In March of 1995, I was in my final semester at Columbia's law and business school, and I was taking an Entrepreneurship class. As part of a 3 page business summary paper assignment, I had to talk to 5 "experts" about the idea and include a brief summary of those discussions as part of the paper. My idea was all about the small and mid sized newspaper market and how classified ads online was an interesting business opportunity. The fifth expert I turned to is an old hometown highschool friend of my brother's who had relocated to New York City, Roddy de la Garza.
Roddy was working as a classified ad sales manager at the New York Press, one of the larger free weekly papers in the country. After meeting for lunch a couple days after our first call, I casually and half jokingly said, "Heck, Roddy, if you quit your job, I'll pay you $2,000 per month to help get this business of the ground."
2 days later Roddy called me and said he was coming over to pick up his $2,000, as he needed the money in advance, which was fair; he had quit his job. Roddy probably didn't know it, but he's the reason why AdOne (now PowerOne Media), the company we formed from this idea, was started.
The Israelies have a Hebrew word to descibe people like Roddy: he's a Nachshon (pronounced with a hard 'ch' like you are going to spit out some phlegm). This is an Old Testament reference to that moment when, in the Book of Exodus, Moses and his fellow Jews were trying to escape slavery and were being pursued by the Egyptian army. If you are familiar with the story or at least saw the movie, what happened was, that in order to escape, Moses had to literally split the Red Sea. In that moment, one can imagine the emotions of Mose's followers: worry, fear, terror, wonder, euphoria. There were all probably experiencing all sorts of emotions and were probably a bit a bit frozen as to what to do, like I was when I first thought about AdOne, and my partners and I were wondering what to do. As it turns out, Nachshon, a man of great courage and clear headedness, was the first person to start crossing the Red Sea through the dry path that Moses had created. Without Nachshon's courage, Moses and his followers might have been recaptured.
So that's where the word, Nachshon came from. I wish you luck in finding these special people like Roddy and Nachshon in your own life, as I think finding these people is a critical step in pursuing every endeavor one pursues in some way.
(P.S. I owe Hagai Yardeni, the founder of bla-bla.com, now UGO, for introducing me to this idea of Nachshon, so thank you, Hagai!)