When I started this blog I set out with a single goal, to become the Rick Rubin of Startups. I wrote about why and even declared it on my page to hold myself accountable. Years later I am not sure where I stand in my quest but I do know that the goal remains the same. I have had the good fortune to be counselor, coach, partner, audience to some great entrepreneurs. Founders that have consistently inspired me and always challenged me to never just phone it in.
As I close in on my 5th year in New Orleans, I took some time to look back on the some of the many startups that have been kind enough to share their journey with me. They have varied in every conceivable dimension; sector, experience, stage, and viability, just to name a few. While they are all startups and they are all founders they are also all unique.
When I first moved down here I wondered how long it would take for me integrate into the startup ecosystem. While I had over a decade of experience working with early stage companies I wasn’t from here and people “ain’t been knowing me” from high school. But the community down here welcomed me with open arms, a trait I saw repeatedly as others came to town. At the time, ground zero for the ecosystem was the IP Building. With LaunchPad, Idea Village and most importantly Capdeville under one roof, it was easy to actually see the community growing. A special thanks to Tim Williamson, Chris Shultz and James Eustis for being such great hosts during those early days.
I take coffee, drinks, walking meetings every day with founders. It is a joy to listen to stories, share experiences and solve problems. You all have taught me so much. I am very grateful to learn from, collaborate with and call you friends. So in no particular order, and in no way complete, here is a list of some of you who have made my first five years here such a joy. I look forward to the next five. To those on this list, and to other founders whose wise paths I have yet to cross, if there is ever anything I can do to make your journey better, you know how to reach me. Namaste.