 60. Meanwhile, I will always be grateful for being at the game 7 of the finals when you beat the Celtics on our home floor. It’s a sporting event I’ll take to the grave with me.
5. Raffis’ Place in Glendale
Many of my peers think I’m a part owner of Raffis place due to how often I go there. I just happen to be one of the biggest fans of the most incredible restaurant in the world. It’s an honor to call the family who runs the restaurant, one of the classiest families I know. Armond jan, I will miss you. However, I’ll most likely see you in a few weeks. I’m a committed fan for life. ☺
6. Runyon Canyon, Santa Monica stairs, El Matador beach and Forest Lawn
These 4 places were where I made some of the most important breakthroughs of my life. These places were my therapist(s) who simply listened to me when I had a heavy heart and I don’t remember a single time where they judged me. I will miss the 4 of you but I will be coming back from time to time.
7. The Weather
Best weather in America. Yes, this one will be missed.
8. The beach
9. The mountains
There’s something about mountains that is very calming.
If you know me well, you know I love movies. Who knows, it may be something I may entertain later on in my life. There’s always been an interest in telling stories so this is one part I will absolutely miss. If I ever decide to be in the entertainment business, I would need to come back to California. Don’t share this with my wife since she’s done moving, having made 5 moves while our 2 boys were born (1 girl on the way!) in the last 6 years.
Top 10 reasons why I moved to Texas
Texas treats entrepreneurs like California treats Hollywood. Here’s a great article from CNBC ranking top states for business. California ranks 50th for business friendliness. Click here to see the ranking.
2. Four seasons
As a kid, I enjoyed seeing all four seasons. I made Christmas that much more merrier. I want my kids to have the same experience as I had.
People often say that California has the best weather in America which it does but what most people don’t know is that Texas ranks as #3 best state for weather. I’m just not sure having the best weather is worth the additional 13.3% in taxes to pay. Click here for more details.
3. Southern Hospitality
We just got to our new house and 7 neighbors already came to say hello to us.
Only 1 couple came to welcome us to the community in California and 0 in the prior home we lived in. I’m not sure what that really means but it’s something I value a lot after being in business for years.
4. Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers
I’ve been a die hard Rangers fan since they drafted Juan Gonzalez. My email address till today has the number 19 in it because of his jersey number.
5. Cost of Gas
Gas costs an average of $1.58 a gallon in Texas versus $2.58 in California. Only one state is more expensive and that’s Hawaii. Click here to see the state average.
You can’t spell Taxes without Texas. No state Taxes in Texas! HELLO! Texas is one of 7 states with no state taxes. Wyoming, Washington, Texas, South Dakota, Nevada, Florida and Alaska. California is the highest state with 13.3% taxes. I don’t have a challenge paying taxes but I do have a challenge with those who make decisions on what they do with the taxes I pay. In the transition to moving from California to Texas, I gave EVERY SINGLE person in my staff a minimum of a 20% pay raise on top of them not having to pay any state taxes. I can do that because I pass the savings to our staff. Click here to see where you state ranks in taxes.
7. Easy to travel anywhere in the country
Great airport to travel across the country. You’re a 3 hour flight away from any city in America. Very central. DFW is ranked as the #3 best airport in America for business travelers behind Atlanta International and O’Hare in Chicago. Click here to see the ranking of top airports in America.
8. Cost of living
a. Click here to use this tool to calculate the difference from city to city based on the income and profession that you have. The numbers will SHOCK many of you.
Here’s a great article from USA Today describing how many hours a commuter loses in Los Angeles driving. LA ranks #2 for traffic in United States.
10. Great place to make business contacts.
Mark Cuban and I met here in Dallas. Here’s the interview in case you missed it.
This isn’t an article to encourage you to leave California. I give a ton of credit to California for teaching me how to hustle and how to compete. It is a great starting and middle point for any entrepreneur. You’ll make many great connections and enter great markets that’ll serve you a lifetime. I just don’t think it’s a place where many headquarters will end up. Texas just passed up California for having the most Fortune 500 headquarters. Not to mention that most of California’s fortune 500 companies are technology companies based in Northern California. (Click here for Fortune article)
California can sometimes be the hot girlfriend that costs you an arm and a leg to date (As seen in my break up letter). She only wears Prada, Gucci, Louise Vuitton, Chanel and expects to go to the best restaurants. However, the benefit of dating her is her friends are celebrities and know how to party. It’s the one relationship you’ll always have many memories of but maybe not the one you end up marrying. I’m at the phase of my life where I’m looking for “marriage” when it comes to in entrepreneurship.
Things I would improve if I were to be the Governor of California:
1. It’s important to not only keep but also attract new businesses to move to California
I think California has not only forgotten how to attract businesses to move there. It’s like a business that no longer goes searching for new clients and all it does it maintain the existing book of business. That business is a decade or two away from being out of business.
California is like the boyfriend who thinks his girl won’t leave just because he has a good body and knows all the right people at the different night clubs. If the girl is a serious girl, she will eventually leave him for someone who is serious about his life. That’s what is starting to happen with California.
1. It’s become too sexy for business owners and slowly but surely businesses are breaking up with California.
2. You can fool your friends into believing that the reason for the breakup is the ex until your friends realize that the last 5 girls have all left you. We both know who the problem is at that point.
Two things we need to look at with taxes:
1. I would lower the state taxes to 0% and recognize businesses that keep creating jobs and giving strong raises. Instead of constantly demonizing and fining businesses I would find ways to recognize and incentivize businesses.
2. Use 2% of your sales taxes to give incentives to have businesses move to cities that need growth. I wouldn’t focus on cities that already have growth but those that don’t. I would focus on Riverside, San Bernandio, Merced, Sacramento, Fresno, Victorville, Fontana and the list goes on. I would give the best incentives for businesses that moved there. I would use exactly what Frisco, TX did to increase their population from 5,000 in the early 90’s to 140,000 by attracting a ton of businesses to move their headquarters there.
Jeff Bezos once said:
“Do you want to be a $200 million company with a 20% margin or a $10 billion company with a 5% margin?”
Instead of being concerned about losing the state tax revenue that comes in, I would be excited about increasing the top line revenues we would get from the new jobs we’ve created. It would be the capital state for Jobs in America and in the world.
2. Entrepreneur academy
I would personally meet with top 100 CEO’s and entrepreneurs in the state to create a mentorship program. The program would only be tailored to those who start a business in California or to those who moved their business to California. My main focus with this would be to give birth to the most entrepreneurs in the state. Our current educational system in California isn’t too fond on teaching entrepreneurship and I would get major CEO’s in the state to contribute to improving that.
3. I would diversify which type of entrepreneurs I gave birth to
California tends to mainly give birth to technology or entertainment companies. That’s great but it tends to only attract that type of talent. I would like to see California diversify the type of talent it attracts. I think New York did a great jobs dominating the financial services industry and I have a unique plan that would help California do just that. California would take the championship belt away from New York for the financial capital of America. It would take us 20 years to do so.
4. Self education movement
I would make California be the GREATEST place in the world where people are obsessed with reading the right type of books. (Which is why I created the Entrepreneurs book club).Within 20 years, we would literally be giving birth to the next Einstein, Rockefeller, Reagan, JFK, Musk, Gates, Walton, Patton and the list goes on. The key to this system would be that we would be giving birth at a rate no other state or nation has ever given. Again, that’s a system I’ve written out that would make California a force to be reckoned with.
You may look at this list and say I don’t have any social programs on this list or anything to lower the amount of prisoners in the state. A state needs a ton of social programs when they don’t create jobs or a condition for entrepreneurs who are willing to create jobs.
I’m here to tell you that both problems can be solved if we teach people how to educate themselves and how to make money for themselves. In my opinion It would solve 90% of all problems that we have in California. I’m sick and tired of having politicians convince the lower & middle income families that they need help. They’ve done a great job convincing middle America that they can’t stand on their own two feet. We’ve said this so many times that more and more people are starting to believe it. This is not a way to create leaders but a way to give birth to victims. It’s a mindset shift that would take 20 years to solve.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. And if you’re from the state of California, I want you to know that I will miss you and I’ll be visiting you regularly.