Thursday, March 22, 2012

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 23: Jed Emerson

Jed Emerson
"The most important thing is the music.  It's all about the music," Jed insisted.  

The scene was Colorado, many years ago.  I was in a deep funk, because GlobalGiving, which had just launched, was going nowhere fast.  I was run down, bleeding cash, and almost ready to throw in the towel.  At some point, I met this guy named Jed Emerson, and he invited me to come out to visit his new place in the wilds of Colorado.  

Jed had an interesting background running a nonprofit and teaching, but he was not a potential funder or user of the site, and I had no direct business reason for going.  As far as I could tell he was just some wild man with ideas about things like blended value.  

But something told me I should get on the plane anyway, and Mari told me it would do me good to get the heck out of Dodge, so I did.

Jed and I spent a couple of days in the deep snow in the outback of Colorado doing nothing in particular - mostly walking his dogs in the freezing cold and shooting the breeze and talking about relationships gone bad.  And listening to music.  Jed was all over the heavy metal stuff - groups like Stone Temple Pilots and The Marvins -  which he listened to at high volume while writing his books and articles. 

As I was flying back to DC, I thought to myself, "Well, crap, I have to keep going.  I can't give up now."  I had no blinding insight or a huge surge of energy. The feeling was more subtle.  But I knew I could not quit.  

So I went back to DC and started listening to more music.  Jed's tastes were a little heavy for me (please don't tell him), but I did start cranking up the Flaming Lips and My Morning Jacket, and the music helped keep me going.  I haven't seen Jed much over the past ten years, but I sure have listened to a lot more music. (Right now I'm listening to Steve Earle.)

Yesterday, I was on a conference call with Jed, and I thought back to that trip to Colorado, and how far things have come over the past decade.  It wasn't possible on the call to explain to Jed how pivotal that trip was for me.  Or to tell him that GlobalGiving has now mobilized nearly $100 million from 250,000 donors to build the platform and fund 5,000 projects in 130 countries.  Or that we broke even in 2011.

So let me say this here, loud and clear: Thank you, Jed.