“Hello, my name is Jon Grøholdt and I am the president of the University of Oregon Entrepreneurship club. I am here to meet Steve Jobs”. Oh no, that is really way too long, his secretary can go to the bathroom and drink a cup of coffee before I am done with that introduction.
I am in my car, looking in the rearview mirror and practicing my opening pitch for when I get to Next Computers head office in Redwood City, California. It is a long haul, about 550 miles, so I have lots of time to practice. Now, why I am driving from Eugene all the way to Redwood City, you might ask. Well, I was and still am a bit optimistic and maybe a little naive too, but the story behind this trip is simple; I was driving to Redwood City to convince Steve Jobs to speak about entrepreneurship at a big event we were hosting at the University of Oregon. I should add that I had for weeks tried to call Mr. Jobs and even written him a letter. But no answer, so what does a very optimistic Norwegian student do, well he trusts his oral gifts, jumps in the car, and heads for Redwood City.
Steve Jobs, the man who a few years earlier had given us the Macintosh, which not only made our life as students easier, but even a well paid summer job. You see, we could buy the Mac for only $3.800 in the US, use it for 9 months and sell it in Norway for $7-8.000. A great setup for a poor student. And in just a few hours I would meet my idol face to face.
“Hi, my name is Jon Grøholdt and I have an appointment with Mr. Jobs”. Yeah, that sounds much better, short and sweet. From my stereo Mick Jagger was singing about mixed emotions, but my emotions were doing just fine. I sang with him and couldn`t wait to get to Redwood City.
“What a facility!” I thought while I parked outside their offices. One last look in the mirror; “Hi, my name is Jon Grøholdt and I have an appointment with Mr. Jobs”. This will go just fine. I felt it was my day. I had travelled for 8 hours and deserved this. Breathe, breathe, breathe.
“Hi, my name is Jon Grøholdt, and I am here to meet Mr. Jobs”. “Do you have an appointment?” “Well, I have written him a letter, explaining why I am here.” “You need to have an appointment, Sir.” “But, I have driven all the way from Eugene Oregon, I tried.” “I am sorry, you need an appointment, and now you will have to leave our building.” I could have just left the building, gone out to my car and waited for Mr. Jobs to come out after work. Instead I made a big mistake, I let my emotions take over, and I told her “Fine, then I will wait for Mr. Jobs in the parking lot”, and then I walked out of their building. After waiting for 5 minutes a policeman knocks on my window and asks what I am doing there. Then he says, “we will arrest you if you do not move away from this property right now”. They escorted me to the Freeway and made sure I got on it, heading North, back to Eugene.
My story with Steve Jobs ended there, I drove back to Eugene and got the founder of Soloflex, Mr. Jerry Wilson to speak at our function. He did a great job and everyone at the University were happy with our event that year. For me that 16 hour drive would turn into an important symbol that has lasted 26 years. You see, sometimes you need to be overly optimistic and travel for 16 hours just to get kicked out of an office. Especially when you are starting a business. And these days I am back in the Redwood City district, together with Axel and Eirik, and we have taken on a bold mission “to make the world more sustainable by improving second hand trade.” We have a great plan, we have a great solution, we have a great team, and best of all we are following our hearts. So thanks Steve for all the inspiration you gave to us and long live OPTIMISM.
Now to help us reach our goal please download our app and start selling all the stuff you don`t use any more.
Love from the woods.