The dinner was phenomenal. Stuffed veal chop. Kosher! Sally was wearing a Sue Wong. I had on my tux. We were at the LaunchHouse Gala last Saturday evening at the Cleveland Skating Club. The people at our table were interesting. The dance band, terrific. Even the silent auction items were worth a bid or two.
How did we get here? All it required was a suspension of disbelief.
Two young guys, Dar Caldwell and Todd Goldstein, refused to accept what everyone knew to be true – that starting a business, any business, required a ton of money, that young people don’t want to stay in Cleveland, and that tech businesses can only be created on the coasts. Creating their incubator / business accelerator, Goldstein Caldwell and Associates, required a suspension of disbelief.
Todd and Dar were not alone. Last year they joined forces with the City of Shaker Heights. Through the leadership of Mayor Earl Leiken, and City Council members such as Nancy Moore, Lynn Ruffner, and Rob Zimmerman, Shaker’s Development Corporation created a special space for business in what had been an abandoned auto dealership. The City took a chance. The leaders chose to create instead of manage. They converted the building into a haven for people who refuse to accept conventional wisdom.
Dar, Todd, the City and others who were prepared to zig while everyone else zagged created LauchHouse. And Saturday night we were celebrating LaunchHouse’s success, dreaming of its future, and raising some of the money it will take to get us there.
We weren’t celebrating sizzle. We were celebrating steak or in my case, veal.