I think back to the Winter of 2008-2009. SpeakerText was a few months old. I was still living in New York. The city was cold at night. It snowed like 2 feet in one day.
I remember one night in particular. I had left a small meetup organized by what was then called the Blue Venture Community (aka BVC), Columbia’s entrepreneur group. Goddamn it was cold. I was cranking Biggie on the iPod, walking down 53rd St in midtown, huddling in my wool coat. The Bloomberg sign hung in the air above. One day, I told myself, there’d be a SpeakerText sign. One day.
Well, we ain’t there yet.
But we’ve come a long way. On February 1, 2011, we got our first office (see photo above). And then, about two weeks ago, I found myself at The Rosewood, a posh restaurant on Sand Hill Road. Swanson and I were there meeting Mikael Berner, one of SpeakerText’s investors. It was a strange, fantastic feeling. I wasn’t there to beg for money; I wasn’t there as “the help,” picking someone up in the ambulance; I was there as a CEO meeting an investor––not a prospect, but an honest-to-god man that had written us a check.
For the first time in my life as an entrepreneur, I felt like I’d arrived, like I was equal and not just another outsider trying like fuck to break in. It felt awesome.
Over Christmas, I shaved my mohawk. It started off as an accident. Normally, I would cut the sides myself, then let Swanson clean up the edges. But it was December 23rd and he had already left to see family. I was about to turn 30 and fly down to LA. Over Christmas, I was expecting to see a woman that, well… let’s just say I wanted to look good for her. I wanted to cut the edges as close as possible, and ended up creating a bald spot in the back o’ the hawk. This led to me shaving my head entirely.
I ended up letting my hair grow out. I even got it cut at an actual barber.
As it turns out, I’m not an outsider anymore.
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