Happy Thursday

“Why doesn’t Mark O’Sullivan online blog work anymore” you ask?

It’s not because I have nothing to say. To the contrary, I have plenty of things going on, and many many thoughts keeping me up pontificating at night. No, it’s because of something my father told me many years ago, “Say anything you want, but never put it in writing.”

Of course, my father was referring to things like angry exchanges with an employer. But through my work with Vanilla, I became afraid of over-promising and under-delivering. I decided to not write about anything we were doing until it was done. This practice led into my personal life as well. And before I knew it, I didn’t want to put anything on my blog because the thought that someone might want to debate a point with me made me feel nothing but exhaustion. I figured that if I don’t care to hear another’s opinion, what right did I have to share mine?

Well, as things go, I’m in yet another “transition period” in my life. We all go through them. We cut ourselves a nice groove and ride it for any number of years, and then eventually we begin to vibrate at another level and we decide to either accept our circumstances as they are, or take the responsibility for changing them. Recently I (finally) chose the latter.

I’ve found that during these transition periods you become introspective and melancholy, but it is eclipsed with an immense feeling of pride for all you’ve been able to accomplish (even accomplishing the decision to finally make a change), as well as a warm feeling that great things are in your future. Tonight I’m at home alone and I decided to take a glance back at all that has happened to me since my last point of life-transition.

Four years ago my wife and I were not happy. I had taken a keen interest in “getting healthy” and yet somehow managed to “party” constantly. I exercised until I was at a point where I was happy with my physical appearance, and I was out with my friends until ungodly hours doing things that I’m definitely not going to put in writing. It was not just unfair to her, it was completely reprehensible of me. I woke up one day thinking (not for the first time), “I can’t believe she puts up with me. I need to get my shit together before she leaves.”

That was when I reached out into the world and discovered TechStars. To say that TechStars saved my life is probably an overstatement, but to say that it set me on a positive life trajectory is completely accurate. I plucked myself out of the world I’d created and put myself into a foreign one. One filled with warmth, friendship, knowledge, passion, technology, venture capital, belief in the unbelievable. A world that literally felt like the wild west. Anything was possible.

For about three years I’ve struggled up the steep hill of entrepreneurship, rebuilt my relationship with my beloved wife, been witness to the birth of our first child, and watched in awe as our lives unfolded before our very eyes like a hazy dream. We struggled, we fought, we cried tears of anger, joy, passion, and happiness. And now we’re moving on.

I can’t believe how amazing the last three years have been, and I count myself extraordinarily blessed to have taken on the responsibility to change my circumstances, and to have met and befriended so many incredible people along the way.

Everyone at Vanilla, TechStars, and Real Ventures; Everyone in the Boulder/Denver, SF, and Montreal startup scene; You all know who you are. I’m a lucky man to have enjoyed the pleasure of your company, and I look forward to seeing you again some time soon.

Here is a slideshow from the last three years full of people, places, and things that I love.

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