I was fortunate enough to land an internship with Pelion during my first year of business school. Which meant I spent the next 13 months working on several of the partners’ deals (Masteryconnect, Qzzr, Grow, and ObservePoint). It was during this time that I learned the secret to landing and keeping a job at a venture firm: You have to be willing to do the job no one else wants to do. In my case, that meant putting together Carl’s presentations. (Seriously, not a single other soul was interested.) Did that scare me? Absolutely. Fortunately, though, I learned that my fears were totally unfounded. (Well, most of them.) In fact, the scariest thing of all turned out to be the rate at which I gained weight. Joining Pelion, having a child and finishing business school – all at the same time – resulted in 25 additional pounds of ‘ol Ben. Lucky for me, though, it was mostly water weight. (Yeah, right.)
At Pelion, I’m happy to say there’s no shortage of inspiration. I’m inspired by the entrepreneurs I’m lucky enough to meet. And by the innovations they strive to create. In fact, looking back at my career, sources of inspiration have never been in short supply. There was the widowed mother of three in the coastal town of Oaxaca, Mexico who would cook on an adobe oven to make tamales to sell in the town square. Then there was my brother (and first business partner) who built his own brokerage business from scratch. And, of course, there were the guys who bought a defunct real estate company and turned it into a publicly trade multi-billion dollar holding corp. It’s exactly these kinds of people who make me so excited to be part of Pelion. Let me put it this way: If you’re an entrepreneur who’s working on technologies and businesses that can change the world, well, I can’t wait to meet you.
Of course, the best part about this profession is being able to work with such a diverse set of companies and industries. Which is something I already have a little experience with myself. I worked in home services (I ran a window washing business and I worked for a painting contractor in college; a double threat), I managed a call center (in the days, luckily, before calls could be blocked) and I even did some time with a giant retail conglomerate. I also logged some hours in ecommerce. (Trust me, it’s amazing what better technology can do for an ecommerce retailer.) And I even spent time at some auto dealerships. (Turns out that whole rustproofing thing really is a scam.) Not to mention a winery group (who would have guessed?), a casino (remember, the house always wins) and meat processing (I almost became a vegetarian). And, finally, buyouts (compared to the venture side, it was a snooze).
When I’m not in the office or on the road, I’m spending time with Liesl, my awesome wife (she likes to call me Rolf) and two young daughters Penelope (yes, we loved the character in Lost) and June (no, she was born in November). I’m an avid golfer (though I don’t play much), I love to spend time doing all things outdoors (except being bear bait by sleeping in a tent) and I’m somewhat obsessed with college football (though my obsession is diminishing – much to Liesl’s relief).
So as exciting as my past is, it’s the future that really gets my heart beating. And if that sounds like a cheap attempt to curry favor with my new partners at Pelion, it’s not. It’s a sincere cheap attempt to curry favor with my new partners at Pelion.