Thankful for in 2014

In no particular order:

  • Getting to travel with my family to Scotland, Tunisia, and Barcelona this year.
  • While watching Floyd (my black Lab) die of lung cancer was brutally hard. I learned a lot about how to live.
  • For having the best business partner in the world.
  • Seeing amazing live music.
  • The seacoast of NH has been a great place to move to and feels like home.
  • The encouragement, laughter, and support of my very funny friends spread over the globe.
  • That I can walk to the following great places to eat: Lafesta, 7th Settlement, Sonny’s
  • I get to build/work with smart, creative, amazing people everyday.
  • I smell the ocean regularly and get to go play at places like Goose Rocks Beach
  • Boston Logan Airport & Uber drivers make travel so much easier

Building Culture and How We Work @ Indri

Building a new company culture is hard and it is even harder when your team is spread out over four states and two countries. I was asked an important question about how we communicate our culture to new team members. I put this together over an hour back in June and we now use it with each new Indri team member to explain how we work at Indri.co. It is a work in progress and highly influenced by Netflix but as we are growing the team weekly it seemed like it was time to share.

It happened, again…I’m 41

It happened, again. Against all better planning another year has passed and last month I got irrevocably older. My 40th was a blast for a long list of reasons but mostly spending time with people I like/love/admire. But 41 is weighing on me. Mostly because Quicken keeps telling me that I should plan on living till 82 which means I’m at the midway point on the journey.

In general I’m not a big fan of celebrating my birthday. Never have been. I don’t like the fuss. The best birthday wish I got this year was from an old co-worker: Happy Birthday (EOM), you have to love programmers. They are efficient.

To keep this wandering mind on track, I make lists. I have one called Life. It’s been pretty much unchanged for years but I’ll occasionally tinker with a line or two. Its inspired by Robert Fulghum whom I stumbled upon in College and has graced the bookshelf since. There are many days I fall short but this list is one of my favorite possessions as it helps remind me of the choices that only I can make each day.

 

Photo Credit: Trey Radcliff, Road to Aoriki

Since we are at the mathematical halfway point it is time to share it with you..

  1. Live Well
  2. Make a dent in the universe
  3. Build great companies
  4. See the World
  5. Listen better
  6. Write More
  7. Run More
  8. Book a week – 52
  9. Meet my partner
  10. Give more than you get
  11. 6 weeks of vacation

Now comes the hard part. It has been a wonderful adventure to this point but our time together is finite. So, stop by and have a beer on the porch here in Dover, NH. Come join us for the next travel adventure. Send me a link to that great book you just read. Or shush me when I talk over you and hold up five fingers. But most of all lets take the long way home so we can spend a little more time on the journey rather than the destination. There are many adventures to be had together and our time is what we make it.

The yardstick for Building Small

I’m a builder. Teams. Companies. Products. It is what gets me out of bed everyday with a smile on my face. But the road is filled with people who have a thousand reasons of why you can’t do “x” which is why we entrepreneurs tend to congregate with each other.

Of late I’m worried about builders in a culture that cherishes the success of the billion dollar sale or better now know as the “Unicorn Club“. The odds of becoming a billion dollar exit in internet related companies is 1 in 1,538 so you have better odds at playing in the NHL or making the NBA from college then building a Unicorn. This leads us down a path of raising large sums of cash from VC’s who need ever bigger exits to make the numbers work. I’ve had an uncomfortable number of recent conversations with fellow entrepreneurs who are going to easily raise $2-$10+ Million on the back of their highly unprofitable but very cool company. Which they hope to raise into a Unicorn or maybe a Pony Unicorn.

I live in an old mill town of 30,022 people that has plenty of office space and is needing 150 more builder/entrepreneurs to come build the next $15 Million dollar company. Bootstrapped, local, unsexy, but inherently worth getting out of bed for.  Maybe I’m jaded being on startup #8. One spectacular failure, one humbling failure, two going concerns, and four exits. Two above $200 Million.  At best I’ve batted .500. What if the yardstick was jobs created? Or references given? Or kids in fully paid daycare? Or the number of employees that make it to retirement?

At 41 these are the questions that I wrestle with. If you are a fellow or aspiring builder send me your yardstick as I’m busy wrestling with mine.

Lessons from the Dog

I had to put Floyd the newest member of the Newcomb family down this week. Floyd joined us from Quebec last fall and was a black lab with a ton of personality and spirit.

So, while he was only with us a short seven months I learned a lot:

  • Play hard even when your lungs are filled with cancer as there is always time for a nap after
  • You are never too sick to make new friends
  • Positive attitude goes a long way towards one’s quality of life
  • There is always time for belly rubs and nuzzles
  • Your friends will show up to walk around the block with you even on bitterly cold New England days
  • Life is better when you get dirty
  • Love is unconditional