Chronicles of a Reluctant Entrepreneur and a Reticent e-Author (Part 1)

John in Pie's new office

John Barnhill in Pie's new office

Let’s start with the reluctant entrepreneur. In 2002 I was traveling in Europe and stopped to visit an acquaintance, John Barnhill, who had sold his company Silicon Reef to a Belgian firm and had moved to Paris to run the new company’s global business development efforts. I didn’t know John well and was just stopping by for a quick drink. During our imbibing, John asked what I thought of a business idea he had to simplify home networking. I agreed that it was a great concept, but when he asked if I wanted to help him turn this idea into a company, I told him, “No way.” I had recently spent a year on a dotcom roller coaster and realized that I was not an entrepreneur because of my extreme aversion to:

  1. Risk
  2. Uncertainty
  3. Dependence

Besides I was winding up a mid-life crisis forced upon me by the tumultuous end of the aforementioned dotcom experience and my life partner of eleven years leaving me for greener pastures—i.e. I was desperate for stability.

A few months later, after John’s repeated inquiries, I agreed to help him write the business plan (I realize now that this is basically equivalent to an alcoholic’s refusing to drink and then agreeing to one tiny sip). It was not too long afterward that I slid down the slippery slope with John—pulling a third acquaintance, Jeff Hansen, along with us—and founding Pie Digital, Inc. When Pie soon began consuming 100% of my professional time, I still rationalized it as a side project, and whenever people labeled this endeavor entrepreneurial, I replied that I was NOT an entrepreneur but rather helping an entrepreneur get his company off the ground.

Now six years and four no-doc home equity lines later, friends laugh when I insist that I’m not a gambler. But I remain adamant in my denial, because though entrepreneurialism has the gambling-like risk, uncertainty and dependence; it is born from a different desire: creation. Subsequent blogs will chronicle the trials, tribulations and lessons of the six years from Pie’s ideation to Series A, and if you continue to follow my blog over time, you will get a blow by blow of Series A to …


2 thoughts on “Chronicles of a Reluctant Entrepreneur and a Reticent e-Author (Part 1)

  1. I would also argue that your unerring commitment to your creative writing pursuits is an example of your embracing risk, uncertainty, and even dependence. Thanks for taking a chance, Drew, again and again!

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