Talking to People Like Me

Dear Will:

I’ve got some exciting news that nevertheless fills me with dread. About an hour ago (it’s 6:30 a.m. right now), a press release went out announcing that my company, Thumbworks, has been acquired by the French company In-Fusio. Now unless you pay close attention to the quirky world of wireless application development (games primarily), you’re not likely to read about the acquisition while you’re eating your Post Toasties, but for us it’s really big news.

Three of us started Thumbworks a little less than three years ago. We had little more than a line of credit and an extremely vague notion of what we were going to do to make money to feed our babies. It’s amazing to me that in such a short time we would have an enterprise that someone else would be willing to pay for. Kinda cool, huh?

The catch, of course, is that my job now gets really serious and complicated. In-Fusio has been extremely successful in Europe and China, but their efforts to penetrate the North American market have been, shall we say, underwhelming. That’s where Thumbworks comes in. In-Fusio hopes that we can become their North American operation and establish them as one of the major players in the United States. I’m already finding out that that translates into lots of meetings and travel for me, and lots of people looking on with anticipation, expecting that their problems here in the US are now solved. (Gulp.)

Next week I’ll be flying to the Bordeaux headquarters to meet a lot of people and begin the hard task of integrating our companies. It all sounds very exotic, of course, at least until you start to calculate the impact of a one week business trip. I’ll miss coaching Seth’s basketball team, miss Luke’s first week at a new school, and probably not get a whole lot of productive work done—meaning that when I get home, I’ll be even farther behind. That trip will be followed by at least four or five others over the next couple of months (thankfully not across the ocean), so I expect my family to feel some strain as I get my arms around my expanded responsibilities. I’m worried about how we will all handle the increased workload. I’m not, I think you know, the sort of guy who thinks a job is in any way more important than my family.

So we’ll take it slow and see how it goes. I must keep reminding myself to turn off the laptop and help Bryn with her homework, read a book to Seth, take Luke to the movies, rub my wife’s tired feet. I must make sure that when I’m home, I’m home, engaged in family activities so that the new job enhances our life rather than destroying it. That won’t be easy, I know, but it’s helpful to tell a friend about it now to help me remember as the piles of work continue to mount higher and higher.

I think it was David O. McKay who said: “No success can compensate for failure in the home.” My guess is that when he uttered those words he was talking to people like me.


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