Some of the best and most wonderful personal relationships I have are either because of Speakeasy or enhanced by it. I learned that you can work with your lovers and best friends and survive. I saw family and married people working side-by-side and had a model for a company as a real family that not a lot of people have the chance to experience. There’s not a single Speakeasy alum I wouldn’t throw down for in a heartbeat if they needed it, even if I haven’t heard from them in the past 10 years.
Every good thing about my professional life began with that place. Mike gave me an insane amount of freedom and trust to explore and create and just do things. He never questioned if I could actually manage or lead or code or design, he just assumed I could and let me try. Working in that place where everyone was smart and had good intentions at such a young age made me believe the best of people. When I talk to the CEO of the ridiculously large company I work for now, without hesitation or pause, that’s because of Speakeasy. When someone complains about a problem and how they don’t have the resources to fix it, but all I see are the 12 ways we could hack a solution together and have fun doing it, that’s because of Speakeasy. When I hear people wax philosophic about ‘customer first,’ I know the bar is really high for that because at Speakeasy we actually meant it.
I often think about starting a company and I know that I could do it because a tiny job I took on at 18 turned into this amazing, life-changing experience that showed me that I could do it. A lot of these Silicon Valley ‘entrepreneurs’ have no idea what they missed. No idea at all.