I was struck today with some delight at the tenacity of one of my clients. All of his personal capital is in the business. His house is at risk. He has a dynamite product just launching, with proof of concept done, a soft launch completed, and customers pending. The company is poised for the hard launch and rapid growth. He knows how to raise capital, but risk money is tight this year for companies without significant revenue in hand and profitability in sight. The team is loyal and keeps working, sometimes for stock and not cash, sometimes for cash when the bridge money comes in. And he won’t quit.
I know this is not uncommon. This profile represents a composite of many companies I know, even if they are not my clients. Every one of these companies has my compassion, especially the entrepreneurs who had no hand in our current financial crisis. Especially the ones who were building their technology before the crash, and simply continued on to this day.
So, here is what delighted me about the entrepreneurs I know. One CEO spent a day re-configuring his pitch and found a sparkling new approach to his story. Another sat down with a current investor who was out of patience and turned him into a convert who committed more capital. And another said, “This is my shot. I’m taking it no matter what. If I’m ahead of the market, I’ll wait it out somehow. But I’m not wrong – this one will fly when the wind rises.”
And then today I read this story, and my delight was complete:
Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”