Why Does Getting Up at 4am Mean You’re Having Fun? – Written by Doug Neal

I’m not sure if you saw Robert Wolfe’s presentation last Friday at our Distinguished Innovator Speaker Series but if you didn’t, you missed an informative and entertaining 45 minute lecture on one of the most overlooked aspects to entrepreneurship… having fun!

As Robert spoke of his goals in starting his company, Moosejaw, shortly after graduating U-M and how he grew it into a $40mm per year Retail Empire he talked repeatedly about his singular and overriding goal of having fun in whatever he did, including his job.

He spoke about how he and his brother would engage the customers that walked through their door in sporting events held in the parking lot.  He spoke about the crazy ad campaigns they would dream up to catch people’s attention.  And he also spoke about how he kept a visa card processing machine next to his bed and fielded Internet orders 24 hours a day personally.

All the while, however, Robert was having fun.

It was this core objective that Robert had for making sure that everything his company and he did was fulfilling, rewarding and basically… fun, that propelled him to tremendous success.  It is, however, something we don’t often talk about and/or teach in the class room.  “Fun” is hard to put into a spreadsheet or discuss in a ROI calculation.

Robert, however, knew better.  He focussed on having fun while building his company.  While interacting with his customers he not only built relationships but also helped make the 20+ hour days tolerable…. dare I say, fun!

One student asked Robert towards the end of his presentation how many hours does Robert focus on work on a daily basis.  Remember now that Robert sold his company last fall and for most people this might mean that Robert’s days are filled with golf courses and relaxing at home but nothing could be further from the truth.

Robert’s focus on fun and innovation blend as one and for him, as it is for many entrepreneurs, there are just not enough hours in the day to have as much fun as you can stand in building your dream!

Wake up Robert, its 4am! 🙂


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