No false advertisement here… I’m afraid I fit this bill. I just kind of fell into it really. In the last year, I’ve been able to catch up with a lot of old friends. You and I may have had a chance to sit down for some casual chatter. In some of this chatter, did you feel that awkward moment where we realized some of our thinking was quite different? I did, but it’s cool.
But then, there was the common understanding of being brothers-in-arms, both God’s children, sprinkled with the times we’re living in… and maybe a dash of similarities that let us say, “dang, life is hard…” and we quickly looked beyond it.
We all sure have come a long way since 1990. All of us have had some of life’s toughest periods between then and now. I’m no exception.
I recall quite clearly that it only took me two years after graduating with my college BA to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to work for “the man” the rest of my life.
While I maybe didn’t realize it at the time, there was this environment… that was real conducive to letting a man pursue his dream. My first job out of college (around ’92) was creating “virtual” video tours of college campuses that allowed prospective high school students to hit the library computer and swap a 16-disc set of CD-ROM’s in and out to view campus tours of most of the colleges around the US. When the WWW was getting hot, the company started churning out 5, 10, 15, 30 and even 40 page websites. Some pages had images, others had audio and video segments. That’s what we did.
I met my future business partner there. One day, we realized, man, this is stupid. We could do this better, faster… and even cheaper on our own. Yes, we were privy to what they were charging clients, and let me just say, it was a lot more than what we charge today! But trying to avoid the entrepreneurial seizure, I stayed the course a while.
One of my colleagues left and went to another company. Not long after, he called me up and said you need to come here and head this new department up. So I did. Things were good. The best way to describe it, was I was an artist-turned-programmer. The team I was on integrated the company intranet to its own satellite uplink (hence, sending a beep or text message to a pager)
In this company, I was at a corporate office, so my boss’s boss worked there… and his boss, the VP was there too. This VP was cool. I mean too cool. He was an intimidating man who was ALL business. I very much respected him. Let’s call him Mr. B.
I recall the day I met Mr. B. We were in his office (like 9 of us) and in his booming voice, he said “this is huge for us, let’s not f**k this up” as he twirled a gimmicky-utility-knife, can-opener-looking thingy with a partners logo on it. There I am fresh meat, and him noticing I was checking out his whirl-i-gig. He was like, “you like this, here, take it” and he tossed it to me and I did the fumbly miss thing, and it dropped on his really beautiful, probably new desk, and it put a huge gouge in it. Silence, just for a second. He fingered it, and said “ah crap, that apparently is going to leave a mark”
What’s the point of all that? I don’t know, but I felt that the corporate environment was cool for a minute. Really, it was cool seeing such a successful business man, play it cool with me. Let me just say it was another moment I said to myself, man, I’m gonna be that guy.
So, between the transition from job 1 to job 2 out of college, the entrepreneurial seizure struck and Innersync was born. We were doing stuff out of the upstairs of my Price Hill home. We did it better, faster… and cheaper. Simple as that. What happened to my work ethic at my day job you might ask? Pristine. In fact, I was quite open about it with my employer because I respected them.
I would go home and work late at night and then report back to my day job the next day. It did get to a point where I was meeting clients over my lunch break and it ultimately got to a point where I was telling my boss (and as far as I’m concerned, my business mentor) that I may need to “put in my notice” soon. Little did I know, they weren’t going to have it. They let me reduce my work days to three days a week. Mon., Wed. and Fri. That’s right, what ever they needed out of me, I gave it to them… on time, every time. My role didn’t seem to require 40 hours a week. Sometimes, when I had to “camp out” at the day job to get it done, I did.
Finally though, I had to quit as outside work was to a point where it needed all my attention and I put in my two weeks notice. When I finally left my day job, I had this “super computer” of the day that was a video work-station/DTP solution that required its own budget at the time. Mr. B said “take all that sh*t with you as we can’t use it when you’re gone. Just remember me when I need something later.” …and BTW, they cashed in and utilized my company services later and I made things right for them too… thanks to Mr. B’s kind gesture. Here, a big corporate company calls on my little company to do them services. And let me add, that I provided them some very successful solutions at business speed. Business got done… on a hand-shake and in an ethical manner. In my case, it was done in a cost-effective manner too. At the same time, I managed to employ some people in the process.
In between all this, I became Power of Attorney for my father in November 2001 (after a debilitating stroke) and he became the first “kid” I ever had. I had just been married a month prior in Sept. (we returned from our honeymoon a day before the 9/11 attack). In 2002, I had my first child. The whole first year of my marriage was spent mostly rehabilitating my dad. Then, we had another child in 2004 and I thought, I really need to make some more money, faster. So you see, my vision required big success, faster than one might expect working for the man. It was these outside pressures that pressed me harder to push forward. The drive and desire were fueled by the necessity. It was kind of sublime to really believe it was possible.
While my company is not yet where I want it to be, it’s getting there and I’m convinced that between our brave men and women in the military who fight for our freedom, and what’s left of our capitalist environment is what has allowed me to pursue my own dreams. I believe it is people who can erode trust and integrity, and not capitalism. You can argue that capitalism is the fuel that feeds the fire, but I’ve not seen a better alternative in my own books or studies. ALL environments breed bacteria. Capitalism is what made this country a world dominator. I’ve always favored being on the winning team myself. Everyone here has the opportunity, but not everyone is up for the challenge. Even still, those not up for the challenge can still become a valuable part of the machine that does business, if they really care to. Those that ascend from being that small gear in the box (a critical part of the whole) are called entrepreneurs. These are people who take a chance, and if all goes right, make some money–and I want them to have that money because the by-product is more jobs. We have a lot of broken machines right now, and I know some whose motivation to fix the machine is dying because there is no incentive to fix it.
I want so much for others, and even my own children to feel the surge of an entrepreneurial seizure and be able to act on it if they dare to, and consequently, be free to fail as well. Those who dare to take the gamble should get the pay-off. If those who succeed are anything like me, they will give freely back to society in the ways most important to them.
In sum, I’m the one you may call a capitalist pig, but I take care of a great group team and their families in this process… and I will continue to do so for as long as I’m empowered. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m working on some ideas for world peace. Thanks for the ear.