By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship
Last Friday, Wharton Entrepreneurship and the 2015 Perlman Grand Prize Winners of the Wharton Business Plan Competition, Tom Austin WG’15 and Zack Stiefler WG’15, founders of Bungalow Insurance, rang the Nasdaq opening bell.
I was thrilled to be there for the second time, seeing Tom and Zack’s faces light up with awe as they saw themselves on the 7-story tall video tower over Times Square. The ceremony itself was picked up by major news outlets, including CNBC.
It was over too quickly. After the bell ringing ceremony, we were ushered outside with brisk courtesy for a photoshoot with the tower, and then everyone went on with their days—going to work, catching a train home to Philadelphia, putting noses back to the entrepreneurial grindstone.
I hope that for Tom and Zack, as well as the other entrepreneurial students and alumni who joined us for the event, the glow of that moment lingers. It was, I imagine, a somewhat surreal moment of celebrity (as well as a lesson on its fleeting nature). But I want them to hold onto the tremendous validation of that moment, when the world watched and, however briefly, applauded.
There won’t be too many moments like that. Most of entrepreneurship is hard and slow, and I’m sure Tom and Zack are already too well aware. It’s late nights and setbacks, pivots and stumbling blocks, far more often than rounds of applause.
Take the applause while it lasts, guys, and use that energy to keep pushing forward, to work on this venture, or the next one, or the one after that.
And remember who was standing with you, not just for the applause, but for the months and years before: Wharton Entrepreneurship. We’re so proud of you. Now get back to work.