Brad Feld wrote a post yesterday that really hit home: Feld Thoughts: A Message to Graduating MBAs. My career has been conventional and unconventional with the goal of always remaining relevant. For a long time this was implementing CRM systems. First Siebel then Motive. I worked my tail off with the result being some impressive implementations at some very notable clients. That even led to be branching out solo twice. The second time around sailing solo, the boat capsized. Unlike other downturns, I did not navigate this one well. I spent a lot of time and energy pursing opportunities that were not a good fit. My dad who was a software entrepreneur consistently said during my childhood that you cannot know good times unless you know bad. Bad found me big time in 2008. On many levels, I thought I had failed as a provider, husband and father.
About a decade earlier, I made the decision to not pursue an MBA. The opportunity cost was too high. Salary and position were comparable to graduating MBAs. Though it had been a goal since the age of 17, it did not make economic sense. I have been fortunate to have an amazing partner and friend in my beautiful wife Andrea. She suggested that may I think about going back to get that MBA. Being settled in making Seattle our home, the Foster School of Business at UW made the most sense. I am glad that I went back. First, it rejuvenated the intellectual passion that had faded over the last few years. Second, it fills any resume gaps that remained. Third, the environment has been incredible for networking locally. But best of all, it provided a space for me to get back to being me.
Brad speaking at UW.
Brad’s post is not Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement speech, but his point is clear. Go making meaning. Do what you are meant to do. If it was written 20 years ago it would have been titled Carpe Diem. I will be finished in December and working to being my best again. Just a warning: Watch out.