We had the good fortune of connecting with Russell Baker and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Russell, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
I feel that “the customer is always right” is an antiquated notion that can be toxic, particularly for our employees who have to bear the brunt of it.  Social media and online reviews in particular have provided a platform for narcissists who thrive on the power trip of entitlement that hiding behind anonymity seems to impart.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
“I’m inspired by people who make bold bets with their time and resources to improve the world around them.”

I’ve enjoyed a successful 20+ year career in the computer software industry having worked for some of the most innovative software companies in the world.  During that time, I’ve gained invaluable skills and experience serving in various sales and sales management roles, and currently hold the position of Director of Worldwide Sales for a multinational software and IT company.

I grew up in San Luis Obispo’s North County and have deep roots in this community. I spent 15 years away from the Central Coast during which time I lived in some amazing cities including Boston, San Francisco, Cupertino, and Raleigh, before moving back to Paso Robles in 2007 to start a family. I volunteer my time as a member of the Board of Directors for a local non-profit focused on providing free after-school arts classes to area youth. Having grown up here, it’s been exciting to bear witness to how much Paso Robles has grown and changed over the years while still maintaining its small-town charm and appeal. I am proud to be a part of this growth and to invest in my hometown, incorporating many of the places I’ve visited and experiences I’ve had into building The Backyard for all to enjoy.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Day 1: Coffee at AMSTRDM (www.amstrdmpaso.com)
Breakfast at The Neighborhood (www.neighborhoodacai.com)
Rent bikes or scooters to explore downtown
Watch local artists at work and buy art at Studios on the Park (www.studiosonthepark.org)
Lunch at Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ (www.jeffryswinecountrybbq.com)
Beer tasting at Silva Brewing (www.silvabrewing.com)
Shopping at General Store Paso Robles (www.generalstorepr.com) and Spice of Life (www.pasospices.com)
Drinks and dinner at The Backyard (www.thebackyardpaso.com)
Stay at Piccolo Hotel (www.thepiccolo.com) or Hotel Cheval (www.hotelcheval.com)

Day 2:
Morning walk around downtown
Coffee at Spearhead Coffee (www.spearheadcoffee.com)
Breakfast at Brunch (www.brunchpaso.com)
Visit Estrella Warbirds Museum (www.ewarbirds.org)
Wine Tasting on the East Side:
– Paris Valley Road Estate Winery (www.parisvalleyroad.com)
– Pear Valley Vineyards (www.pearvalley.com)
– Cass Vineyards (www.casswines.com) for winetasting, horseback riding and lunch
– Head back to town, on the way stop and check out the sculpture garden at Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden (www.sculpterra.com)
Dinner at Les Petites Canailles (www.lpcrestaurant.com)
Cocktail at Tetto Rooftop Bar at the Piccolo (www.thepiccolo.com/tetto)
Stay at Piccolo Hotel (www.thepiccolo.com) or Hotel Cheval (www.hotelcheval.com)

Day 3:
Walk to Paso Market Walk (www.pasomarketwalk.com); Coffee at JoeBella Coffee Roasters with breakfast from Just Baked; Lunch to-go from Finca (www.fincapasorobles.com) and cheese board from The Wine Merchant (to enjoy later while wine tasting)Wine Tasting on the West Side:
– Zenaida Cellars (www.zenaidacellars.com)
– Clos Solene (www.clossolene.com)
– Tablas Creek Vineyard (www.tablascreek.com)
– Thacher Winery (www.thacherwinery.com)
Dinner at The Hatch (www.hatchpasorobles.com)
Cocktails at Eleven Twenty-Two speakeasy (www.eleven-twentytwo.com)
Stay at Piccolo Hotel (www.thepiccolo.com) or Hotel Cheval (www.hotelcheval.com)

Day 4:
Breakfast at Paso Robles Inn (www.pasoroblesinn.com)
Take HWY 46 West to the coast. Look for sea glass or moonstones on Moonstone Beach and explore downtown Cambria; head further north to watch the sea lions and take a tour of Hearst Castle in San Simeon.
Head back inland. Stop in Tin City (www.tincitypasorobles.com) where you can find anything from ice cream, to beer, wine, cider and distilled spirits, to restaurants.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to thank my friends and family for always supporting and encouraging me; my step-father for inspiring me to become an entrepreneur; and my wife, Amy, my daughter, Amelia, and my mother for being my biggest fans.

Website: https://www.thebackyardpaso.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_backyard_paso/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebackyardpaso/posts/4035745849801979?comment_id=4035919919784572

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-backyard-paso-robles

Image Credits
Oak and Barrel Photography

Via Shoutout LA

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