Goodbye and Hello

I’ve contemplated writing this post for more than 3 weeks now – and low and behold – today is the right day to share what’s been happening in my life and take a bit of a dive on the new direction.

Don’t worry, there’s good news at the end.

First a little background and to make sense of why I have not written since November. Two days before Thanksgiving I was laid off from the startup where I had been working full time for a year and a half. Yep, laid off and by one of my best friends to make it even worse. Due to budgeting and funding constraints the founders let half the team go, without warning and under very unfortunate circumstances. I’ll save other details to protect the involved but although I wish them well suffice it to say I was blindsided and quite disappointed.

Thanksgiving, of all weeks!

Being on the receiving end of that sort of news during Thanksgiving week makes it a lot harder to give thanks to your family and to the world, I’ll tell you that much for sure. The sudden change placed me in a quite challenging situation for this holiday season, but one I know I can get through with support from family and friends.

I gotta be honest, it was tough to swallow. How could “I” be let go from a company I felt really needed me? And how does our ego hit so hard upside the head?

Screenshot 2015-12-16 at 5.06.59 PM

The best thing about being let go so unexpectedly is you are given back your time, which provided me a chance to reflect on the trajectory in my life as an entrepreneur and where I was currently heading. I realized I was not at all where I wanted to be professionally and not utilizing my strengths in the ways in which I wanted.

Through it all I can now honestly say I am relieved and energized. As a fighter and a survivor (and most importantly an entrepreneur) this news simply gives me a stronger fire in the belly to strike out on my own and create things that need to exist in the world. It was the excuse I was waiting for, and it served as a nudge from the world to get my ass going again after a few years hiatus.

We should be thankful for every door that closes in our face – there’s probably a damn good reason it needed to be slammed.

See, I had been working on some things during my downtime which oh-so-subtly was getting me very excited, and now I am afforded the time and energy to dive into them full time. I am here to announce I will officially launch them in early 2016.

Yes, I said thing(s).

Two. Things. I. Think. Can. Be. Really. Cool.

And. Maybe. Even. Really. Big.

I am not at liberty to let too much out of the bag yet so a few hints and previews will have to do at this time.  One of them is a really cool new experience for sports fans around the world. I am sure we all have seen the crazy growth (and commercials) of Daily Fantasy Sports and yet might not really know how to play them or feel comfortable with the whole – legal or illegal – sports gambling experience. We definitely aren’t launching another version of DraftKings or FanDuel! But we will be launching a much more lightweight, fun, mobile, and social sports experience where you can share your sports knowledge with the world during your favorite sporting events. If this sounds at all familiar, it is since we are resurrecting an idea I had about 3 years ago but then shelved it due to timing challenges. We’ve determined the time is now and are working under the hood as we speak.

The other startup is best categorized as an entertainment and media brand, and was born out of the combination of a few of my side projects – Founders RAW and Feature Friday, an event I hold in Seattle each month where I pick 5 local startups to demo to a crowd of attendees. Although it won’t be like either one of those projects what I can mention is it will be video based and web distributed. We haven’t found anything identical out there but you will definitely notice similarities to other “shows” or “series” you might see on NBC or FOX. I can also say is it will be fun, entertaining, competitive and hopefully watched by people around the world.

There you have it – not one but two new things to keep me busy during the day and up at night!

I once heard a saying:

“When you see a ship disappear on the ocean horizon, it always appears to someone standing somewhere else in the world. When you say goodbye, someone else is saying hello.”

I might have just butchered that quote but I think you get the picture of where I am at and what I am feeling right now. It’s looking like 2016 will be unlike any other year in my life. I hope it is for you too.

image courtesy of Flickr user kylehixson

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Taking The Bumpy Road

“Clank-Clank…. Clank-Clank.” 

The keys were hitting the ignition so hard I thought they were going to fly straight out of the car, as it was rocking back and forth so fast it was spilling my cup of water all over my lap.

Dude, where we going again?” one of my friends asks as he grabs another hand of chips from the bag.  He finishes his bite and quips “man, what the hell are we doing? This road sucks.

“Trust me, it’s awesome!” I reassured him.

What he didn’t know was we were about to ascend on one of the most beautiful views one can find in the Pacific Northwest.  Of course, to get there we had to do a little off-roading first.

30 minutes later, Clank-Clank…. Clank-Clank” ….the keys shouted again.….. Clank-Clank…. Clank-Clank” even louder this time.

After a treacherous 45 minute drive and almost popping both front tires on the demanding bumpy mountain road, we finally reached the top of the mountain to see this…

Blanchard Hill

I often think back to those college days when I would venture up to Blanchard Hill for a weekend of camping with friends.  It took a toll both on the car and our stomachs as we gained elevation on the logging roads in our cheap little sedan.  Back then – even if we were just looking for a cool spot to drink beer and roast marshmallows on a campfire – we unintentionally grasped something very important about life.

You don’t get anywhere amazing by taking the road normally traveled.  It’s the roads less traveled which provide the largest payoff.

Of course you couldn’t reach this amazing view on smooth, straight, and well traveled roads.  It’s too normal and too commonplace.   It’s flat.  It’s boring.  They take you from point A to point B.  Too many people travel along those roads to experience such an amazing and unique payoff.

I am reminiscing about this because I find myself on the bumpy road right now.

My “keys” are clanking so loud right now, so loud it’s deafening.  I sometimes wonder why I am sacrificing other parts of my life and my earning potential in the prime of my life to do something different than others.  Why am I not on the same road as so many of my friends?  They “seem” to be driving so smoothly, smiling and enjoying the fruits of the road most traveled.  The road I am on is extremely bumpy and very deserted, with so many potholes I am pulling the wheel back and forth, weaving left and right to simply keep the tires full of air.

But you know what?

I have realized it’s not specifically about the road you are on but the destination where you will end up.   You must choose between enjoying the road or enjoying the destination where that road leads you.  Most of the time those are opposing forces and I have learned you have to do a little off-roading to building anything extraordinary today.

Exiting the highway and ascending the bumpy mountain road is what is required of a successful entrepreneur.  Some come a little more prepared, with their 4×4 trucks and their lifted chassis so they miss most of the rocks.  And some – who may be thought of as a little bit crazy – just start climbing the road with whatever vehicle they might be in at the time.  Yet it is these people, who may not have the luxury of a large 4×4, who learn to become the greatest navigators of the bumpy roads.

But in the end, it really doesn’t matter what vehicle you took to get to the top.  Getting to the top, reaching your destination, is the only thing that matters.  The view is worth the work and trouble of it all.  The satisfaction of choosing the bumpy road – doing something most people don’t  – overrides all the pain and challenge one experiences through it all.

Which road are you choosing?