Back from my trip and ready to kick off the series of behind the scenes and commentary posts. But before we go chapter by chapter, it feels like a little more detail on the origins of the project would be appropriate.
I alluded to the “Maybe I’ll write a book” quote in the first post. Here’s the expanded version:
July 8, 2003. iNetNow, the rollercoaster of a startup that I poured my heart and soul into for 4 years finally kicked the bucket. I was told first thing in the morning the investors pulled the plug and we’d be shutting down midday.
Wow. It was over. I didn’t know what to feel. We’d had some stressful periods where we almost went out of business but always managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat. But this time I felt oddly at ease. BoRyan heard the news and swung by to talk about it. We reminded each other of the “do not resuscitate” pact we made after the last near miss, and we both knew it was time to move on. (To this day I don’t know if we really could have saved it again, and if we could have I don’t know if I regret this decision to not even try, but that’s another story…)
Before digging in to plan the shutdown, I jotted off a quick email to my buddy Jon Mack in Luxembourg who had watched the ups and downs from afar for all these years. Our thread over the next 90 minutes sealed my fate.
Me: Looks like we’re finally going down for real today…
Him: About time. What are you going to do next?
Me: Drink and complain 🙂 Seriously? Dunno. Take some time off. Maybe I’ll write a book.
Him: Come to Lux, do it here.
When I threw out the “maybe I’ll write a book” line it was completely off the cuff and mostly in jest. I loved writing, had a degree in screenwriting and it was the reason I moved to LA. But I quickly got disillusioned with the lack of control over a finished product a screenwriter has, and then my trial by fire in the startup world took hold and I just didn’t have any time to write. But now I did, so it seemed worth it to at least give it a shot. Maybe I wasn’t kidding.
The next couple days were a bender to detox from the workaholism of the previous 4 years. I was sad to see iNet go, but at the same time a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. People I used to work with commented on how I was more relaxed than they had ever seen me before.
Could I really write a book? My short attention span and penchant for procrastination and distraction might be my undoing. But my mind kept coming back to Jon’s email.
“Come to Lux, do it here.”
This just might work.
I gave him a call to check in and ask if he was serious. He said he was. His take:
“It’ll be great. You can sleep on my couch for free. You can write on my laptop during the day, and we’ll go out at night and go to other countries on the weekend. You won’t know anyone, most of the locals don’t speak English, the TV and radio are in French and German, and the internet connection is slow as shit. You’re a good writer. Do it.”
I told him I’d think about it. (Interesting aside: We recounted this tale while on the Florida trip last week, and Jon confessed that he was actually joking with the original invite to Lux much as I was with the “I’ll write a book” comment. But we both called each other’s bluff and the rest fell into place. Weird how things like that happen.)
What would I write about? The wild tale of iNetNow was the first logical choice, but I felt too close to it and wanted to distance myself. What was I passionate about? Bowling. Baseball. Time travel. Music. Hmmm…
(To be continued)