Monday, February 21, 2011

It all started with a Sprite (Happy Anniversary)

Three years ago, Presidents Day was the eve of what (besides being a mom) has been the greatest adventure of my life: starting Tandem Learning.

I didn't know how starting a company would change my life in so many ways. I didn't know how it would challenge me, sadden me, inspire me, stress me out and make me feel more alive than I could have ever imagined. I didn't know how it would affect everyone around me. I didn't know that it would change the way I saw the world and saw myself.

Becoming an entrepreneur is very much like becoming a parent. You know your life is going to change, you just can't imagine how, and no one can prepare you for it.

One thing I didn't anticipate at all 3 years ago was finding the resilient partnership and friendship with my business partner, Jedd Gold.

Jedd wasn't part of Tandem from the beginning; I met him a couple months later at the same conference where I first "discovered" virtual worlds. I had flown to New York City from Orlando, where I had just attended a large client event. There had been several days in a row of going out drinking, and having flown into NYC by myself, knowing no one at the conference, and being able to count the number of female attendees on one hand...I decided that it was going to be a dry conference for me. After the first day of the conference, one of the virtual world development companies was hosting a kegger. (Yes, a kegger on the Expo floor. I know.) I didn't know anyone but I wasn't particularly eager to go spend the whole evening in my shoebox of a hotel room, so I hung around, looking for something non-alcoholic to drink. I asked the bartender (or more appropriately, The Kegkeeper). There was no water. There was no soda. There were a lot of guys in their early 20s drinking beer out of plastic cups.

One of the other women at the conference spotted me and came over to introduce herself. We were lamenting the lack of options of beverages when a guy came up to me, having clearly overheard our conversation. He said, I'll get you a Sprite. I replied, sorry, I already asked the bartender...there's nothing but beer, but thanks for the offer.

He said, I'll be back with a Sprite.

I don't know how Jedd did it...we watched him approach The Kegkeeper and a few minutes later he returned with two cans of Sprite and two plastic cups with ice. I was impressed (I now know that this isn't unusual for Jedd...he has a knack for making things magically happen). We exchanged business cards and made plans to talk after the conference about how our companies might leverage each others' services.

I'll admit, after the conference I blew Jedd off for awhile, somewhat for good reason (my emergency appendectomy) and in some part because I thought that he was just another guy looking to pick up development work for the company he was working for. Finally, we overcame our time zone issues, health issues and scheduling issues...and after a conversation that would change both of our lives, I realized that I had found the business Yin to my Yang...and here we are, three years later.

I've been fortunate to be able to work with some of my favorite people in the world over the last three years and we've traveled an interesting path. But today, I want to thank Jedd for being my rock, my biggest fan, my conscious, my editor, my manager, my critic, my friend...for not freaking out at the same time I do and for always keeping things in perspective. We have miles left to go, and I'm happy to be traveling them with you. Thank you for the Sprite. 

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