It started with two “Canadian Old-Fashioned” cocktails at the Dominion Square Tavern in Montreal, Canada…
“Do you watch Mad Men?
“I’ve seen a few episodes, but don’t watch much TV.”
“You should get the ‘Canadian Old-Fashioned.’ It’s the drink Don Draper would get.”
It was late 2012 and Mad Men was at its peak level of coolness. I was a smart and ambitious 18 year-old that ran my own lucrative internet marketing company.
I was sold.
I was spending most of my time building that company that I had co-founded a year and a half earlier.
The thrill of the chase was the only things that kept me working on it. The amounts on the cheques coming in were steadily growing. But by the end of that summer, I knew it wasn’t how I wanted to continue spending all my time in between classes.
We talked shop.
Our conversation was mainly about business. Nothing personal. I don’t remember most of the conversation, but the parts I do, I remember vividly.
In truth, the recipe behind my drink was simple: RYE, SUGAR CUBE, ANGOSTURA, LEMON ZEST, TRIPLE SEC & MORELLO CHERRIES.
That was supposed to be it.
I bought in.
The two of us kept in touch in the following weeks, emailing back and forth. I sent him the best ideas I could come up with. He sent me some career tips back. I knew was he starting something new. It seemed cool and I was bored with what I was doing so I decided to buy in.
I joined the company two months later that December.
In truth, I did learn a lot and did many things well, but most of my results were plain mediocre. And in startups, there is no room for mediocre.
I did a lot of great work, but ultimately I had more to learn before *I* could be great.
By late July, we agreed it’d be best if we moved back to working on our own projects.
Our last walk and talk.
The office was a block or two from McGill University were I was registered for that September.
I remember walking through the campus but not really saying much.
The company was about to sell and move to Silicon Valley, California.
I also wanted to move and continue the work I had apprenticed in from the Promised Land, the hallowed halls of Silicon Valley. But it wouldn’t come to be with his company.
The serene silence striding past Roddick Gates said it all.
I was ready to go out on my own.
And then, the rest of this story became my story…
My story started that September when I moved my entire life in Canada to the belly of the beast– Silicon Valley. McGill would have to be put on hold until I got my education.