My Grandfather opened one of the first Electronic and Telephone companies in Southwestern Washington in 1908 in his hometown of Camas. The Company did phone line and equipment installation. That was the era when phones had no buttons – just a heavy earpiece, microphone and lever to tap to get an operator.
He sold the company too early.
- Why did he start an electronic and telephone company?
- What was his vision for the emerging market in transportation called cars with Ford?
- How and what did he think about emerging markets?
- How would he compare the transformational technologies of last century with today?
In some ways, I inadvertently followed in his footsteps with my first startup that was early to market, arguably before its time. We started doing software license delivery with the goal of electronic license delivery in 1999 – when people were barely able to do a software download, let alone do it for the enterprise. Today, it seems like a no brainer, but at the time it was a difficult concept for people to grasp.
My Grandfather finished his business career in his 70s, owning and managing a local neighborhood grocery store. I never had a chance to meet him; he died before I was born. I still have one of his vintage 1908 phones on my desk. It’s a great reminder of the technological changes, risks, and rewards, but mostly it’s about the men who went before me and put me on the path I’m on today.
And it makes me wonder if any of my children will follow in my footsteps – or if it will skip a generation. Somehow, all of the research and data about children of entrepreneurs becoming entrepreneurs doesn’t seem as relevant when you’re talking about your own kids. At that point, the data becomes personal. It becomes about their dreams and goals – not about stats. I’ll continue to encourage them to make a positive impact on the world their own way with their own gifts.
Happy Father’s Day!