AN UNLIKELY ENTREPRENEUR
At the end of a four year tour of duty at Emma Email Marketing as the Chief Architect / Director of Technology, I decided to go off on my own to start my first business. It would be a software development firm called Remarkable Wit (get it?), and I was the first and only employee. I had a lot of ambition, the creative spirit to launch out on my own, and the rebel’s heart that wouldn’t let me stay at Emma any longer, even though the company was just beginning to grow and my position was likely very safe given my prior contributions. The one thing I didn’t have, was any knowledge of what the hell I was doing.
I mean, I knew (I thought) I needed Quickbooks. But I had no real idea what the hell a balance sheet or an income statement was. I didn’t understand labor laws, or how payroll worked. I didn’t get taxes. I didn’t understand how to create financial projections. All I really knew how to do was sell (sort of), do strategy (a little bit) and write code.
From 2007 until know, I have been enrolled in the real world university of entrepreneurship. My background as a technologist and an innovator has been incredibly valuable, as I’ve been able to use Google to figure out anything I didn’t know, just like I did when I was teaching myself how to code. But some lessons can only be learned the hard way, and I’ve picked up plenty of those over the last decade.
I have been fortunate enough to have employees, generate over $1M in revenue by myself, raise significant venture capital, sit on numerous boards, and most recently partner in a pro sports venture which is incredibly cool but also incredibly difficult to navigate. I’ve also failed to make payroll and had to lay people off. I’ve been sued. I’ve had my technology product crash when I got my big chance to partner with Def Jam records on the launch of Watch The Throne. I’ve curled up in a ball and wanted to die probably 20 or more times over the last 10 years. Nothing about this is for the faint of heart.
But I wouldn’t trade any of it. The failures are inevitable. But the effort, the planning, the heart, the autonomy… these things are magic, and I think they are only accessible to the average person through entrepreneurship. That’s why I’m so passionate about it.
I also believe there is a ton of bullshit out there about entrepreneurship. Because I learned by doing as an adult, I had to figure out the hard way what was real and what wasn’t. As an investor, mentor, advisor, partner and now content creator, my take on entrepreneurship will be consistent and authentic with good intentions even if it’s hard to swallow. The game is hard enough, you don’t need bad guidance to make it any harder.
My first book, Create and Orchestrate is a book for entrepreneurs. I hope to inspire and help as many ambitious, creative rebels as possible by telling my story, sharing my philosophy and codifying the principles I’ve learned from real world experience.