Did you break down your Wall today?


Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

If you have come to this site you are probably interested in raising money for your startup or growing venture – thanks for stopping by…

I also appreciate all those people who reach out via the contact page or twitter – always happy to help whenever I can…

Now there are hundreds if not thousands of blogs out there written about the Venture Capital community – if this were just another one of those sites I’d pack up and go do something more useful…lets face it, anything would be more useful than yet another one of ‘those’ sites.

So, rather than write yet one more article which you could read somewhere else – I thought I’d add a slightly different take on what makes today ‘special’.

As you all know, today is the 20th year Anniversary of the bringing down of the Berlin Wall. Yep, twenty years since the physical divide between Eastern and Western Germany was torn down the people of Germany were allowed to move freely.

Throughout the day, a few ideas have been bubbling up – why did the wall get brought down then? And why, perhaps as important, why did it stand for so long? Why was it allowed to stand, dividing a country, for thirty years as people died trying to escape from one side to the other?

Doesn’t it strike you as odd?

Hundreds of thousands of people walked along the graffiti ridden walls for decades, allowing soldiers with rusting guns to stop them from going where they wanted to go. But, on November 4th,  nearly half a million people gathered together and demanded to be allowed to cross the border without hindrance – five days later they got their way.

Why am I bringing this up?

Well, the Berlin Wall was only effective as long as everyone believed that it would always be there. Thousands of people walked along it, brushing their fingertips along the deteriorating concrete and dreamt of what life would be like on the other side – but most of them never truly believed that the wall would ever come down, that they could ever break through to a better life, a life of freedom and economic abundance. But one day, as the thought that maybe, maybe the wall really could be smashed through – that thought grew and spread, until enough people started to believe it and to come together with enough passion to face down the threats and allow the burning heat in their hearts to rule their heads and overcome their fears.

That thought became a belief, a conviction and its what allows people to smash through their own walls and push through to the freedom of creating a life of which the had only previously dreamt.

Just as the Berlin Wall signified the divide between two ideologies – we each of us has walls inside of ourselves – walls where we tell ourselves to “play it safe”, “Keep doing what we’re doing and not risk it…” to in effect, keep walking along that divide between the life we have and the life we could and perhaps should have. We walk along, our fingertips brushing along the barriers and wondering what our lives would be like on the other side.

I have spent the last few months creating a set of tools to help entrepreneurs learn the steps to raise the money they need for their new businesses from investors – but in the last few weeks, I’ve found myself hesitating – slowing down as I get closer and closer to finishing and I haven’t been able to understand why. But seeing that wall come down toay, has made me wonder…perhaps I have my own walls.

…its true that I have started different businesses, have helped entrepreneurs start businesses and get ready for investment – I’ve always taken to heart that ‘the only constant is change’ – but I am realizing that I have become used to helping individual entrepreneurs….I am comfortable working with each of them to create the pitch and the plans to help an investor see the potential of their business…

…but a set of tools, a course that gives entrepreneurs an easy to follow process and tools they can use over and over again throughout their careers to raise investor funds….well, that’s on a whole new level…and it makes me nervous…why? I have no idea – perhaps just because it’s different, perhaps I’m concerned that the tools won’t be any good…or even that they’ll be too good…can you image what being able to tap into a flow of investor funds whenever you need it for your businesses as you succeed in your business career? Whew! Scary stuff!

Looking at images of the Berlin Wall coming down on the various news stations today, there is one thing that is certain – even though the future may be unclear and just a little nerve-wracking, you can only truly change your life if you are prepared to break down those walls, whenever and wherever you find them…

So – let’s break down those walls together and make the life of our dreams.

As always, I appreciate any comments you may have or feel free to send me a note directly – I respond to them all (well, all except the crazy one and the spam….a guys gotta have standards you know….)

To your entrepreneurial success…


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  • Matt Sitelman
    November 20, 2009

    Interesting perspective. I thought you were going to take it somewhere different. It seems to me that “would-be” entrepreneurs perceive a new paradigm based on the removal of a wall or barrier. Successful entrepreneurs get half a million people to show up and force the barrier to crumble based on their perception of what could be.

  • Matthew Ogston
    November 21, 2009

    Thanks for the article Andrew, I’m glad to hear that it’s not just me who believes passionately in what I do, but then hesitates because something is ‘too new’. I love working in a changing landscape – it is often I who is changing it. But belief comes from within – influenced from outside. Stubborness goes a long way too.

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