7 thoughts on “The Invisible Man”

  1. Thanks for providing a riveting & instructive account of the often thankless & selfless task of building a company. Not everyone is willing to check their ego at the door to success.}

  2. Interesting story.
    A certain balance is needed to keep the sanity in a growing business. While a CEO may be the “face” of the business and speak publicly to the world, other team members are the heart and creativity of it. In your case, it would be nice to receive more from the public, but as mentioned, the ones who know that you are behind the scenes appreciate you and know the difference.
    I believe that there is also recognition that is given internally within an organization, and based on your efforts, I really hope this was noticed and granted.


  3. It all sounds very unbelievable to me. Not just the fact that all the “CEO”s of your company let you be in the shadows, but also that you too didn’t mind being there.}

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong and reading too much between the lines, but the key phrase is “we discussed his vision,” with the emphasis on “his vision”, and not “your vision”. Having that spark, that vision, is what captures the imagination of the people and the press, not toiling away in obscurity, no matter how important that is to the development of the project.

    Ever hear of William Joseph Hammer? He was Thomas Edison’s lab assistant and probably one of the many guys in Menlo Park who really pushed Edison’s idea forward. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb, but it was “his vision” for a commercially viable incandescent light.

    And just like Edison and Menlo Park, it sounds like the CEO/incubator was behind the financing of the company and that “decent salary” of yours, too. Let’s not overlook that small point either.}

  5. I want to thank you all for commenting on my story. I wrote this up when I started my blog but never published it. When Carleen asked me for my story I had trepidations… I really didn’t want to come across as whiny or bitter. It is very difficult to compress nearly eight years of hard work into a few hundred words.

    A bit of the first part of the story was edited by Carleen to bring down the word count and make if flow a little faster. In looking back on the original draft I sent Carleen I wrote that the CEO of the incubator that funded my start-up had an “idea” not a “vision” and that my being able to describe to him how one could create a product and company based on that idea is what made him decide to take a chance on me. I also thought I was pretty clear that original idea never went anywhere after we changed the course of the company due to my “dream” invention, my vision for a new product and company direction, if you will. As for funding my “decent salary,” I still have the bad credit and loans that I’m still paying off because of the inability of the company to pay any salary at all during many months of the lean years. I put significant, non-compensated, sweat equity into the company. During those years, you don’t worry about recognition, you worry about paying the rent and keeping the lights on.

    The three CEO’s do deserve credit. They all worked very hard. I did forget to mention that our first CEO, the nice guy, was also not mentioned in the newspaper story. The current CEO does have vision and is a leader, as proven by our success over the last few years. In the office we, along with the CFO, are very much partners with a shared vision of the company and how it should grow, but in the press (primarily due to our PR machine) he is the face of the “vision” and the “spark”. The lesson I was trying to share with everyone was that hard work and being critical to a company’s success does not guarantee public recognition.

    At least Mr. Hammer made it into the history of Thomas Edison’s lab, I have yet to be so lucky.}

  6. Mr. Hammer probably didn’t feel the need to wear a paper bag over his head, either.

    This is an interesting read, but I think everyone is already familiar with the concept that a lot of efforts in this world go unsung.

    Instead of spinning just another Aesopian tale, why not point out where along the way you could have stepped into the limelight, and where you should have pushed hard and made sure you were properly compensated for your wunderkind efforts? Analyse where you made the mistakes.

    Just telling a story of how you played Woz to Jobs only comes off as sounding a bit whiny.}

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