Ever since I sold my first business in 1998, I’ve been essentially doing the bidding of others. Our remote team was let go on May 15, 2015 by our well-funded, but Portland-based parent company. It’s funny how you can anticipate something like that. My colleagues and I just had…that feeling. Deep in our guts, we knew the end was coming. We just didn’t know when.
My initial reaction was one of panic. I have a wife and a toddler. How will I support them? Hell, how will I even break the news to her? She’s been a stay-at-home mom for our son. He had surgery when he was 10 weeks old and, together, we decided it would be best for her to be home with him so she could see to his post-operative care. It was, without any doubt, the best decision we have ever made.
OK. I can do this. I have a small but strong network of people inside and outside of my industry. Time to reach out and start looking for new employment. After about 60 days, it became increasingly clear that finding full-time employment was going to be a longer road than I’d have hoped.
When a wild animal is cornered, the only options are fight or die. Applied to my particular situation, I have to support my family. My choice is to fight the hardest battle of the business world–start a business and launch a product. If I had a beard, it would be gray. That means I’m not crazy or naive. As I work towards my product launch, I’ll continue to feverishly search for new employment.
I’ve managed to spend my career largely in the shadows doing the work of a yeoman. I’m not the charismatic CEO you read about on TechCrunch. I’ve led people and teams and like to think I’m an effective leader. I’m confident, fair and trustworthy. I genuinely want my team to be happy and thrive. However, I wouldn’t be your first choice for the face of a public company. Part of the reason for that is that I like to work. I enjoy the process. All of it. Sometimes, even to a fault. The fault being is that the things I enjoy doing cover a broad spectrum. I believe the breadth of my experience is a hindrance in gaining new employment. Larger companies tend to define roles with more precision than a startup does. As a result, describing a functional role, constructing a resume and finding jobs that match my interests and background is challenging.
So, being the wise, beardless entrepreneur that I am, the first thing that came to mind was to start a podcast to chronicle my journey. It scratches a number of itches for me, but being a public figure isn’t one of them. So, bear with me as I settle in and get comfortable in this new role.
Will I succeed? Will I go broke? Will my family starve? You’ll have to tune in each week to find out. Episode #1 will be released later today.