The New Rules of Entrepreneurship

You don’t start a business. You get pregnant, you harbor it, you carry it around as it feeds on you, you see the inevitability of it, try to convince your partner of it, prepare yourself and the spare room for its arrival. You run the numbers and plan for new expenses, new schedules, new friends.

4 min readApr 21, 2016


A business evolves, it takes shape, it shapes you as much as you shape it. It has it’s own life, its own hopes, desires, and sometimes very different ideas than the founder originally planned.

This kind of business discovers itself, names itself, writes it’s own copy and does its own research, using an Entrepreneur the way an emotion uses a poet, the way a melody uses a singer, the way a character uses a writer. It makes its own strategies and fucks with its own logo over and over and over again, trying to get the thing feeling true to itself.

This is the kind of business that comes natural to me, the kind of business I expect, and yet, it’s an alternative way of looking at business, uncommon. “Proper” business would have us thinking first of P&L sheets, “next big things” and exit strategies. Lifeless douchebag stuff. That’s not my business.

My kind of business is utterly profitable. It smells like desire, people, hope and fear, truth, honesty, wisdom, struggle and compromise. It looks more like a Mumbai bazaar than a penthouse board room. It’s pungent and buzzy, not self important or over-civilized, and it’s deeply, profoundly humane.

This kind of business isn’t a brand to be engaged with. It’s not overly concerned with storytelling or “lovemarks” or self actualization or sustainable organic cotton or farm to table or social entrepreneurship. These are all shells, vehicles, moments of necessity and innovation for a creator; they’re only vessels, the means not the ends. Businesses I admire kill false gods.

This kind of business is about boots on the ground, a sense of place and home and “how we do it here,” and it cares a lot when its people get shit on. It honors tradition makers even as it disarms traditions. It’s moved by a threadbare longing for connection, grounded in the impulse to shout into space until the stars say something back.

This kind of business concerns itself with outcomes, experiences, process and growth. It does not hustle, it does not fight it out and it does not strain. It is not a star burning up on arrival. Many businesses start here, but my kind of business grows out of it quickly; it’s got more on its plate than “making it.” It lasts and it rests and it knows its own limits right now because it exists for its own good, intends to keep doing so for a good while.

This kind of business concerns itself with beauty. It’s more heart than art, more commerce than industry, more farm than factory, but it doesn’t think the distinctions are all that important. Because it’s busy. It sees the lack of itself in the world, it sees its desire to exist, sees the assets it adds to the lives it touches. This kind of business creates wealth that serves life; no room for riches.

I am not an artist. I am not a maker or a curator or a trend setter or an artisan. I’m a businessman — and I don’t mean that in the Jay Z lyric sense of the word. I mean it humbly and confidently and sort of matter of factly. I make things that people buy, and I didn’t sell my soul to do it. I’m still here, still in tact, still searching and creating… I didn’t have to “grow up” or “get real” or “mellow out” or “be cool” to get there.

I guess what I’m saying is: there’s businesses and business folks who care enough about life to get involved and show up in a small and meaningful way. And that’s a beautiful thing. We could all add a little more of that to our lives.

And yet I struggle to live it. I am still shortsighted and greedy. I am still too concerned about what other people think, feeling like I don’t have a seat at the table. Why, if I’m so clearly enchanted by this vision of business, is it still such a daily battle to bring a kind of holy humanity to my customers, my team and myself? Why do I let the bullshit artists and pundits get to me, letting them make me feel small and impossibly far from “real” success? I’m working on it.

This whole thing might sound like millennial bullshit to you. To be honest, it kind of sounds that way to me too. But I wrote it in peace and I mean it. As embarrassed as I am to publish it, this is how I think about business, this is how I’m building my business, this is how I want to succeed…

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance, that imitation is suicide, that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion — that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Previously co-founded things like online education startups, children. Now making videos and podcasts at