I have always enjoyed doing a lot of things at once. In high school, I was one of the kids that tried to do it all. AP classes (I took them all except Physics), music (I was in choir and jazz band all four years), leadership (I was senior class president), and sports (well, actually I didn’t do any sports.)
In college, at the University of California, Berkeley, I found a way to triple major in four years with economics, environmental economics, and environmental sciences, but decided that was unnecessary. Instead, I graduated with just a bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences and a bachelor’s in Economics with one semester to spare. That last semester I took acting, music, and Latin. I earned a 4.0 including one A-plus; it was my favorite semester at Cal.
A few years later, I was able to get a master’s in public policy at Harvard University and a MBA at MIT simultaneously. There were four of us in the dual Master’s program at Harvard and MIT that year so I decided to do something different: I started a business.
That business was Scripped: one of the first online screenwriting applications to make waves in Hollywood. It eventually attracted 80,000 screenwriters, which might have been 80% of the screenwriting population at the time.
The problem was it didn’t make enough money, so I launched more businesses. I built a web development consultancy for governments, a mobile campaign donation canvassing app, and a product to help bartenders fill pitchers of beer. I sold my stake in the government consultancy for $5,000 and bought a couple of nice road bikes. The other businesses petered out.
Scripped almost died too, but we were able to pivot the business into the growing content marketing field and raised $18 million dollars of venture equity and debt to rapidly expand it. We renamed the business Scripted and against all odds it is still alive and well today, seven years later.
In the midst of that turmoil, I did what I do: I built another business. This time in the sales technology market. I called it Toofr, named after one of the characters in 30 Rock.
Toofr was a clever way to find business email addresses, and I decided to do all of the coding, design, and marketing myself. No business partners or investors, just me. It launched in early 2013 and within three years it was paying me more than my day job.
Toofr was always a side business. I kept my day job with Scripted because Toofr didn’t require more than an hour of attention per day, and I could easily manage it after hours. Even after I started a family, Toofr kept humming along: paying off my graduate school debt and helping us save for a house in the pricey San Francisco Bay Area.
You don’t need to be superhuman like Jack Dorsey or Elon Musk and run multiple public enterprises at once. This book is about how the rest of us can leverage parallel processes to change our lives and find financial freedom.
My objective is to share what I’ve learned, the patterns I’ve found in the way that others have done it, and lay down a framework so that you can do it faster and better than the rest of us.