I ran out of gas this morning for the first time in 20 years.
I was on an errand to buy donuts for my daughter's sleepover breakfast, and the temperature had already reached 90 degrees. No gas means no air conditioning, too, so the icing on the donuts quickly began to melt into sticky puddles at the bottom of the box. But sitting on the shoulder of the highway, door cracked to let in the slightly-less-hot air outside, I recalled a specific moment I hadn’t thought about for years—a moment when this sort of thing wasn’t that uncommon for me.
First, the backstory: I grew up in south Kansas City, Kansas. I was one of six kids, and we used to buy ourselves cars with money from our first jobs, a series of beater-cars that were new to us for bargain prices averaging around $2000 each. I think there were a total of nine cars in our driveway at one point—and most of the time you just didn’t know which one was going to work. We’d hop in the vehicle that was in the most promising shape that day, take off to our full roster of work and play, and hope for the best.
My memory happened soon after I graduated college. I finished my work at my temp job just in time to head to a midday interview at Sprint for my first professional, full-time position, seventeen miles across town. It was a day just like today in that it was unforgivingly hot. I hurried to the parking lot only to find I had a flat tire. I don’t recall for sure if I changed the flat by myself or if someone helped me do it, but I do remember arriving at the interview late, sweaty, and a little smudgy.
Somehow, I got the job. And it turned out that very job was also the start of my corporate career.
While at Sprint, I remember the wash of gratefulness I had when I bought my first new car: a Hyundai Santa Fe. Since then, I’ve had other roles and other vehicles, and even reached a point where I could responsibly attain a “dream car” if I wanted. But that’s not really ever been on my particular bucket list. In fact, I’m the kind of guy who’d hold on to that same Hyundai for its practical value. It’s currently still maintained and sitting in my garage.
Maybe it’s a little ironic that 20 years later, on launch day of Capital E’s brand, I’m having this unexpected roadside flashback.
Beside the irony, it's also a reminder of what I started this firm to accomplish. In my world, I set out to simplify people’s financial lives by focusing on the things that have the greatest impact and benefit to them. This has resulted in a simplification of their lives, as well as my own life. I now get to manage a calendar of kids’ activities, something that seemed impossible a few years ago, even while managing the heaving duties of a growing business and media platform. And it inspires me to continue building a firm that helps provide better outcome for more people so they can focus on what is important to them. For me, it’s a car that works, and it’s having the autonomy to orchestrate 11-year-old birthday sleepovers complete with indoor tents, carnival décor and now, slightly melted donuts.
(A special thanks to my sister for her roadside rescue!)
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