It’s nice to step off the fast track every now and then to pause and reflect, however briefly, on a seminal moment in one’s life.
Today is one of those seminal moments. It’s the date in time Ed and I took the first step on a long and winding road that would take us to the highest highs and lowest lows. It’s the day we began Peppercomm. And, today we begin our 23rd year in business.
I have to say the first year was, far and away, my favorite. We started in a ramshackle one-bedroom apartment, paid our bills with $12,500 borrowed from my family, had no preconceived notions and figured, what the heck, let’s give this six months and see what happens.
And, I can tell not much happened at all the first three months. But, then, we landed two blue chip accounts that provided us with the credibility needed to open other doors and, boom, just like that we were off to the races.
But the first year wasn’t just about the business. It was really all about the small, loyal group of employees we’d hired, the tremendous esprit d’corps that existed and the single mindedness to succeed we possessed. Oh, and it was also all about the laughs. Lots and lots of laughs.
I remember year one as a time of total exhilaration chock full of priceless moments in which we laughed out loud together, celebrated together and simply chilled together. We were like a small, but elite (at least we thought we were elite) squad of Navy Seals who were kicking ass and taking names.
There was no time for politicking, turf building or agenda-setting. Instead, it really was all-for-one and one-for-all. And, prospects sensed the energy and enthusiasm and wanted to be part of it.
We ended our first full year with just under $1 million in billings. And, thanks to naming our firm after my late black lab, Pepper, we unwittingly attracted scores and scores of newly-launched, deep-pocketed dotcoms that had just arrived on the scene as well.
Calls flooded in from prospects who mistakenly thought any PR firm named Peppercomm could get the job done. And we did, once we began hiring professionals who understood the new technology and possessed media contacts in the new publications that sprung up from nowhere to cover the phenomenon (Think Business 2.0, Red Herring, etc.).
The only downside to reflecting on what, for me, was the single best year of my life, is realizing it can’t possibly be duplicated. It was what it was and passed in the blink of an eye.
And, while I couldn’t fully appreciate it then, I do thank my lucky stars every day up that I said good-bye to big agency life and rolled the dice with a guy named Ed.
Working with you folks has been a great ride. Steelcase has been a longtime participant of your journey and we wish you all the best for the future!
In spite of hiring Ann Barlow( and some offspring ) you guys made it. Congratulations
Congrats Steve to you and Ed as having ventured down the same road know it’s chock full of ups and downs. It’s the will to succeed and do great work (even when clients may not allow us to do some) and as you say have a sensational groups of people who buy into what you’re trying to accomplish.
Congrats, Rep. And Ed. And Ted. And Deb. And Jackie. And Ann and Maggie. And Lee! To your continued successes…personal and professional.
Isaac, I don’t think a field of 64 would be enough…but it would be good for laughs.
james- like march madness, only the top 64 can make it.
as they say in the old country- mazal tov on 23 years!
wouldnt it be cool to celebrate 23 years by having a bracket of 64 former employees and have everyone vote on the winner of each round? like march madness in september!
just think, we could have jon hershberg vs avi blitman or dave bathroom bray vs jimmy the moock or the intern who flipped off ed vs mike zakour.
at least it will give you something to root for as the mets are done and the jets wont even begin.