As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

There is no glamour in founding a company

Daily Grommet made the final cut for an upcoming “All Things Media” venture capital forum in NY. Happy days. I had to go to a preparatory event in Manhattan this week. From the outside, that probably sound like a fairly glamorous endeavor…it did include things like rubbing elbows with big name investors at a chi-chi dinner. The event was even hosted at the high-style Martha Stewart Omnimedia HQ, featuring fancy drinks on the rooftop, unbelieveable food (natch–Martha’s Food Editor was in the room)-and a candlelit loft-like dining space full of fresh flowers and high-powered company founders.

But here, my friends, is the reality of a startup budget. I borrowed a friend’s frequent flier miles to get there, didn’t eat any food that wasn’t free, and slept in the same bed with another CEO who got selected for the event. Really. She and I had planned to share a hotel room to save money, but she did us one better and landed one night’s free access to a mid-town apartment. “The crazy Russian owner” (my new bed-mate’s description) was kind enough to cede the master bed. Thus, the pajama party.

I told Joanne this story and she had an even better one. In her early career days in merchandising at Stride Rite, her constant travel to Asia made her the perfect candidate to shuttle the new company president on his first trip to Korea. All was well until they found there was only a single room left in Chosun Beach Westin Hotel. So baby career girl Joanne found herself “shacking up” with the big cheese. (Separate beds and he graciously stayed out of the room until Joanne was presumably asleep. Alas, his late-night Felix Unger shoe polishing routine became company lore. ) Totally innocent, but boy, that tops my own sleepover tale. Makes travelling for a start-up look almost civilized.

9 Responses to “There is no glamour in founding a company”

  1. Geraldine Laybourne just made my day « Jules Pieri

    […] bus ride (including a long unscheduled stop for an accident and flat tire–another chapter in the unglamorous life of a hungry and thirsty–I mean literally and figuratively–startup f…).   I have no idea when this terrible vehicle will get me home, but I am riding on air. Possibly […]


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