April, 2012 — There was something absurd about today. Ashton Kutcher standing next to me in a cramped office space, brainstorming viral marketing strategies for Dwolla. Him a multimillionaire with a ton of contacts and confidence, me a failed entrepreneur with literally $53.00 in the bank ($100.00 of which was borrowed from my mother-in-law… yep, do the math). As he continued to spout ideas and direction, I couldn’t help but chuckle. I was being coached by Ashton to do the same marketing strategies that a week previous had gotten me fired.
It was peculiar and ironic, surfacing so many dichotomous feelings in my soul. I must point out that Ashton was most gracious as he brought out the things we need to be doing, his ideas were clear, succinct and creative. In a word, it was a relief.
I found a him voicing a similar aesthetic in regards viral storytelling. In particular, the importance of organizational values, and how they should be intentionally articulated through the visuals, the fonts, the paper texture, the line width and even the choice of color.
The ironic part of it all, is that I was asked to leave the organization a week previous to Ashton’s visit. Being told my skill set did not match the needs of Dwolla, specifically my ideas on storytelling and viral marketing. In my “transition conversation” with management, it was communicated to me, the ideas I proposed didn’t fit the values of the company at our current state. Yes, they were good ideas, but they did not fit the budgetary conditions implied by the razor thin revenue margin at Dwolla.
So. This is the story I can now tell… the story of the ironic nature of my life at Dwolla, a place of unbound potential, in a world of restraint.