So I've been working my tail off now for 40+ years first in real estate sales & appraisals then the musical business, the wine industry and the last 10 years as a startup advisor, mentor and angel investor. I have been blessed most of my professional career by being my own boss with the exception of a two year stint at Citibank in the late 80's and I have to say that while we still always answer to somebody (clients, bankers, government) it has been a career path of my own choosing and direction most of the time. I've also been single the last 30 years of my 40 year career which gave me even more autonomy so both my personal and professional lives for the past 30 years I've only had myself to answer to and while being "a lone" CEO and living "alone" in the single life at the same time has, over time, become a very rare and precious amount of control in my life that most don't have. My son is now grown and raising his own family and my Dad whom I cared for his last 9 years following a stoke has been gone 5 years now and my sister has got our Mom back east so I'm free as a bird to be able to do what I want, when I want, where I want. Economic conditions such as they have been this past 8 to 10 years plus the Eastman Kodak bankruptcy that all but wiped out my trust fund to the tune of 2 million coupled with me spending the bulk of these past 10 years working with early venture startups (aka: for free or max 1% stock options) all culminate to me sitting here at 58 years old with a car that's 125% leveraged, no real estate, no bonds or 401K's, no vintage guitar collection anymore (was at one time over 200 rare and vintage bass guitars worth $400,000 +/-) that were sold off one at a time during the 9 years I was caregiving for my Dad and unable to work but also not able to be compensated by his insurance because I was "family".
Net result is I'm just about "broke" but not "busted". Certainly not where I had envisioned my life to be at after working so hard for 40 years. No home, no second home, no boat, no Aspen condo, no vintage Jaguar XKE in the garage, no stock, bonds & mutual funds...nada, zilch, bupkis! But when I put things into a global perspective I'm still way ahead of the game. Most people in the world would aspire to have my life and I know this. Why? Because I was lucky enough to be born:
None of which I had anything to do with and I don't feel the need to apologize to anyone for being any of the three demographics but I have always been sensitive to the fact that just by being those three things I had a much easier go at this life. So I've always gone out of my way to help others who weren't born white, male and american in any way I can. Enough on this before I get myself in political correctness jail for saying that but let's face facts. It's pretty much evident in my minor brushes with the law over the years. Case in point would have been one time where 6 men including myself got arrested in a police sting operation for a crime that shall remain private but it's more embarrassing than "criminal". So, I'm the only white guy in court being arrainged by the judge for the exact same crime yet I'm the only one who the judge releases on my own reconnicance and my five darker skinned codefendants all get remanded and get I believe bail set at $50k each or higher depending on their prior convictions. I did not apologize to the others for getting OR'd and going home that night but what I did do was turn it into something positive for them and this share my good fortune with them. I did so my carrying out notes or "kites" to their bosses, girlfriends, attorney's and or wives and in a few cases set them up with my private criminal defense attorney so they didn't have to fight the case with a public defender. But again, I digress.
This was supposed to be announcing my retirement and move to beautiful playground to the rich and famous Sun Valley, Idaho which I am doing immediatly. The car is packed and I start a new position as a Ski Instructor member of the reknowned Sun Valley Snowsports Ski School established in 1936. My "dream" job since the age of 7 or 8. So I may be retiring from working with startups, and publishing my 40 blogs and doing public relations and fundraising for NPO's and will be susshing down Dollar and Baldy mountains every day and getting a snow-tan and carousing the apre-ski haunts of Ketchum, Idaho I do intend on continuing my work with startups and NPO's (more on that in next post) For now this is Stephen G. Barr, signing off with car packed and almost a 1,000 mile drive ahead of me to paradise...
working with startups