The Launch of Launch

ee97b218-598e-4af8-babb-55984ac3c7bc"At Launch, this summer has been one filled with great conversations.


My colleague Tricia Stone and her co-founder Kurt Wolfgang have started up a business geared to “connect education with the rest of life, starting in high school, and continuing throughout college.” 

It’s a terrific and needed idea, and they’re going to be outstanding at this work. Here’s their August newsletter which has lessons for all of us:

“Because every path is different.” 

“At Launch, this summer has been one filled with great conversations.

They’re the kind that start simply, with a “so tell me about what you do,” or maybe “what were you interested in when you were in high school?” But they quickly develop into something much more challenging, and more worthwhile. Terms likepurposemeaning, and fit come up. Clear and logical paths are disrupted by serendipity, resulting in trajectories that can only be mapped looking backwards.

We’ve brought engaged adults together with curious students, and guided them through these conversations. The message can be challenging to understand: you can’t know exactly where you’re going, but you can surely prepare for it.

How can students do that, you ask? That’s a great question. We suggest starting with the following:

1. Follow your enthusiasm (and that of others). 

Pay attention to what inspires you, and do more of it. Always watch for people who are excited about what they do, whether that’s career-based or otherwise. Surround yourself with them. Introduce yourself to people you look up to, and make your interests known. 

2. Be unapologetically curious

When something sparks your interest, start digging in. Who is involved and why? What do they do? Why does something pique your curiosity? How could you learn more or get involved? Can you get school credit for this? Tell other people what you’re interested in, because unexpected connections happen often. And take good notes along the way. Spend the time to ask yourself why you think and feel the way you do.

3. Do high quality work

This sounds simple because it is simple. Take pride in the work you do, whether that is in school or not. Think about the people you respect and what they produce or the services they provide. Now think about the quality of those products or services. It’s amazing how many doors appear–and then open–when you do things well. 

4. Ground yourself in reality

One of the most common mistakes students make is to base decisions on impressions, not data. This ties in with #2: ask people about their experiences, do research, and bounce ideas off of people who have more knowledge about an area than you. Find out what kind of lifestyle a certain salary will get you, whether that’s in New York or in Waco. The more of this you do while in school, the easier it is to make good decisions in “the real world.” 

5. Make moves. 

We’re not sure who first said “you can’t steer a parked car,” but we’d like to say thanks. It’s often very hard to make decisions about where you’re going until you get some experience. Whether volunteering, working, or just socializing with inspiring people, the key here is to get out and get involved. 

The best part about all these conversations is that they’re still going on. We welcome your continued input and perspective, and look forward to talking soon.

Kurt and Tricia

Reprinted by permission. Contact information about Launch can be found here.

Read More

[Use with Caution] “Some of Us Were Talking…”


There are phrases that bring out smiles and there are strings of words that generate frowns. Here’s one that can do both: “Some of us were talking…” Like other “traffic signal” words and phrases – things like “but” as in “You’ll like it but it might be bumpy” or “just” as in “He’s just another […]

Read More

Can Introverts (Co) Rule the World?

quicker delivery

They’re sometimes dismissed – usually by extroverts – as “too shy” and not-so-good at speaking up. Social skills to mix it up in crowds can seem lacking. When they’re “on point” it can seem like they can falter. They are said to have “issues” when it comes to small talk; not great “speaking on their feet.” So can […]

Read More

Who Really Cares if the Boss is Gay?

Gossip (Vanessa Amorosi song)

The impetus might have been the convergence of former BP CEO John Browne’s new book on his life as a closeted exec with the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Or maybe it was simply bad form, like mentioning someone’s cancer prognosis or divorce when the news isn’t public. While it wasn’t news to some in Silicon […]

Read More

A 10 Minute Meeting Worth Millions?

call center

It they’d been sipping brews or smoking cigarettes I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Instead what caught my eye and ear was the crew at the open deli kitchen of Bi-Rite Market talking about what they needed to be aware of and do to make the day go smoothly. I reminded me that sometimes the simplest way to […]

Read More

[Life Back West] Early Summer 2014 – “Save Water: Drink Margaritas”


Clever won’t guarantee success though it might get you noticed. C. S. Lewis once noted “No clever arrangement of bad eggs ever made a good omelet” and that’s a pretty smart way to size clever by itself. So I chuckled as I saw the slogan on the back of the wait crew shirts at the recently re-opened La Rondalla restaurant […]

Read More



“I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive.”  Albert Einstein curiosity (Photo credit: brdonovan)

Read More