There is No Steering Wheel on a Roller Coaster

coasterFor me, 2015 had the highest highs and the lowest lows on record. At times I felt like I was on a roller coaster, trying to steer it! Months of hard work into my second startup, NamePlace, we received funding from our first investor. Finally, I’ve joined the ranks of those entrepreneurs who have received funding for their startup. [fluffs feathers]

San Francisco’s Ruby Skye is a dark night club, non-conducive to meeting or pitching investors on a startup. Nonetheless, hundreds gather for an event called Shark Tank Showcase and Demo organized by Jose De Dios. The chances of finding an interested party in this crowded space with a dozen others aggressively pitching their companies is very low. But you go and you go with a smile, passion, and purpose. It was here in March that I met our angel investor, who turned out to believe in that purpose and present me with a check on stage a few days later.

The investment took our startup to the next level. We moved into Runway, a great San Francisco incubator space, with other interesting startups. No more working at Starbucks. A smiling office manager who never let the printer run out of paper. Regular meetings. A growing customer base. All of the hard work was paying off.

Oh, to share this success with my dad, who passed away in September, putting so much bitter into a sweet year. Losing him, as these things do, made me seriously evaluate my life. Am I following the right path? Am I spending my days the way I want? What would I change? Dad was a no BS kind of guy. He didn’t serve it and he didn’t have time for yours, okay? He was beautiful in this way and he would often point out, if I were to appear indecisive or victimized in any way, that I had control of the wheel. The statement could not be argued.



My maiden name is “Schoolman”, my father’s name, Fred Schoolman. Inseparable, dad and I, they nicknamed me “school girl.” He fostered and fed my interest in technology and gadgets. My dad gave me great confidence in this area. He was a self-taught electrician and took me on jobs with him as a kid. It was common for him to give me tools and equipment to toy with and take apart. He was very technical, always reading electrical code or engineering books. By the time I got to high school I was programming BASIC and Pascal. A few years later I’m managing engineering teams, building businesses and ‘schooling’ the best of ’em. I know he’d be proud.

Next year, it’s about being intentional. Here’s to taking the wheel in 2016!

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