The year was 2014 and an outbreak of entrepreneurial fever swept through the nation. Jeff Bezo’s bookstore began clear-cutting vast swaths of the Amazonian rainforest in the effort to manufacture a staggering number of cardboard boxes. Razors began showing up in my mailbox each and every month.
It all seemed a little weird, but my face was nicely shaven. And anyways, I wasn’t pondering global ramifications. I was reading the Steve Jobs biography. Never has a book captured my imagination in such a visceral way. The idea of starting a business in a garage that could change the world was the coolest thing I’d ever heard.
Becoming an entrepreneur seemed to be the ultimate manifestation of one’s potential. The burning desire to disrupt the global techno-economic landscape welled up from somewhere deep in my soul. I needed to found a startup company, immediately.
So, alongside a legion of our nation’s boldest dorks, I set off for Silicon Valley on a quest to gentrify the planet into Nirvana. We stood for innovation. We worshipped disruption. And we called ourselves entrepreneurs.
Steve Jobs was our messiah. We wouldn’t sleep until our turtle-necked portraits also lived on the cover of a best selling autobiography. It wasn’t about getting rich, it was about self-realization. Certainly that couldn’t happen without a business card reading: CEO.
I was so sure that I had found my path. I felt it in my bones.
Only years later, when my dreams of attaining entrepreneurial enlightenment failed to materialize, did I begin to reflect on all of this and start to realize that I was pretty delusional, and also that Steve Jobs was kind of a dick. Somehow I had just skimmed right over that section of the book.
I was so mesmerized by the ding Steve had created in the universe that I was blind to some stark realities, like how he ruled over his technological empire like a tyrant king and then quite literally worked himself to death.
But this isn’t really about Steve Jobs. He’s an inspiring guy who I respect very much. No, this is about how the timeless the lure of riches and fame, under a modern guise of self expression had put me on the accelerated path to dick-hood. It was astounding reality to confront indeed.
You know, the entrepreneurial path may be the road for some, but I suspect it’s a siren song for many. In my case, it certainly was.