|Salisbury University, BA||1993|
Steve Newomcb / Virgance
I love to think of entrepreneurs as heros of a sort. To imagine a single person that starts with a simple idea and then turns that idea into a permanent monument of human accomplishment - that is beautiful. To imagine a single human being having the guts to hold themselves responsible for affecting so many lives through employment, through their product and through the shear, raw, and direct power of money - that is my kind of benevolence. To see a person stand up and attempt greatness in the face of such overwhelming mediocrity in today’s world - that is courage.
I have seen the best and the worst that being an entrepreneur can offer. I’ve seen revenues grew from $20 million to over $3.6 billion. I’ve ridden the roller coaster of going public seeing our stock rise by 856% only to come crashing back down by 900%. I’ve taken on Google at their height of power and convinced 72 other to join me. I’ve made many decisions that made people love me, but more importantly I made a few difficult calls that I knew were right even though I knew it would make some hate me. Regardless of the perils, the risks and the loneliness that entrepreneurs often face, I know that my path is to create, to build and to take something that perhaps only I can see and make it work. It is ingrained my bones and my heart. I am a capitalist and I am an entrepreneur.
To me, there is hardly anything more difficult, more worthy or more inspiring than being a founder. What defines us is that despite the risks, the fears and the fact that almost all who try fail, we, by our own volition, start companies with the intent of changing the world. And we do so not as the consumers or dependancies of the initial spark that ultimately creates value, but rather as the producers, the irreducible primaries, of it. As such, our evolutionary path, our successes and our failures, not only affects us, but also radiates out to the entire startup ecosystem with which we share co-dependencies.
Yet, despite the importance of our quest, our path is rarely made easier by our own kind. We, the founder cognoscenti, are so rapt with our own efforts that we rarely lift our head, or rather our minds to help our own brethren. We, the great producers of value, seem to flip becoming the consumer of knowledge rather than the producer of it. As a result, we unwittingly end up stifling our brethren instead of helping them in ways that seem obvious.
While founders may have no formal leader, no formal structure and our borders may be unbound by geography, doctrine or rules, we are, in fact, a community. To create a shared sense of our current state through the fearless act of sharing knowledge or taking a position is what binds us together. To do so declares our state and consummates our union. To repudiate such an attempt abdicates our responsibility to one another, contradicts our nature as producers and inures us to a solitary existence where we set ourselves adrift in what is already tempestuous waters.
In a world which irrationally values quips over explanations, summation over detail, kind of getting it versus really getting it, it is essential to recognize the need for depth when depth is necessary. So however long, flawed or perilous my essays and writings may be, and even though my wife has grave concerns for the english language when put in my hands, if just one founder is able to extract a single shred of knowledge that completes a circuit, then it was worth it.