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Don't Laugh

I was cleaning out my center desk drawer the other day when I stumbled across some business cards bound together by a very old rubber band.

As a matter fact, when I pulled on the rubber band that was so very old and fragile, it broke and the cards fell to the desk.

I started leafing through them and grinned to myself while recognizing some of the many faces my entrepreneurship career path has taken me. I grinned the most when I got to a few business cards that were clearly cut out of printer paper with a pair of scissors from 1996 for my first company, “Aquarius Computers.”

20 years and lots of scar tissue later, those first bold steps into unchartered territory really mean a lot to me. I’m sure that people today would look at those cards and laugh at that old IBM computer and windows 95 wallpaper on the big old CRT screen.

But two things jump out at me when looking at these rookie designs. First how very inexperienced I was with design efforts. Secondly, and most importantly, the bravery with high expectations and dreams.

It’s one thing to doodle on a computer with design and make up a business card, but it’s another thing altogether to hand that card out while telling people about your services and how you’re going to help them.

As a matter of fact, at that time I was nothing more than a brash young kid about 3 years out of college with very limited experience and high hopes.

Back then I would purchase white label computers from the huge computer shows and build them to sell at a substantial mark-up to clients. This was of course before Dell came along and crushed everything in that arena.

Now at this current juncture in my career I find myself mentoring and advising other dreamers. Some with aspirations of entrepreneurship, and others not. Some may even be in different career paths entirely.

You know what I have to remind myself? That they are not at my current experience level. That I must show grace and humility, never laughing at their great ideas or mistakes that I know they will make. I must remember the patience my mentors had with me, while gently asking questions and guiding me along this eventual path.

So please remember while looking at this picture of my first business card, or hearing from that inexperienced entrepreneur about their dreams, that they too may succeed one day. You’d be well served to follow this advice: Don’t laugh!


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