Monthly Archives: May 2008

“Uncle”

Ever since 1991 I have dreamed of running a software company. You know the drill. Couple of folks working insane hours in a no-rules, no-stupidity environment to deliver an insanely great product that will be the talk of the industry. And for me the point of doing it was to just to just do it, not to focus on the big IPO or buyout for untold riches. No, it was my dream simply because it sounded like a load of fun.

Over the past 17 years I have written up a dozen or so business plans, forecasted businesses over four year horizons, developed pitch decks and tried to excite investors or partners. There was the electronic calendar to-do list manager in 1991 all the way through the relevant news readers in 2006. Along the way there was a Bluetooth switch product, a mobloging product, and a precursor to the SurfWatch products today that ensure a safe online experience. Even over the past two years I’ve shared and heard some great ideas that I have yet to go to the effort for the eventual disappointment of developing a business plan that no one found of interest.

But this past weekend I decided that’s it, I give up. Uncle. It is not suppose to be and me fighting it only makes me miserable while facing tremendous life opportunity costs. I’ll never say never, but I’m not going to actively pursue this dream any longer. I’m going to follow that road that unfolds before me. This was the epiphany I had over the weekend that has led me to this decision.

In 1997 I temporarily abandoned this idea of running a software company and just followed the river downstream. What happened? I got a great job that landed me in California. That one led to an even better job in Geneva that despite a shortened stay led to an even better job working on Bluetooth at Intel. That one ultimately worked it’s way into the most enjoyable job I’ve ever had, running the Bluetooth SIG. And then I got the itch to start a software company. I won’t go into the details but I made decisions to help me back onto that path and now I can see how it failed spectacularly.

When I was letting the plan unfold before me I was following my life path. When I tried to make it go the direction I wanted it didn’t work out. When I wasn’t pursuing my dream to run a software company I learned I was a great pragmatic strategist who could develop innovative plans that moved markets. When I wasn’t pursing my dream to run a software company I learned I was an incredible evangelist for new ideas who could easily hold his own with the toughest of analysts, customers or editors. When I didn’t pursue my outdated dream I came into my own and found respect, empathy for others and greatness. This is why I must abandon my dream of running a software company; it withholds me from my path.

So watch out, I’ve given up my dream. Who knows what might happen next.