When climbing Mt. Everest climbers commonly progress up the mountain gradually. They hike to a camp over the course of six days and stay there for almost two weeks to get acclimated to the altitude. They then progress up the mountain, go back down, then back up much further and continue the process until until reaching the top.
Life reminds me a lot of this, but without the sever danger or the sherpas. I feel like I’ve spent the last 30 years just getting situated with my environment. Surrounding myself with particular friends and making decisions based off my gut or what I feel is right.
The most important thing I’ve discovered is that you make a lot of decisions in life that dictate future outcomes. Most of the time you don’t realize that though. I’ll name my three most interesting ones below.
1. Working at Yardbarker
I had spent four years at eBay doing merchandising, loved thinking about products, but never had the guts to take the leap and do it. Pete Vlastelica took a chance on me and though I brought a lot to the table, I had plenty of learning to do. think both parties could agree the results were very positive. As a byproduct I moved to San Francisco from Santa Clara and met my current girlfriend of four years when buying my Condo. Winning.
2. Asking Ron Johnson for a raise
Ron Johnson is the former head of Apple Retail, now CEO of JCPenney. I was an intern at Apple in the summer of 2003 and I felt I was underpaid compared to others. At the time I was deathly afraid of confrontation, but I imagined myself working at Apple awhile and felt it was worth bringing up. I scheduled coffee with him, picked his brain about a few things and point blank asked him if I could get a raise. It worked! Within a week I was rollin in the dough…or an extra couple bucks an hour. My memory is a bit rusty. Sadly this story came up at an interview a few years later at Apple and it contributed to me not getting a particular role there. At the time I was crushed, but now looking back I would’ve become a lifer at Apple and probably wouldn’t have taken many chances.
3. Bert Toledo
As mentioned in #1 above I met Bert in 2008, but what’s really interesting is in 2010 I convinced her to leave her job of many years to become a real estate agent. She quickly realized it wasn’t for her, but along the way she and I discovered a big problems existed in the industry and now we’ve built a company trying to solve these problems.
Bonus: Buying Abby MacMullan a drink
When I was single I would frequent bars with my buddy Shaun. I think it was January of 2005, because we’d spent late nights playing World of Warcraft leveling up to the all mighty lvl 60. We took a break from WOW to go to the Red Room in downtown Santa Cruz and a blonde woman walked into the bar with her sister. Shaun’s eyes lit up. Instead of letting Shaun sit jaw dropped about how pretty she was I walked up to the bartender, ordered her a drink and told her it was from the guy in striped shirt. That guy was Shaun, the shirt was mine funny enough. Years later they were married.
I feel pretty comfortable with being 30. My knees hurt when it gets cold. People used to tell me I look like Mark Wahlberg….just recently someone said I look like Donny. Regardless the climb and the decisions you make keep things interesting.