I’ve had the good fortune to have some time on my hands of late. And like the child of two psychiatrists should, and is uncontrollably compelled to do, I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting on my experience. AddThis (formerly Clearspring) was not only my first start-up, but was also my first job.
It’s been an incredible journey. Since getting funded in 2006, we’ve raised nearly $70 million dollars. With that funding we’ve built the largest social sharing and targeting platform used by 14 million web sites reaching 1.3 billion unique users, seen our revenue grow into the millions, and – most importantly – built an amazing team of 100 people across the country. So, it’s probably worth some cycles processing the experience. I’ll be writing a couple of posts this summer related to this topic, but I think it’s best to start with a bit of humility.
I’m blessed. All entrepreneurs, no matter how successful, are also blessed. Building a company is a unique experience – a gift. It shows us the potential of our world and our ability to transform that potential into something great if we simply have the courage to take a shot. For this, I’m truly thankful. Sometimes I think we all get so caught up in the outcome, or competition, that we forget the inherent reward earned while undertaking the spiritual quest of entrepreneurship.
With that in mind, I thought it’d be appropriate to start with the 20 things I’m most thankful for as an entrepreneur. This was a bit tough, but think I hit the 80/20.
- A chance to make a dent in the universe
- Family that believed
- Friends that cared
- Customers who’d try
- Team that would go the extra mile
- Investors that made a bet (and then another)
- Mentors that provided flashlights
- An education of extremes
- Feeling the value of cash
- Building the courage to ask for the sale
- Learning humility from my (many) failures
- Gaining confidence from my (few) successes
- Understanding my limitations
- Learning to trust in others
- Finding out that anything’s possible
- Appreciating the mess
- Developing the skills to build something from nothing
- Learning that when in doubt, move.
- Realizing I can do better
- Having the health to take another shot