I’m still getting used to mentioning I’m a candidate for Congress with each person I meet, no matter if someone I already know or someone new.

With just a few weeks into the campaign launch, I’m also noting some common reactions.

For some that know me, there is that momentary pause as they process what they’ve just heard.

I interpret this as a bit of the surprise factor as they didn’t see it coming. After all, only politicians run for an office like Congress, and they know I’m not a politician.

Then there are those that jump right to the question of “Which party?” Sometimes done with a bit of raised eyebrow, as if poising to deliver some sharp questions based on the answer.

When I respond that I’m running on the Independence Party line, it definitely puts most people into pause to process territory, followed by either:

– “Why are you doing that?” Which based on the tone, is roughly translated as – “Don’t you know that doesn’t make sense?”


– An affirmation along the lines of “That’s awesome. If there was ever a time to be running as an independent, this would be the election cycle to do it!”

My wife Krista, who has been with me and observed some of these interactions, pointed out that the one group of people who are neither surprised nor questioning are entrepreneurs (or others immersed in the startup community) – they are universally positive with support and understanding from the first moment.

Krista also reminded me how many times we’ve heard the “Why are you doing that?” retort when sharing news of our past decisions like starting TriNet, leaving Silicon Valley to return Upstate or starting our non profit Upstate Venture Connect.

Seems that even in this fast changing world we live today, there are many still stuck in the pattern of expecting others to do things only in line with how convention works. It is the entrepreneurs that do indeed think differently.

After all, you do have to be a bit off the usual track to start a business when the competition is intense and win rate seems low. But notwithstanding long odds, people keep doing it and their success is what’s responsible for driving job creation and growing communities.

So I guess I’m starting to see more parallels between starting a company and running for office. However daunting both might seem to be, taking on challenge for the purpose of having an impact is more energizing than anything I can think of.