I must start by apologizing to my mother.
We’ve agreed many times that it is cruel and unnecessary for me to come clean to my parents about my youthful misdeeds. But Amy Kelley, our head of product & marketing, convinced me that my story about a long ago Grateful Dead concert was a clear indication of entrepreneurial talent, so I feel compelled to share.
Back in 1982, my friend Diana and I went to a Grateful Dead show at what was then the Philadelphia Spectrum. We took the short train ride from Diana’s house and danced the night away on top of broken folding chairs about ten rows back from the stage. On the way home, we both fell asleep on the train and awoke two stops past our destination. It was late – right around midnight – and we most definitely didn’t want to call her parents to pick us up. (Remember, this was 1982. No Uber. No cell phones.)
I noticed a hoagie shop that was still open and I had a bright idea. We walked into the shop, confirmed that they had free delivery, ordered two Italian hoagies to be delivered to Diana’s house, and proceeded to eat the sandwiches in the back seat of our free ride home.
What I chalked up to a particularly amusing story featuring my knack for getting out of sticky situations, Amy saw as a perfect example of the skills required to be a successful entrepreneur.
Starting and growing a company requires persistent creativity and resourcefulness. You’re figuring out how to build something that didn’t exist before. When one way doesn’t work, you’ve got to find another and another and another. And I don’t mean just the big, strategic stuff. I’m talking about the ongoing litany of operational decisions, daily problems, unexpected emergencies, and twists and turns that all startups face if they manage to stick around for any length of time.
Got the entrepreneurial bug? Looking for people who can ride that crazy train with you? Ask yourself this question: How would you have gotten home that April night?
And for those of you who care to remember, here’s the setlist. (Brings tears to my eyes.)
- Cold Rain and Snow
- Promised Land
- C.C. Rider
- Brown Eyed Women
- Mama Tried
- Mexicali Blues
- Big Railroad Blues
- Looks Like Rain
- It's All Over Now
Might as Well
- Lost Sailor
- Saint of Circumstance
- Terrapin Station
- The Other One
- Morning Dew
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