Entrepreneurship: Life on the Lunatic Fringe

Entrepreneurship: Life on the Lunatic Fringe

For quite some time, I’ve wanted a place to talk about the non-food side of my life. I’ve been promiscuous in writing for other places, from SavvyAuntie to YSN and other outlets, but had never taken the time to create a digital home for myself outside of the test kitchen, food library or wherever I am during the “other half” of my life.

And lately, it seems that I have a lot to say. Before I was a gourmande, you see, I was an entrepreneur. My favorite childhood games were “lawyer” and “CEO”.

I was an entrepreneur before it was a college major — though my cohorts and I lobbied hard for it at the Stern School of Business. Now they have a center to study the subject.

I was an entrepreneur before it was cool. When it was just…weird. Edgy? Different.

I was the 21-year-old business school undergrad who already owned a business, and sometimes professors would call me out with things like, “Jennifer, as I’m sure you’ve seen with your clients…”

I was part of a small group that stood up in 1994 and said, “Hey! This entrepreneurship thing? Turns out we can actually do a lot of social good with our companies, too, as part of the process.” I’ll forgive the deafening silence from the audience at the time, given what exists today.

In 20ish years of walking that very twisty path, I’ve learned a thing or two. I can see the walls my fellow creators are about to hit long before they do, and try to have a fresh crash helmet at the ready (they come in multiple colors – inquire within). And when it comes to building a team, and seeing how a visionary entrepreneur can make or break the destination at which that team arrives, I’ve seen the full spectrum of results.

We live in a fascinating time when entrepreneurship is no longer different; it now looks like the norm, at least from my little fishbowl. That news is very exciting, and I believe that those of us who have been in the trench for a while have so much to share and offer. Maybe it’s got something to do with turning 40 and passing the “halfway” mark, but my thoughts now turn much more to mentoring, to saving someone the battle scars if I can.

And while I always believe I’ll live somewhere on the lunatic fringe, it’s nice to have a little more company these days.

I’m not going to promise any kind of regular updating here, and that feels quite delicious to me. My past blogging efforts were built on schedules and sponsor agreements and themes — but now I can just say what I please, when it pleases me.

My desire, above all, is to be provocative. Oh, behave. I mean in thought; in how we see the world and how we’d like to change it. I’ve now spent enough time outside of the food world to know that there’s a bigger conversation to be had. It’s why I created my salon dinners. So I’m feeling a little bit like Willy Wonka right now — let’s throw it in the blender and see what happens!

Photo: “Surf Solitude” by Nick Chill. Posted with permission via Creative Commons.