It is often said that as people, we are who and where we are today because of the choices we have made prior, and I believe this to hold significant merit. In my “It has been a fun 15 years” post, I shared with you many of the stops along my journey here at Microsoft, and quite often, one path was created directly from the outcome of the previous one. As it turns out, those paths became a reality based on the decisions I had made before, including the numerous “pilot projects” I took on that literally created the next opportunity. While all of these are an important part of my journey to today, when I look back on this Father’s Day, I can’t help but reflect on one critical decision that enabled all of these steps to be possible, and the decision wasn’t even mine.
Several years before I ever came to Microsoft, my wife and I made the personal decision to uproot our lives and move back to our home state to be closer to our families due to medical circumstances on my wife’s side of the family. It was absolutely the right move to make and enabled my wife to have the time she needed to have with her family and I am thankful we made that decision. This decision did come with the reality that I needed a new job though as we had moved states. (and no, that’s still not the decision I am referring to as the one I am reflecting on). The decision I am referring to, which enabled the other opportunities to become a reality was one made by my father.
While I had been working in the computer industry prior, I had become pretty good at what I did, and had recently come up with a new way to deliver the solutions (such as Microsoft products) that companies wanted in a whole new way. As we were still very early in our lives and careers, I proposed to my wife that I try starting my own company, built on the concept mentioned above, instead of just going to work for someone else. She agreed it was worth a shot. This still left the challenges of: 1) How would we afford a location to run the company from? 2) How would we secure the loans we needed? etc.
When I approached my family with this idea, my father (and my mother), who could have easily told me I was absolutely nuts for wanting to start my own computer based company as an early 20 something year-old (and he would have had a million reasons to do so), instead took a chance on me and placed his bets on me. Not only did they offer to let me run the company from their basement (which had plenty of space for me to setup the computers I needed, stock inventory, and pack and ship the products) rent free, but they also co-signed the papers we needed at the bank to get us up and running. As with any new startup, we faced many challenges along the way. Throughout it all, he continued to believe in me and bet on me.
Just a few short years later, my company had grown and expanded to the point where we moved out of my parent’s basement and into our own building space. From here, the company evolved to now offering not only the hardware and software solutions we used to, but also custom-built PCs, networking services, training, and more, which allowed us to grow to have customers spanning 25 countries. It was this success that opened the doors at Microsoft and had them wanting me to join their company to take on the partner business in our Midwest area, which began the 15 year journey I shared in my “It has been a fun 15 years” post.
So on this Father’s Day, I humbly reflect back on the decision made by my Father (and mother) to believe in and bet on me when I approached them with the crazy idea of starting my own company, just a few year after leaving college. It was this decision that enabled me to accomplish what I did, which opened the doors that it did, which allowed me to make the decisions I did, which led me to where I am today.
I know I can never say it enough, but thank you, Dad, for believing in me and giving me the chances you did throughout my life. I love you, and I truly appreciate it, and you. Happy Father’s Day to you, and to all of the Dad’s out there across the world, for believing in your children and creating the opportunities you do for us all to take on the world of today, and create the world of tomorrow for our children.
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