I like creating stuff. Not necessarily in the traditional physical sense, unless you count putting together Ikea furniture as creating something, but more in the digital and theoretical sense, creating companies and innovative ways of thinking. I’m a bit ADD and sometimes all over the place, but at the same time amazingly organized. I enjoy reading but am not a huge fan of writing, so naturally I’ve decided to start writing a blog.
True to my own workaholic style, I sat down a few months ago while relaxing at a horseback-riding ranch in Chile to make a list of blog topics to get me going. I started with the first thing that came to mind, which was painful lessons learned from running 2 failed startups. I thought of A LOT of lessons, then caught my breath and realized that would be an amazingly depressing blog (they both crashed and burned pretty nicely). Instead of taking the typical Danny approach (lists and schedules, yay), I’m going to venture into this on the fly and we’ll see what comes out the other end.
The past 6 years having been adventurous, eye opening, insightful, and at times amazingly depressing. I’ve got 2 failed startups under my belt, BikeIt which didn’t last much longer than a football season, and Wedkey which sucked up my livelihood for the better part of 18 months. I managed to go through business school in 3 years at NYU part-time, at night, while working a full time job in corporate finance/M&A, and running said startups. I met an amazing woman (Shera), adopted the cutest dog on the planet (Breck), married that woman (thanks god cause I don’t know who else would have me), traveled to about half a dozen countries I’d never been to before, left the craziness of NYC for the… well, for the semi-craziness of Washington DC, helped Shera launch a dog training company, and now find myself running marketing for a startup called ServiceAlley inside The Washington Post. I guess you could say I’ve gone from a single, somewhat educated schmo entrepreneur, to a married, more educated schmo intrapreneur… That sounds way less interesting and enticing than it actually was. It’s been a hell of a ride doesn’t look to be over anytime soon.
Launching and folding two startups in 3 years, launching a small private business and running marketing and consumer product for a startup within a big corporation have taught me some interesting lessons. Writing about entrepreneurship so often focuses on what you should be doing (10 activities for successful guerrilla marketing), but I’ll bet any entrepreneur you can find will tell you the failures they’ve made, either small or big, have taught them immensely more than the successes. What’s missing from all those nice “how-to” articles is the context, the bridge between success and failure, and the experience that generated that 10 activities list…
So, my goal with this blog is to provide that missing context, the bridge between what one should do and shouldn’t do, and why! One of my favorite blogs to read is Neil Patel’s QuickSprout because his posts are interesting, engaging, easy to read and he generally tells it how it is regardless of whether the info puts him up on a pedestal or down in the gutter. I’m going to give it my best shot to write in a similar fashion, just with a twist on the content. I’m going to talk from the other side of the entrepreneurial experience as someone who’s not experienced wild success… yet J
Honestly this is as much for me as it is for anyone who’s interested enough to follow along and join in on the conversation with comments. I feel like it would be so unfortunate to forget some of the fun I’ve had, what I’ve learned in life and in startups, and not be able to share that knowledge with others who can benefit from it.