I found this financial writing gig for a reputable site and while cranking out some copy it came to my attention that Facebook has a market capitalization of around $70 zillion. It made me think of another friend of mine who likes anonymity so I’ll just refer to him as the Governor. At this point most Pennsylvanians would probably prefer my Governor in office than the one they voted in last November. But that’s beside the point.
Way back in 1996 or so, when Facebook or Myspace weren’t even anywhere near zygotic ( I like the way it sounds like psychotic, so I’m using it) , my brother Mike and I joined with some techie-type Philadelphians through a friend who also had some experience with the internet. Hoping to start a web-hosting business, we half-heartedly pestered local businessmen who, in the words of my wife’s uncle, “weren’t convinced” that this web thing figured into their business models. In the midst of our failure, the Governor came to me with an idea to pitch to Charlie, the aforementioned friend of my brother who had realized a good amount of success in the tech business. The idea revolved around setting up on-line profiles for high school athletes- stats, videos, awards, GPA- who were interested in taking their talents to the collegiate level. The concept resonated immediately with Charlie and it was a go. So what were the Governor’s next steps? Nothing. You see the Governor is a pitch man. One heck of a pitch man. He is the one guy who could sell weed to Jeff Sessions. His resume-writing “skills” would have you looking like the CEO of General Motors and you just might get the job as a result. As to whether you could fulfill the duties of the position, well, that would be up to you I guess.
When I thought about the web-based athletic thing many years later, I realized what idiots we all were. What if we (I mean mostly the Governor; it was his idea) had the forethought to expand the profile to everybody, not just athletes? Capitalization was an issue as our collective assets didn’t quite approach the level of my three-year old son’s piggy bank, let alone an amount to launch a tech enterprise. But, nonetheless…
I ask you to get your arms around this: (I refuse to say “wrap your head around “, because it makes no sense and I cringe when people say it.) a website where not just athletes, but all of humanity could tear their rotator cuffs from patting themselves on the back and indulge in craftily contoured revisionist history. You’re thinking Facebook, right? That’s what I’ve thought all these years. But I like the Governor just the way he is. Zuckerbergian mega-wealth would have spoiled the party. We’ve known each other since pre-K and I’ve loved him for every minute of those years. The stories I could tell. The only regret I have is the hiatal hernia that’s resulted from my days upon years of fitful laughter in the wake and recollections of my travels with the Gov. We see each other quite a bit these days and still mostly talk about ideas, not people or things. And I’m pretty sure I like it that way. All that money would have likely had both of us much closer to our dear fathers in some spiritual universe that both of us believe exists. And we would not have been ready for that. We still have some prototypes in the works.