Brad Feld

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Letter To My First Mentor

Dec 02, 2006

I’ve received a lot of great comments and emails in response to my “Reflections on Mentors” post.  One of them was a note from my mom with a letter attached that I sent to my dad in 1988.  My dad was my first real mentor (and continues to have a huge impact on me.)  I wrote this when I was 23 – when my dad was 50.  One last piece of “mentor advice” – make sure you let your mentors know they are being helpful to you.

March 14, 1988

Dad Feld
Dallas, TX 75248

Dear Dad:

          I remember a sunny summer day about ten years ago. We were driving to Fort Worth in a white Corvette. You were about to deposit me at the Tut Bartzen tennis camp. We chatted about the upcoming week as we zipped down the highway. I was excited about seven days of non-stop tennis; you were probably excited about seven days of not having to deal with me. However, for that moment, we simply enjoyed the ride.

          I’ve learned from you that it’s the ride that counts. Today, I’m hanging out in my “eighties” apartment, with my lovely wife, playing the academician, paying my own way, and simply enjoying the ride. Without you, I might actually think some of this stuff was important. But I’ve learned from you that only the ride counts.

          It has been a long strange trip, hasn’t it… From spring Creek to M.I.T. From Betty Wonderly to Arzell Ball. From E.V. Scott to Richard Weinstein. From BAFB to Watertown to 7877 Alto Caro to 1 Devonshire Place. From Apple II to Fivestar AT. From Nike to Reebok. From Jack Kramer Autographs to Futabaya. From the Bowie Mustangs to the Dallas Marathon. From “See Dick Run” to “The Society of the Mind”. What a great ride. Thanks for being there every mile – I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you.