On our first trip to Disney World, I saw a quote from Walt Disney. He says, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it all started with a mouse.”
It all started with a mouse. Something as small and insignificant as a mouse, can start an empire. Ever since then, I have been searching for that moment of greatness.
The statue in the picture above is called Partners. It depicts Walt Disney with his famous mouse character, Mickey Mouse, walking hand in hand, surveying the events around them. The statue stands to greet you as you walk in to several of the Disney Parks, as well as their studios in Burbank, CA. For me, it is a reminder to always hold dear the small things that got you where are.
Ever since seeing that statue and reading the quote, I have longed to create an empire out of something little, something great out of something that seems insignificant.
In my lifetime alone, I have been able to watch a few examples of this, perhaps most notably Jeff Bezos starting Amazon out of his garage, with little else than an idea and maybe a station wagon. Of course there is Gary Vaynerchuk, the digital media and marketing guru behind Vayner Media, who moved to New Jersey from the former Soviet Union with his family as a child. He worked his way up through his father’s discount liquor store, before ultimately running it, and leaving to open his own agency. If you want to know why everyone is hustling, it’s because of Gary.
There are other examples of storied companies that had small beginnings. Walmart began as Walton’s Five and Dime. Bill Gates and Paul Allen got a meeting for a demo with MITS without even having a product, before going on to found Microsoft. And I once heard that the Austin, TX based Amy’s Ice Creams paid the first month’s rent with a hot check, a pretty risky move for a business hoping to have a future.
Isn’t that the American Dream? You have an idea, you put the idea into motion, and you can feed your family with the profits from that idea. If you are able to get any more out of it, fame, wealth, the sky is the limit really, you’ve done pretty well for yourself. But wealth is relative.
As I write this, I am sitting in a local Houston coffee shop called Katz Coffee, listening to old David Bowie records, a pretty sweet writing environment. I first crossed paths with Avi Katz almost 20 years ago when he sold the coffee to another small coffee shop I worked at. Back then, he had a small warehouse and a roaster. Today he has grown, to the point where coffee drinks are free, whether you buy coffee or not. Avi believes that an important part of business is being a part of the community. I have to agree with him.
I’ve written about leaving a legacy before. I’ve been searching for my Mickey Mouse moment for almost 15 years now. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to see things differently. Leaving behind a huge inheritance for my kids would be great, but leaving behind something they can be proud of I think is even bigger. Maybe that’s the real reason I write.
I didn’t realize it until just now, but my Mickey Mouse moment came about 6 years ago when I started my food blog, Me, Myself, and Cuisine. I had studied creative writing in college and had slight aspirations of becoming a writer, but had done little to pursue it.
In the modern world, writer can mean almost anything. So over the years, my scope as a blogger has grown. I realized that there is only so much that I can write about food and had more to say. Out of that realization, came a whiskey blog, which has been exciting to say the least. Eventually, I found more to write about, which became Penny Thoughts. I have written a few other things in between all of this too.
At some point, I decided that something needed to bring all of this together. That realization created OWF Media, the parent to all of my other creative endeavors. OWF is named after my three boys.
All of my current and future creative projects now fall under OWF. For me, it’s something that makes it all official, like I’ve finally accomplished something that will last. This is what I have created that started out as one blog post.