This Is It
Many years ago I got very lucky and rode my motorcycle into a warehouse where a band of engineers was building applications on top of a new payments platform called PayPal. This was the very beginning of a collection of companies that would infamously be dubbed the PayPal Mafia, and I had just ridden my motorcycle into it.
I also had a little plane, when I had little else, and this novelty became a sort of calling card for me to the New Economy. Of average intelligence and little wealth, I needed a force multiplier. I was a farm kid but knew the world was changing. I suspected I should have been born a generation before with my love of analog things. “Don’t play the odd man out” my grandfather, a farmer, said. So I lied and cheated my way into Dartmouth, then the cockpit, then a warehouse south of Market Street in San Francisco.
The simple plane with its steam gauges and basic principles of lift and yaw became my party trick to get invited places. I could now start conversations with hard to reach people. Not only could I now reach remote places, I had a conversation starter for people well above my pay grade. Just as I spent my summers delivering goods and people deep into the largest wilderness in the US, I now had a story that delivered rare and unusual people into the hands of the new economy. The plane informed the paper.