I'm the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch undiscovered consumer products. It's also the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. I write about design, cultural anthropology, and start-ups, mostly.

Maybe I am a loser, but I still feel lucky

new-yearSo it’s after 5:00 PM on New Year’s Eve and I am still in the office. I am reflecting on the closing year…one in which we launched a business during the worst economic crisis since the Depression.  I think that might put me in borderline-loser territory, at least on the work front. But I don’t feel like a loser because I feel very lucky in my work. Here’s why:

  • Optimism. Living the the US, even in this scary economic crunch, I know we will get through it. This country is amazingly resilient. I am counting on it. American optimism is the single biggest thing I have missed in my couple of stints living overseas. It should be bottled. In fact, when I lived in Ireland one lady told me, “You know what’s wrong with you Americans? No matter what the size of a problem, you think you can fix it.” At the time, I kind of looked blankly at her and thought, “Yeah. So what’s wrong with that?”
  • Tough times make tough businesses. My partner Deb started her previous successful business in a bad recession. She says, “Statistically, more winning businesses get started in a downturn because you have to really really make it work. Your business won’t be artificially propped up.” So, yes we are turning lemons into lemonade, but I do see far less potential competition being created and we have a head start on our own opportunity. And excellent resources (from people to services to office space) are more abundant and affordable today than a year ago.
  • People. I look forward to seeing this Daily Grommet team every day. They make it OK to be in the office on New Year’s Eve. (OK, not ALL evening, but for the day at least.)
  • Fund raising. Our biggest task next quarter is to raise some money to take Grommet to profitability. I have moments of real dread about this. I would be brain dead or simply clueless if I did not. Fund raising is not on many people’s list of “can’t-wait” activities. But one investor told me that they are seeing better deals than ever (not just on the valuation side, but the solidity of the businesses) because the faint-hearted just don’t apply. I can’t predict the reception for our company on the investor side, but I know we have the resilience and drive to give it our all. No one will call us faint-hearted.

So, I am going to cut out now and get ready to bang some pots with wooden spoons and other scintillating activities. Happy New Year to all!

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