I am not a founder.
There are so many things you hear about Founders, how they are these shining beacons, often shrouded in controversy and some sort of hard knock life story, that then go onto to change an industry, nay, the world.
I’ve never considered myself a “Founder” in the typical sense of the word, and only for official reasons will I allow it. Firstly, I don’t have an MBA, I’ve never finished near the top of my class, I don’t classify myself as the smartest guy in the room, I don’t see myself as a leader, I’ve never run my own company (until now), I’m not arithmetically blessed (I still need a calculator), and I didn’t eat ramen for the first year of my company’s existence.
So much time and energy has been poured into what makes a founder, what particular human characteristics and traits they possess and which they choose to omit, that anyone who reads a couple of business books or listens to a few podcasts will be able to recite and align their personalities with that of a “founder”.
Founders are so many things and they seem to hold a demi-god status amongst blue and white collar workers. They are the men and women who moved industries and through sheer might of will were able to bend their ideas into something that changed the world, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad, but they managed to achieve what others didn’t think possible. Founders are the ones who inspire legions of employees and workers to believe, whatever that belief may be, to be the engine of change.
In my opinion I’m not a founder, what I am is pissed off that an industry and the norm within that industry hasn’t changed, so much so that it drove me to resign from my previous career and dive head first, without any prior knowledge or experience, into something I’ve been passionate about for my entire life; the health and fitness industry. How could an industry that was created with so many good intentions have lead to where it is today?… well they often say the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions. Throw in some greed, some monopolistic strategy, and sprinkle some competition and you have all the trademarks of an industry that can be so much more and deserves to be more.
The only similarity I can draw between myself and a typical founder is that WELD, just like so many other companies, came to be through sheer luck, timing and stumbling across something in the dark whilst I was looking for something completely different. If you had asked me in January 2018 if I thought it possible that only 8 months later I would’ve left the Digital & Marketing world to start a health-tech startup, I would’ve found it incomprehensible as that was never in my “plan”. Like Mike Tyson once said “Everyone has a plan, until they get hit in the face”, and I guess the boxer that landed that punch was cancer. It hit me right between the eyes, knocking me unconscious (4 times) to the floor. Fortunately, I got to my feet on the 9th count, just. It was through that ordeal that I was given this chance, this opportunity to then follow my heart, to find a way to help people and to give them hope, even when hope seemed impossible.
I’ve read all the books, downloaded pretty much all the podcasts, and the most valuable thing I can say I’ve done is to probably listen… listen to myself, those around me and what advice people were willing to provide. At the end of all of this I realised that all the big companies of today, with all the original “founders”, were found (in most cases) by pure luck. Uber was originally started as a town car company, Facebook as a way to meet girls, AirBnB through battling to pay their rent, Amazon as a CD & book store.
I don’t know where WELD will go, what spectacular failures (of which there will be a many) we will encounter and what achievements lie on the horizon (if any), but I know that I will always be there, pushing the envelope and encouraging those around me to push back.
I would like to leave you with two thoughts that seem particularly apt to the above:
“Necessity is the mother of invention”
“Risk is the fee paid to not lead an ordinary life”
That is all.