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Thinker

Everyone’s a Hero in Their Own Way

Who are your heroes?

When I was growing up, I watched a lot of football and baseball. My heroes at the time were San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice and the Oakland A’s leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson.

These men were my heroes because they inspired me with their athleticism and the way they dominated their respective sports by pouring their lives and energy into becoming the best players they could be. Jerry Rice has several NFL records including most career receptions (1,549), most career receiving yards (22,895), and most career touchdown receptions (197).

Similarly, Rickey Henderson dominated baseball with his skill of stealing bases. He holds the career record for most stolen bases (1,406) and most runs scored (2,295).

In the years since my childhood, my priorities have changed as have my ambitions and focus. However, there are still lessons I can take from my childhood and questions I can ask myself moving forward.

Who is at the top of their game in your industry?

Lately, I’ve spent time reading about startup founders through books and blogs, and I’ve also talked to local tech startup founders. Many men and women running their own businesses who inspire me for a variety of reasons.

1) Guts – People who start a small business inspire me because of their guts. It takes a lot of work to start a business, and even more work to find revenue, generate profit, and grow the business.

2) Community – Not all businesses are concerned with community, but many businesses in Seattle do show their care for the community through their involvement in a variety of local events.

One example locally is Nathan Kaiser of nPost. Nathan runs his business as a way for people to find jobs in the tech startup industry. NPost also sponsors pub crawls and holds frequent events with company demos and networking. These events aren’t solely about self promotion for the attendees — I’ve met several people who are also web developers, have had great conversations, and begun new friendships.

3) Success – It’s exciting to see founders who are passionate about their product and idea attain success.

Matt Mullenweg (wiki) began developing WordPress blogging software in 2002, left his day job in 2005, and founded Automattic in late 2005. The company and its software have been growing ever since to be used by more and more people with WordPress.com hosting millions of blogs, and WordPress open source software being downloaded millions of times.

4) Hope – One of the guiding themes of my life is hope. I’m always looking for sources of hope from stories, books, movies, and mostly importantly from real life examples.

My parents have been great examples to me. I’ve watched my dad and mom for 26+ years and have seen them go through ups and downs, but they always kept our family moving forward, kept my brothers and I safe, taught us, encouraged us, and helped us to grow into the fine people we are today ;).

You Might Be a Hero, Too
In the case of football, only one person can hold the record for most career touchdown receptions. In the case of business, there can only be one richest man in the world.

But we all have roles, we all have skills, we all know people, and we all have ideas. You can get help and give help.

Someday, you could be somebody’s hero. Maybe you already are.

(Title borrowed from the lyrics to “Everyone’s a Hero” from Dr. Horrible.)

By Calvin Freitas

I am a Senior Front-End Engineer in the Seattle area. I'm the creator of the Verses for Life website and app. I'm an Amazon veteran and currently living the startup life.