I am on my way to drop off a kid at soccer and as you pulled out of the driveway, someone pulls up dropping off another kid from cross country.

I roll my window down and thank the person who brought the kid home.  Then, I say to the kid–and this is where it might get tricky:

I am going to call you in a few minutes to get your order. I am bringing Wendy’s home for dinner after I drop him off.”

Now, if you are done judging me for getting Wendy’s for dinner, read on.

I drop the kid off at soccer.  I call the other kid–just like I told him I would.

No answer.

I call the house number (maybe he didn’t know I meant I was going to call his cell phone).

No answer.

I drive a little closer to Wendy’s and call his phone again.

No answer.

I keep driving.  I call again.

No answer.

I call the house phone again.

No answer.

I drive a little more, and I can actually see Wendy’s now.

I call his cell again.

No answer.

Do I:

a) Get him something anyway and if he doesn’t like it, too damn bad?

or

b) Not get him anything and teach him that when I say “I am going to call” it means he must actually answer the phone?

I am thinking.

I call again.

No answer.

I pull in to the drive thru lane and there are about three cars in front of me.  I listen to their orders (because I love to do that and then judge them).  I move up. Now just one car in front of me.

He calls. I say hello and he says…

“Hi. Did you try to call me?”

Apparently, “I am going to call you in a few minutes” translates to “set your phone down on the kitchen table, get on your bike and ride to a neighborhood garage sale with your brothers and ride to a garage sale down the street to see if they have any junk you can buy.”

The other day, my friend CH told me a story.  We were commiserating about how we wake up in the middle of the night. My recent struggles with sleep, I believe, are related to perimenopause.  Hers, I think stress.  Except the other night…

She started the story with “the other night, I woke up and pulled back the sheets…”

“And there was blood?” I guessed.

“No,” she said.

“…It was [insert husband’s name].” she continued.   It was awful.”

“He peed the bed?!?” I asked even more interested in the story.

“No,” she said getting a little impatient with all my guessing.  “The smell, it was unbelievable.”

“He SHIT THE BED??!??!?” I screamed.

“NO!” as she looked at me like I was insane. “He farted. And it was so bad I had to go sleep on the couch.  It permeated the air–every ounce of air in our bedroom.”

“Oh.”  I was disappointed.  That was it?  A fart?  I don’t think she would survive a minute at our house.  I grew up in a potty humor house, am living in a potty humor house.  I, quite honestly and thankfully (given the makeup of my current household) think it’s funny.  Farts are funny.  Period.

Next time she comes over, hope she doesn’t sit on the couch in the family room where Jeff sits.  That my friends, defines permeation.

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Here is Jeff, trapped in the car with Andy while waiting on the boys to finish their cross country meet. A taste of his own medicine.

I love this new store.  It’s called The Refinery.  Amazing prices, awesome selection.  And they have it all.  Designer sunglasses, bags, tons of jeans, cocktail dresses, shoes, sweaters…everything!  And super unique pieces.  This is the place you go to get a new on point jacket to refresh your wardrobe.  This is the place you go to find a unique dress for a black tie event.  This is the place you go to buy jeans that are awesome and affordable!  All sizes, all styles, all seasons.  Buy stuff or sell stuff.  Either way, check it out! Locally owned and operated (by a great husband and wife team).

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We are at a cross country meet on Saturday.  Sam had to be there at 7:30AM and was running at 9:00AM.  Phillip had to be there at 9:30AM and was running at 10:30.  But to simplify life, I had Phillip go at 7:30AM with Sam.

We felt like Phillip’s race was coming up…and none of his team mates where there yet.

“Text them,”  I told him.

He did.

“They are on the way,” he reported.
Then, we found out his race was still about 45 minutes out.  I told him to text his friends back and let them know it’s not an emergency. I didn’t want to have parents in unnecessary panic.

“It is an emergency,” he said. “I am bored.”

“How is long boarding going?” I asked Sam.

“Okay. It’s just not really my long board season” he said.

“I didn’t realize there was a season for it.  So, what season is it now? Like BMX or something?” I asked.  He has been riding his BMX bike a lot lately.

“No, I am sort of in between seasons.  BMX is more like when the leaves change and the New Yorkers all come to Indiana to see the leaves.”

 

 

My startup is in the tech sector.

Tech is a man’s world.  I know it sounds trite, but it’s true.  Meetings are guys in jeans and local vintage screen tees.  Events have local beer and cheap pizza .  There is never anyone in the women’s restroom.

And, of all the creatures in the tech world, one of my least favorite is “The Exited Man.”  This means, he has had a least one successful exit–sometimes more than one, but usually it’s less than three.  Therefore, he has learned the way.  Now, this guy can be anywhere from 25 to 65, but most often is mid to late 30s.  Most often, he is “taking some time to feel out the next opportunity.”  He is usually helping [insert some other prominent young male figure in the local tech scene] “conduct some due diligence” or “shift some critical tasks off his plate.”

He appears interested.  He appears sincere.  He appears to have awareness.  And then, it starts, usually with something like:

“…what you really should be focusing on…”

or

“…the best approach is…”

and then sometimes there is

“…I am not sure who you are using for [insert legal, accounting, marketing, or any other professional service] but I would have recommended that you…”

Of course.  Of course you would recommend that.  Of course you think we should focus on whatever it is that we are currently not focusing on. Of course you would have done it different, started from a different place, talked to a different person, selected a different partner, sought input from different stakeholders than we did.

Now, it may sound like I don’t accept input and advise.  But I do.  And they are extremely important to me.  And that’s what is interesting about this when I think about it.  It’s who I accept input and advice from.  While thinking about my response to the most recent call from “The Exited Man,” all I could think about what it’s just like having kids.

It’s like telling a pregnant stranger the worst birth story you have ever heard. It’s like listening to parenting advice from someone who you don’t really connect with as a friend–a trusted advisor.

I love talking about experiences, sharing and learning–but the missing piece with the average “Exited Man” is that it often feels like it’s more about them listening to themselves talk than really wanting to shape and guide my startup experience.

I do have trusted business advisors and many of them have had successful exits.  But the discussions are different. The listen, they are contemplative, they encourage and engage in strategic thinking–not doling out advice and critical judgement of our progress so far.

One of the most important lessons that I have learned having kids–especially when they are babies–is that it is okay to do what you have to do to get through the moment.  You can undo it later, but your sanity is critical and it often depends on successfully navigating a situation with difficult choices.  My baby is sick and crying all night?  I would pull him in bed with me.  I can “undo” co-sleeping later, but for that moment, we all needed rest.

I have done the best I can at any given moment with the information presented.  “The Exited Man” believes he knows better because he can judge my previous actions already knowing the outcome.  For example, an issue over ownership structure.  He is quick to point out we did it wrong in the beginning.  But, we did it right at that moment–because we never would have seen this issue arise.  It did. We made it through it and came out the other side–all while making the best choices we could in the moment.

It’s not about “right way” or “wrong way.”  It’s all about getting through the moment, Exited Man.