Boston Tragedy & Why Entrepreneurs Do What We Do

Summary: This week my friend and fellow entrepreneur Tim Jones volunteered his company’s services to help the Boston Police search for the culprits of this horrible, brutal act. It’s an inspiring story of why entrepreneurs do what we do – but the headlines don’t talk about the years of sacrifice to get there.

Last week I wrote that your most important startup decision – who you want to serve and why – comes from the heart. This week I’ll share an example that will resonate with anyone who watched the terrible events unfold in Boston and felt an intense desire to do something to prevent this from happening again.

Tim Jones, CEO Buzzient Helps Boston Police with Investigation

tim.jpbTim and I first met in 2006 while serving as advisers on a National Science Foundation investment panel.  A year later he founded Buzzient, a company that provides Social Media Analytics & Social CRM services.

His previous startup was an explosives detection company – and he lives in Boston. As you can imagine, a Boston resident with an expertise in online data mining and explosives had a pretty busy last week. Tim has been volunteering his company’s services to the Boston Police department since 2011 “because it was the right thing to do”.

Entrepreneurs Helping the World Makes a Great Story

Tim was contacted by many media outlets for interviews including The New York Times and Bloomberg on how his startup provides expertise and information to law enforcement. It’s a great story, one that makes me glad we have guys like Tim on our side.

It’s stories like this that motivate people to become entrepreneurs, to try to make a difference in the world. No doubt millions of people watched the news unfold and wondered what they could do to help.

But Headlines Don’t Tell the Other Half of the Story

Tim Jones (LinkedIn Profile) is one seriously smart, talented guy – he could be doing ANYTHING. He radiates leadership. Like all entrepreneurs, he’s gone through the soaring highs – like last week – and the tough lows of the day-to-day battle for survival like the great recession of 2008-09.

A thousand times he could have given up, could have opted for a safe, great-paying Executive job with just about any company in the Fortune 500. Who among us wouldn’t be tempted by this option?

In entrepreneurship, the lows can bring on some brutally tough and lonely times. Our friends and family try to understand, try to help – but mostly they just can’t relate to us. For every great week of media coverage, new customer, or round of funding there can be months and years of toiling in obscurity.

Term sheets that get pulled, customers that don’t show up for meetings, team members that suddenly leave, board members who selfishly act out of personal agenda. It’s those moments that truly test us.

Changing the World takes Enormous Personal Sacrifice

Lots of people get inspired to act, to change the world. Choosing to act is easy – choosing to endure is so brutally hard.

This is why your most important startup decision must come from the heart and why first picking your market is the place to look for your startup idea. Only your internal motivation will keep you going through the tough times to have the satisfying week of public support that Tim had last week.

We Owe All Human Progress to Those Who Do Sacrifice

Ultimately, all of our lives are made better through the personal sacrifice of scientists, entrepreneurs, and artists – those people intrinsically driven to change the world.

At this very moment there are scientists working till 3AM waiting for an experiment to finish, hackers looking through StackOverflow for an answer to why their code isn’t working, and poets with a stack of crumpled paper searching for the right words to express the horror they feel about the tragedy in Boston.

When they discover a new cancer drug, launch the next Twitter, or win the Nobel Prize in Literature we’ll all read the headlines and cheer, never fully appreciating what it took to get there.

PLEASE: Take a Moment to Thank Tim

We will never know what role Buzzient plays in this investigation, whether Tim’s team will uncover the links that prevent the next terrorist attack. Soon the cameras will stop rolling, the media will move on, and we’ll all resume our normal lives. We often never know the debt we owe people like Tim Jones.

Please do me a favor – take 30 seconds from your life and thank Tim with a Tweet.

Click here to thank Tim Jones and the Buzzieant team with a Tweet

It may seem like such a small gesture on your part, but trust me – it will mean a lot to them.

About the Photo

I apologize if anyone is upset by graphic and horrific nature of this photo by hahatango.  As we celebrate the recent success of law enforcement I thought it was important to also remember the horrible human suffering that resulted from this evil act and the pain that the victims and their families will endure forever.

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  1. Masha Kubyshina April 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    Kevin, this was a great post. Thank you for writing it. You are very right about the lows of day to day battle and that the only way to survive it is to be guided with your heart in what you do. This was a very inspiring read! And I love how you put the “link” to thank Tim Jones. I think this is an awesome initiative!

    • Mladen April 29, 2013 at 7:37 am #

      I strongly agree with you Masha! Great post Kevin!
      Best Regards,

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