The Six-Year Overnight Success

While the rocket rides of YouTube and MySpace get most of the startup press, my years of writing about entrepreneurship have taught me that many startups happen upon sudden success only after devoting patient months, and often years, to being in the right place at the right time. That’s why Sunday’s terrific New York Times story about character actor Dan Fogler was both a delight to read, and felt very much like a piece about a successful company.

Fogler spent six long years after graduating from the School of Theater at Boston University in a series of nonpaying gigs, a time he describes as “climbing a glacier with a spoon and a copy of Backstage.” Cheered on by his parents at every turn, Fogler resisted the conventional wisdom of toning his chubby figure to win plum roles. Instead he concentrated on honing his craft and learning what he did best.

“With pleasing symmetry, it turned out that Mr. Fogler’s celebration of not fitting in led directly to his fitting in,” reads my favorite line from this article. Fogler was recognized by a talent agent, and scored what turned out to be the Tony-award winning part in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Without flogging this parable too much, I will say that many small businesses with integrity have just such promise.

Posted by tom at October 11, 2006 11:41 AM
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