SGN Founder's Rambling, Jetlagged, Semi-Lucid and Beautiful Email On Entrepreneurism
Monday, September 29, 2008; 2:05 PM
SGN founder Shervin Pishevar, jetlagged and sleep deprived on a "secret mision" trip to Eastern Europe, wrote a long and partially lucid email to friends last night. I reprint it here because it captures much of the entrepreneurial spirit that drives so many of the men and women who we write about.
The full email, along with a YouTube clip, are reprinted below with Pishevar's permission.
I find myself in a hotel in Eastern Europe after 3 days of red eye flights across 8 time zones on a secret mission for my start up. I have slept only 2-3 hours each day since Tuesday. It is in these sleepless hours, propelled by my inner drive to make a dent in world, where I find the solace to connect with the deepest parts my own soul. Some find that solace in yoga, exercise, religion, music. I find solace when I 'do'- when every cell in my body is telling me that I am doing something that will move my ideas from my brain into the hands of millions of people. This is when I am most alive. I feel the power that we all have inside of ourselves to bring life to the dreams we all hold in our hearts from childhood and beyond.
In the inner sanctum of my own mind, solace focuses and clarifies the stream of my ideas and thoughts. I project these thoughts on the canvas of my life where I see them like moving picture frames interwoven with all the threads of my life experience. I look up at the window of my lonely hotel room on the 11th floor, illuminated by the white glow of my Mac Powerbook- a golden apple shining in the night- and see first my own reflection, and the world looking back at me- a world in forward motion. A world evolved; of knowledge and expertise no longer bound to geography or culture. Of experience and talent unbound and accelerating forward beyond the valley of our own experience and into every corner of the world. In my combined travels as an entrepreneur, I have seen an evolution in the last 10 years that is astounding. The world is us now and it's pulling away.
A perfect storm has been brewing in my great country, America, whereby our competitive advantage- knowledge amalgamated with speedy execution propelled by an iron gut unafraid of risk- has now spread like a virus across the globe. We no longer have the monopoly on the classic American entrepreneurial spirit backed by angels and venture capital. The American Way has become the Global Way.
And yet this, I realize, at this very moment, is not a bad thing. It is a very great thing. It is the single greatest contribution we have made to the world. It now behooves us, the American entrepreneurs, to reach out to the talent that lies across the world, and embrace them. They need us as much as we need them-and it is a need that will not remain symmetric for long. They need us now but if we do not invest in building meaningful relationships and ties then they will evolve beyond us.
It is in this bridge that the future lies- it is in this future that hope lies. As much as we can teach others, we must be as open to learn from the world in return. We hacked our way into the American dream but we have not cracked the code on what that dream means in the 21st Century. This is the work of my generation. We must hack our way to a New American Dream in the 21st Century. While our financial systems lie teetering on near destruction, we realize we must build from the ground up a new system. That means our identity as a nation and culture will shift to reflect the quilted nature of a world not tethered by the traditional boundaries that kept out influences and isolated our evolution.
In the city I am in right now I was told that during the Communist regime they broadcast only 2 hours of television each day. One hour of that time was watching their 'dear' leader. There were no cartoons for children to watch. No movies to inspire. A generation was lost. I have seen the difference in the eyes of those born of that lost generation- an emptiness; a harshness; a coldness. But in the freedom generation who benefited from the fall of the Communist empire, you see a very distinct breed of American idealism, a hope for the future and the drive to get there. They haven't figured out everything but they are hacking their way into that future. We must hack along with them.
Looking back at the window across the cityscape, I see reflections of my past and present- my immigrant family, my friends, my colleagues. I miss my two children, Cyrus, 11, and Darya, 8, who are so excited about the games I am building. I just got off the phone with them and Cyrus and Darya were pitching their new ideas for games. I raised them as a single dad for 7 years. My daughter, Darya, was in a Baby Bjorn (a Godsend for me), as I wrote my business plans in my garage. My son Cyrus, would attend Board meetings, crawling between Board members legs. They both would witness brainstorming sessions as they played with Legos and watched Baby Einstein.
I remember those moments and tears come to my eyes as I remember last week when Cyrus heard that our game iGolf had become the number one app on the iPhone. He said to me," Daddy, I am proud to be your son. I am proud to have a father like you." His statement hit me like a ton of bricks. Remembering all the sacrifice and hardships, I was floored by his love. It is moments like these that we live for.
Feeling nostalgic, I logged into Facebook to see pictures of my family and friends. As I logged in, I saw in my news feed a picture of Dave McClure's son Dante dressed up as a Native American. I then went to view my albums and my kids. While viewing them I had another epiphany when I connected the dots between Facebook and a recent scene (please watch it below) from "The Wheel" episode of Mad Men. Draper is pitching a campaign for the "The Carousel", the slide show projector, to representatives from Kodak.