Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE Menu
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Birth Of An Entrepreneur: Brad Feld

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

My son had his Bar Mitzvah in 1978. Many boys receive presents of cash when they celebrate their Bar Mitzvah. Gold coins were hot in 1978. Many Bar Mitzvah boys exchanged their new found fortune for two gold Krugerands. Gold was being predicted to increase to $1400 an ounce in the coming year.

Not Brad. His cash gifts totaled $1300. He wanted an Apple II Computer. The Apple computer company released the Apple II computer in 1977. I was delighted that he wanted to invest his Bar Mitzvah money in himself and not gold. At age 13, he was certain that he could learn to program the Apple II computer. I asked him how much it would cost. He said about $1300.

The following Saturday, after his soccer game, we went to the computer store to buy his Apple II computer. Brad convinced me during the preceding week that “we” needed an Apple II. After spending $3100 for the Apple II computer and all the necessary peripherals, “we” walked out of the store with all the pieces “we” needed to “create the future”.

As we were walking to the car I had an “aha” moment. Brad’s willingness to spend all his Bar Mitzvah money on his future convinced me to spend an additional $1800. I was sure he had all the characteristics of an entrepreneur. He told me the future was in personal computing. “We have to spend the money on the future”. This was a pretty profound statement for a 13 year old boy in 1978,

He was right. Not only did he learn how to program the Apple II himself, he started a business. He taught boys and girls in the neighborhood how to program in basic for a fee.

In 1982 he was tiring of the Apple II. I needed a program to print out laboratory reports generated in my chemistry laboratory. Brad volunteered to write the program, design the pretty printout and sell me the Apple II computer and all the peripherals for $1600. The laboratory program was a bargain to me. Brad monetized his asset for a profit. He added value to me while he leveraged his acquired talent.

The moral to the story is many of our children are very perceptive. We should listen to them. We have to create the environment for them to want to learn and be excited to learn. We have to make them responsible for their actions. They have to them put “skin” in the game. Our country’s greatness was built on entrepreneurship. It is parents’ responsibility to help promote the tradition of entrepreneurship. I am convinced that by creating an environment in which my sons can be creative and innovative, I have learned more from them, than I have taught them.

  • Rock McQueen

    I wish my father loved me and supported me as much as you do yours – Brad is a great guy. You taught and nurtured him well – congratulations!!

  • Zach Coelius

    Very True… My parents did similar things for me and I give thanks everyday. Giving kids the chance to make a go of it on their own is one of the greatest gifts you can give.

  • Kare Anderson

    Reminds me of my Dad, seeing his kids as so different yet encouraging us to cultivate our strengths.
    I would become a journalist, one brother an entrepreneur, and my baby brother an international aide worker. But we all needed the entrepreneurial traits of resourcefulness, critical thinking, perseverance and ability to work well with people extremely unlike us. Brad exemplifies these traits.
    What a timely post for me to share with my Dad before the weekend.
    Thank you Stanley. You have touched many of us.
    In a civilization when love is
    gone we turn to justice and when
    justice is gone we turn to power
    and when power is gone we
    turn to violence.
    Opportunity is often inconvenient.
    Remember the many
    compartments of the heart,
    the seed of what is
    possible. So much of who
    we are is defined by
    the places we hold for each
    other. For it is not our ingenuity
    that sets us apart, but our
    capacity for love, the
    possibility our way will
    be lit by grace. Our hearts
    prisms, chiseling out the
    colors of pure light.
    – Kare

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