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Three Events In DC June 16-17, 2011

I'll be in DC for three events on June 16 and June 17.  If you'd like to meet up, drop me a comment below!

1:25 - The Realities of Funding - David Steinberg, Jill Stelfox, Daniel Odio, Christopher M. Schroeder, Bobby Ocampo, John May

"What are you doing to stay up with the rapidly changing world of media?

Welcome to the Disruptathon Media Event where we've done the hard work for you. After a national search of more than 100 companies and a competitive down select process, our team of media industry judges have narrowed the field down to 8 businesses the media industry should know about."

Event is at the Gannett building in McLean, VA.

I'll be in DC for three events on June 16 and June 17.  If you'd like to meet up, drop me a comment below! I'll be on a panel called The Realities of Funding at 1:25pm on Thursday June 16th.  Here are details: 1:25 - The Realities of Funding - David Steinberg, Jill Stelfox, Daniel Odio, Christopher M. Schroeder, Bobby Ocampo, John May Socialize was selected as one of eight finalists to present at the Disruptathon - Media event.  Here's more about the event, Thursday evening, June 16th:   "What are you doing to stay up with the rapidly changing world of media? Welcome to the Disruptathon Media Event where we've done the hard work for you. After a national search of more than 100 companies and a competitive down select process, our team of media industry judges have narrowed the field down to 8 businesses the media industry should know about." Event is at the Gannett building in McLean, VA. I'll be moderating a panel at this year's Digital Media Conference at 11:40am on Friday June 17th:   PANEL: Media on the iPad and Tablets (Digital Media and Mobile Tracks)  Panelists Matt Jones, VP Mobile Strategy & Operations, Gannett Rob Pegoraro, Tech Writer/ Former Washington Post Tech Columnist David Katz, Executive Director, Digital Media, Starz Media Martin Ringlein, Co-founder & Senior Consultant, nclud Jeff Tennery, SVP, Publisher Services, Millennial Media Mario Armstrong, Tech Commentator Moderator: Daniel Odio, CEO & Co-founder, Socialize Inc.

Life Benefits of Employing the Self Discipline of a Buddhist Monk

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

As an entrepreneur for the past 12 years, I haven't collected a paycheck from any employer other than a company I own.  In theory this sounds great, but there are few things in life that apply more pressure than being responsible for not only your paycheck, but the paychecks of employees.  Most of these companies have done well, but some haven't.  It's also quite taboo to talk openly about the emotional and mental stress that startups create, but privately almost every CEO I've spent time with has shared similar feelings with me.  When Sebastian and I discussed posting on each other's blogs, I figured this was a great opportunity to open up about what it's like to be the CEO of a technology startup along with several previous companies, and specifically to discuss the self discipline that's required to successfully navigate the stresses of startups, because these same lessons apply in anyone's daily life.  As you can tell by the title, I liken it to having the self discipline of a Buddhist monk.

But first, some background:  When I was 22, I graduated from college with an offer from General Electric to work in their Technical Leadership Program.  It was a sweet offer -- a fast-track to management role where a select set of college graduates were rotated through various parts of the company.  It gave me the opportunity to work in Latin America.  I was sent to GE's Crotonville leadership campus, where I'd see Jack Welch, GE's CEO at the time, fly in and out on his helicopter, and senior GE executives would train us in leadership seminars.  It was like being a golden child, a chosen one.  We knew that we were being groomed to be the next generation of leaders at GE, and GE did everything it could to foster that confidence in us.  

This leadership program was just two years long.  It was going very well, but something was nagging at me:  Growing up, I had to be very entrepreneurial out of necessity.  I had to pay for college myself. I'd always been very independent and self sufficient.  Suddenly, I was part of a huge machine.  Although I was being treated very well, I felt that I wasn't being true to myself and my entrepreneurial spirit.  I knew that I could do more, and that if I didn't quit then, I would get sucked into the trappings of corporate life.  So I quit GE six months before I was supposed to graduate from the leadership program.  It was 1999 and the tech bubble was going in full swing.  I felt that staying even six more months would be too long.

Going from GE's leadership program to a startup company is a bit like going from the comfy cigar chair at country club to washing dishes in the back.  It's a jarring experience, but one that I was thirsty for.  I soaked it up, and quickly learned my first lesson in startups:  If you're not really, really passionate about what you're doing, then don't do it.  Although being an entrepreneur is romanticized in popular culture, the road is so long, and the pain is so great, that unless you're really passionate about it, you'll be crushed by the pressure.

Passion for what you're doing in life applies beyond startups.  It's easy for any of us to become trapped in the constructs we create.  We feel like we have responsibilities to those around us to be risk averse.  Maybe you have a mortgage.  Or kids in school.  Or a spouse depending on your income.  But I'm here to tell you that you are not trapped by your environment.  You are never a victim of your circumstances, and you have not only a right, but a responsibility to live your life in a way that inspires passion inside of you.  Those around you will benefit far more from that passion than from your fear of pursuing it, and they will be inspired themselves to seek out the things that they are passionate about.  You only live once.  No, seriously, you only live once.  If you're not doing something today that you're passionate about, then quit.  Take that scary plunge into the unknown.  You will be so happy that you did.  It won't be easy at first, but it well be better immediately.  

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