The Entrepreneurial Journey

What is it about entrepreneurs that inspires us so much, sparks our imagination with such passion, and stirs the soul?
Perhaps it is the influence that entrepreneurs have on our world and the excitement that is generated from a successful entrepreneurial endeavor.
Entrepreneurs are special people for sure. They have a way of inspiring people to reach for something more than what is, and they are held in high esteem for showcasing examples of what is possible in the world.
Whether it may be a corporate or social endeavor, the entrepreneurial journey is not for the weak of heart. For those few souls brave enough to take on the journey, the transformation that takes place in the individual and the team involved is sure to take on a whole new meaning.
It requires tremendous intestinal fortitude, patience and a willingness to ride by the seat of your pants for any entrepreneurial endeavor to make it past the start-up phase.
Where an entrepreneurial endeavor starts is not necessarily where it will end. In many cases it leads to a whole new life, a life not fully understood when the first steps in the journey are taking place.
I consciously took the first steps on my entrepreneurial journey back in 1992 at the epicenter of the Internet boom in Silicon Valley. As I started my first Internet company, I had no clue that the twists and turns on this journey would lead me to Grand Lake and to Tulsa.
My journey has included a number of start-ups along the way, including one of the first complete solution interactive agencies, a couple of incubators in collaboration with NASA, an online auction house, several not-for-profit organizations and StudioFX, one of the first broadcasters of original television content online.
From its humble beginnings as a start-up with only five employees, to a fully-funded company with more than 65 employees on the brink of going public (only to be burst by the Internet Bubble of 2000), the StudioFX journey changed my life and the lives of many of those involved.
The experiences and relationships that were developed along this journey cannot be taken away. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur.
If The Silicon Valley Bank had not repossessed StudioFX after a bridge loan could not be paid back, I would have never taken the Route 66 road trip that landed me on Grand Lake. I never would have started an Oklahoma wind energy company that led me to meet then Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Kathy Taylor. I would never have salvaged and rebuilt an 1860s pioneer log cabin that led to meeting and collaborating with Ted Cundiff on the creation of the SpiritBank Business Resource Center.
I never would have discovered the great people of Tulsa and the tremendous potential that exists in our community today. I never would have been able to transfer the wisdom and experiences gained in Silicon Valley and apply those to Tulsa’s next chapter. And I never would have been able to kick-start Mayor Kathy Taylor’s Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.
What a great example of the entrepreneurial journey.
One of the most important things that I learned as I was cutting my entrepreneurial teeth in Silicon Valley is that entrepreneurs need support to know that they are valued, and that taking risks will be rewarded. This is why the Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award is so important to Tulsa and to the state of Oklahoma. Mayor Taylor’s business plan competition is rewarding risk and is valuing the entrepreneurial spirit in the Tulsa. Entrepreneurs are a powerful key to a prosperous and sustainable future.
The entrepreneurial journey is truly not for the timid or faint of heart. The journey has the potential to mold you into a person of great character and tremendous strength.
When I was a young entrepreneur in Silicon Valley participating in business plan competitions and pitching my ideas to venture capitalists, I gained great insights into the keys to a successful entrepreneurial endeavor which in the end lead to me to a better place, Tulsa.
There is just as much opportunity to succeed in Tulsa as anywhere else. And now with the opening of the Collaboratorium, it is a great time to start or to continue your entrepreneurial journey. What is your big idea? The time is now to unleash it! Visit www.tulsaspiritaward.com to learn more about the Spirit Award or www.tulsacollab.com to become part of the Collaboratorium and accelerate your entrepreneurial journey.
Sean Griffin is a visual thinking entrepreneur, founder of the Collaboratorium, chair of Mayor Taylor’s Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and The Tulseys, chair of Entrepreneurialism for the EDC, co-chair of Mayor Taylor’s Green Team and president of Sustainable Tulsa.



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