There's no place quite like the USA – and entrepreneur Jenene Crossan hopes to find some like minds over there.
Over a recent breakfast catchup with my infectious mentor Rod Drury, I breathlessly (yes, I was, as usual, talking at a million miles a minute) explained the rationale behind my impending trip to San Francisco.
“Ah, you need to find your other bumblebees, eh?” was his response.
Clearly, my confused look said it all.
He smiled knowingly and explained: “The Blind Melon music video for No Rain has a little girl running around town in a bumblebee outfit singing and dancing but finding no one to play with. She looks quite forlorn and out of place, and more than a little lonely. When she comes across a gate, she cautiously enters and then her eyes light up with joy. She has come across a whole field of other similarly dressed people, all dancing and singing – her fellow bumblebees!”
I remember grinning and nodding as Rod told me this. Yes, yes, yes, that’s what I mean.
I need to find my other bumblebees.
It’s just that sometimes I feel like a little bit of a lone bumblebee. For 13 years I have been running my own digital businesses. I have been extremely fortunate in the support, investment and opportunities I have been afforded – through all the ups and downs that go with being a ‘digital entrepreneur’ (not to mention the rollercoaster that is my life in general).
The reality is that it’s never easy rowing your own canoe. You have to be the person responsible for keeping everyone ‘up’ and on track ALL. THE. TIME. Even on your flat days you have to find a way to get over it and keep everyone focused on what often feels like the unachievable.
And let’s not forget that the chance of failure is significantly higher than the chance of success.; that little nugget likes to wake me up at 3am. There’s always way too much to do and not enough time to do it in, and the elephant is looking not just large, but bloody tough to eat.
The expectations are extraordinary. But let’s be honest, the ones I place on myself are the worst. I think that sums up why it is I find myself in this startup mode once again (sigh), daring myself to achieve the virtually impossible despite the odds. I usually laugh it off and describe myself as “relatively insane” when I’m asked about my motivations.
But despite the agreeable nods I get from people when I describe my life and journey, I don’t really think I’m actually insane. It’s just that here in wee old New Zealand, my particular strain of personality / gumption / ambition / narcissism is somewhat rare. Clearly there’s only one place in the world where I’d be more of a wallflower and less of a tall poppy, and that’s the grand old United States of America: a place where ambition is part of the constitution and competition is fierce.
I find opportunities present themselves when they’re ready. Rochelle, my client manager at flossie.com, was all signed up for the Grabaseat party plane heading up to Las Vegas in late June and had been harassing me forever to join her. To be honest, the idea of partying for a week seemed more like hard work than play, but the concept of entering the States via this manner did appeal. A little sweet-talking later and I secured myself a seat and will also be winging my way up to the US.
So come June 17 my buddy Steve-the-pilot will be flying us up to Vegas. I’ll be briefly stopping for a squiz at the Strip and then winging my way to San Francisco. I’m up there at the same time as a few of the other Kiwi digital natives – so I’ll be working on a tour of Facebook, spending some time at the Kiwi Landing Pad, attending a couple of VC meetings and generally hobbing and nobbing.
I’ll be blogging and tweeting every day – so keep me company on my journey and send me in some interesting directions if you could (yes, girls, I want to know where to get great shoes and I want to meet LOTS of people).
I guess I better make me a bumblebee suit! I can’t wait!
Jenene Crossan is the founder of nzgirl.co.nz, online research company 18 Ltd, developed Australasia's first female-centric masthead ad network and earlier this year relaunched Flossie.com as a vanity club (a quiet-time appointments website for the hair and beauty industry). She is also a director of bespoke email advertising product Actual Dialogue, has won accolades throughout the world and developed a solid reputation for being an opinionated bossy-britches unwilling to sit still
Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription, an Idealog t-shirt and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).