Leaders & Daughters - To My Daughter

To My Budding Entrepreneur


Dear Chloe,

You arrived in a hurry, avoiding birth in a taxicab by only a few minutes. It turned out the umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck, and your quick escape dodged possible tragedy. Even then, you knew what you needed to do – and you’ve been doing things your own way ever since.

You taught yourself to play piano after quitting the lessons you dreaded. You taught yourself to dance by watching YouTube videos and got one of the best dance scholarships in America. You taught yourself to skateboard, then made a YouTube video so others could emulate.

Sometimes, this prodigal self-reliance makes it challenging for your mom and I. (We used to joke that your name should have been “No-e.”) But we also recognize that such assuredness has been nurtured in boys for centuries; combined with humility, it’s what makes great leaders, great entrepreneurs. Your favorite television show: Shark Tank, of course.

I love watching Shark Tank with you, and the hours we spend together hatching ideas and honing pitches for Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran. (Your latest : a way to affix peoples’ faces onto tires, so that cars can be personalized.) There’s no problem that, through your eyes, doesn’t have a solution. For most of human history, it was the men cast as doers, the women as supporters, but you’re completely sure it’s you who will be doing the solving.

As your father, I’ve tried to encourage that. I coach your softball team not to make you a great player, but so that a bunch of girls gain confidence playing as a team. I tutor you in math because the boys in class want you to think you’re less adept than they are. We went to see the inspiring Malala to underscore the power of one young woman.

But ultimately, as with all great entrepreneurs, your drive comes from within. That’s the secret sauce. You were lucky that you were born with such conviction, and it’s now up to you to nurture it.

Keep pushing, not to do everything perfectly, but to make yourself a better person. Read for inspiration. Try new things, which will develop greater knowledge. Embrace failure, as long it comes with a lesson. And never, ever stop believing that one girl, young woman or full-fledged adult can make a difference.

If you’re leading, Chloe, I’m right behind you.

Love, Dad.

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