It took seven years

Seven is the magic number, they say. Seven is the number of years I’ve been working to arrive at this moment. And I believe in magic. That’s what’s kept me going.

Before me the city comes aflame as the sun begins to set. The skyscrapers rising in the setting sun remind of the Himalayan peaks that I walked among just a year earlier. As I trekked the Annapurna Circuit I had been a hair’s breadth away from quitting my path of entrepreneurship. It had been a long, hard road, and I wasn’t sure that I could take another step. Ahead lay greater unknowns and no guarantee of success.

Go forward and risk more of the same. The landscape before me echoed the challenge; massive peaks, draped in turquoise glaciers and snow. Cross one peak, and there’s another one right after it.

Looking out over the vast landscape, I came up with a simple mantra: “Take a single step and then another — the only way is forward and up.”

That was a year ago. Tonight, I find myself in a loft in Soho, in the New Museum’s incubator program Newinc, on the eve of launching a new product.

To get here, I started a Toy Design Program at the Srishti School of Art & Design, launched two apps, ran two Kickstarters, wrote two novels, worked countless long hours, neglected friends and family more times than I’d like, run up credit card debts and borrowed an irresponsible amount of money, knocked on doors and sent out more emails than I can count.

I’ve wanted to quit more than once. I’ve felt bitter and defeated, I’ve felt betrayed and battered. Ashamed too, at times. But I’ve also felt elation and victory, hope and belief, gratitude, certainty, and the conviction that the only way to go is forward and up.

I’ve done it all just to get here.
Has it been hard? Yes. Have I wanted to quit? Yes.
Has it been worth it? YES!

A resounding yes, I’m constantly reminded how fortunate and privileged I am to go to work every day and work on something that I believe in, with people who share my inspiration and commitment. It’s pure joy to watch a team come on fire to do the best work of their lives.

That’s magic that you can’t buy, it has to be earned through commitment, sacrifice, and more than a little luck.

Asavari, Ashley, Josh, Noah, Niclas, and Reeve — a resounding THANK YOU for all the long nights, all the early mornings, and rapid fire turn arounds.

We’re ready to boot up now, we’re ready to start something new.

Delaware C-Corp? Check. Money in the bank? Check. Wonderful mentors? Check. Participating in a top incubator program? Check. A fantastic team? Check. A product that will create meaningful change. Check!

All systems go!

Booting up TANK & BEAR… loading up Aiko. We’re getting ready to release the world’s first digital companion for the Apple Watch. A fitness app that entertains you. A friend that makes you more active. A product that I hope will bring color and adventure to your life, a product that will encourage you to take one more step!

We’re a brand new company, with a brand new mission. Introducing TANK & BEAR.

Join us in a Very Public Beta, help us make Aiko something special, something that will change your world. Sign up at www.meetaiko.com, and check back soon for more magic.

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