In case you missed the news yesterday, I decided against moving forward with Jeff Pulver on Abbey Corps. A lot of people have been pressing me to give them some information as to why. I have decided not to get in to it here publicly on my blog, but I do wish Jeff best of luck with his future endeavors.
I would like to take a moment to make an important point on something that I have learned this year about business. The other day I was at a conference and someone who is tied in with the venture capital world was ragging on Mark Zuckerberg for not taking the billion dollar offer for Facebook. This person stood up and beat down Mark and the mission of Facebook in a very “disrespectful” way. I saw it more as a fallacious rant of trivial diversion but I say disrespectful because this is the word that many of the speakers and VCs used throughout the rest of the conference when referring back to the incident.
This person just couldn’t understand why anyone without a strange psychological problem could turn down a billion dollars for a company like Facebook. This was really the low-point of the day for me because it illuminated the concern that I’ve always had with regards to companies that become bigger and more powerful than the humans behind them. Isn’t this why our environment is being destroyed? Is it not because the economic power of companies like Exxon fight for selfish, sustaining interests that ultimately supersede the concern of the many?
People need to realize that there are other people who create business and activity on a large scale for other kinds of concerns – like life, for instance; Not everything is for sale or about money.
Just before I had the idea for Rocketboom, I was in a state of nearly permeant sadness – a somewhat catatonic state of depression. Combined with existential doom, I had somewhat consciously given up on my artistic dreams. I was facing the reality that there were not enough people interested in my music to ever make a living from it. I had settled for teaching which I enjoyed but something I would of rather done when I was older and wiser. I was fulfilled with the activity I did, but the lack of affirmation from the rest of the word was missing for me.
Now, I feel so lucky to have created an activity that I am even more fulfilled by, in part due to the affirmation from so many others. Everyday is a grand new adventure for me now and my dreams and aspirations could easily take me through the rest of my life, ten times over without ever getting old or stale. There are so many places to go from here, my foundation, I just cant ever imagine being without it. Im not here to leverage Rocketboom for my own career, Im not doing this because I want to make money or make money for someone else. Im here doing this because its compelling to me, it makes me feel good, I get self-fulfillment from it, others respond positively to it, and because I have a desire to use the voice for positive change. Not only is my affinity for Rocketboom important to me, its important to the future well being of my life and sense of value and self-worth. Rocketboom lifted me out of the absurd and in a way, however sad this may sound to you, has saved my life.
Another way of trying to understand this is through the thinking of an art collector or a football card collector. I sold all my football cards once I got older and needed the money and because I didn’t care about them anymore. But there was one card I kept: My Fran Tarkington rookie year card. I had traded for the card with one of my best friends growing up, Wes Berggren, who killed himself by drugs at a very early age. Not only was the card from Wes the prize possession of my collection in street value, it continues to hold the utmost sentimental value, a kind of a value that is very different than money itself. I just could never sell the card for any amount of money for this reason alone.