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.

Launching boys and a company

Me and my (last) boy

Me and my (last) boy

It’s early Saturday morning and I’m in a deeply reflective mood.  In a few hours I get on a plane to Chicago with my youngest son and officially launch him into his college career.  Yowzers.

That’s big enough.  In fact, it is about the only thing I can see that really matters this morning.

However, I just had a really exciting honor that softens my impending empty nest dread.  Fortune magazine named me one of the ten “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs for 2013“!  It’s a stellar list and I am so honored to head to D.C. next month to the Fortune celebration/summit, which includes rubbing elbows (or at least sharing air molecules) with folks like Marissa Mayer, Warren Buffett, Chelsea Clinton, and Sara Blakely.

My son is getting great mileage out of morphing the title of my award to suit every occasion:

  • Most Annoying Woman Entrepreneur
  • Most Embarrassing Mom Entrepreneur

He keeps me humble.

Finally, this lovely piece by Kate Harrison came out in Forbes yesterday that felt very cathartic to me.  “The Grommet: A Storytelling Model Pays Off After Years of Struggle.”   My favorite quote:

We weren’t failing as a business. We had wonderful incremental traction. It wasn’t through the roof — a lot of businesses that were through the roof are dead now.

I’ve been through massive amounts of trauma, joy, and excitement in the last few years.  These emotions apply to launching a business, and to launching three boys. It’s a big week for me.

And did I mention I just got back from a pretty amazing trip to Japan?  And that this week I got attacked by some virus that makes me look like a leper?  Oy vey.  My plague has nothing to do with Japan…the four docs in the Boston ER thought it was a cold virus gone bad.  I’m on the mend thanks to steroids, which make me feel like I am on speed.  I kinda like it.

10 Responses to “Launching boys and a company”

  1. Kathleen

    Thanks for sharing that cute picture. But I think we need to add Most Beautiful Woman Entrepreneur to the list.

    Oh, I know that rush of energy from steroids. No job seems to big – it almost makes the unsightly, itchy, oozing rash of poison ivy tolerable.

    Looking forward to seeng the results of your Japanese adventure. Hope you have time to post more information about trip.

    • julespieri

      Kathleen, You flatter me. If I ever aspired to great beauty I would definitely not start a company–it would challenge a supermodel’s ability to keep looking presentable.

      Glad it is not just me on steroids. Geez Oh Pete. The first night I got up at 2AM, cleaned the house, did a bunch of work, got to the office at 6 and finished up at 10 PM with zero fatigue.

      Working on a Japanese post on this upcoming flight. Or at least I plan to.

  2. Caroline

    You’re incredible, Jules. Congratulations again on being named Fortune magazine’s one of 10 “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs for 2013.” Amy and I were ecstatic when we received the news.

    I just read through your “True tales from our 2012 tour of duty” post and wow. I knew that 2012 was quite a bit of a roller-coaster, but to read the details is awe-inspiring.

    Hope you have a great time in Chicago and the team will see you when you’re back!

    • julespieri

      Yes that 2012 post and tough existnece is still pretty real to me. (Honestly 2011 was even harder for me, but I couldn’t bear to write about that.) I’m actively working through my PTSD. 🙂 But the good news like this award, and our serious business progress (950% growth in August YOY!) and adding great team members like you make me cotton up to our happy new reality, step by step. I’m not totally there yet, and I hope I always stay very hungry. It’s important.

  3. Jane


    I love that you opened this piece with news of Carl (which as a mother is the best story of any to tell) despite the fact that professionally, your own story is sensational and something your family must be so proud of. And I do love that you remain as down to earth as ever as you share news of your new-found love of steroids. 🙂


    • julespieri

      Jane, I have to admit my brain is pretty much crammed with Carl today, as we take him to his new dorm in less than two hours. The timing of these steroids is pretty awesome…I feel like I could move in his whole hall, single-handedly.


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