My first memory as an entrepreneur

December 12, 2022

I can’t place my age. My best guess would be 10 to 12 years old.

At the time, my dad worked in “telecommunications”, which didn’t sound like a real thing. He may have tried to explain it to my brother and I, but as children, it was beyond our realm of understanding.

Telecommunications sounded like a cover for some kind of nefarious activity. So, when people asked us what our dad did for a living, we just said he was a drug dealer.

Being honest involved too many follow up questions that we could not answer. “He’s a drug dealer” was instantly understood.

Thankfully, nobody took us seriously. I’m certain I’d still be grounded to this day if they did.

In our garage, we had big wooden spools wrapped in colorful electrical wire. My dad said they came from his job. He didn’t install anything to my knowledge, further fueling my cover story hypothesis.

Each spool had hundreds of feet of bands. Each band consisted of five tightly woven, plastic-coated wires in white, blue, red, green and yellow.

These candy-coated spools just sat there, without purpose.

That didn’t seem right, so I obtained permission to mess with them. With glee, I began to experiment.

The wire was perfectly pliable, stiff enough to keep its shape, but flexible enough for me to bend it to my will.

I got hooked on making little people. I took a loooooong band, then twisted a hoop for a head, then worked my way down the arms and created Mickey Mouse-proportioned fingers, then rolled back up to the spine and down the rest of the extremities.

The first one went on my dad’s brown desk at his office in Dallas where he did his tele-something something.

One-by-one, his coworkers would compliment the little man on his desk and asked how they could get one. They also did tele-something something and found common electrical wire in the shape of people very exciting.

I started selling them for 5 bucks a piece to everyone in the office.

I had no overhead or supply costs. No transport or marketing costs. It was only my time to make them. Those were the days…