Today, dear friends, Metonymy Media turns six years old. Writing that sentence alone has my jaw pulling back and shivers running down my spine. It’s overwhelming not because I have some obsession with the number six, or even because it’s a nice thing to celebrate the anniversary of something very important in my life. This feels big to me because the whole idea of “six years” is something I’ve thought about a lot since that frenzied September day in 2011, the day after my mother’s birthday, when I spent the last $60 in my checking account to incorporate a company with a name I should have never chosen.
Many businesses fail in less than two years, I remember reading as I reeled in what was admittedly a bit of a gut reaction to a sudden opportunity to sign a bigger contract with a good client. Most are shuttered within five years, and those founders that are successful can expect to forego a steady paycheck for most of that time.
If I’d known how true that was, and how close Metonymy Media would come to hitting the ground over the last six years, maybe I wouldn’t have signed up for the flight. Most of the time I didn’t realize that we were little more than a late check away from folding until months after the fact. For many years, I lulled myself into this belief that it was entirely normal to work myself tired, only to lose the sleep I needed to anxiety, without getting paid a dime for it. If I think about my history with business ownership from my vantage point today, it would be really easy to focus on how unbelievably and unspeakably hard it is to put it all on the line for a passion. How lucky we must have been to make it through each tough month.
But that’s not what I’m doing today. No. Today, my beautiful and sassy reader, I’m eating Business Lobster.
Well, not just me. The whole team. We’re heading out to Rick’s Cafe Boatyard on the west side to eat some of the best seafood in a city that couldn’t be farther from the sea because we’ve had a really busy couple of months, damn it, and because it is our tradition at Metonymy Media to occasionally enjoy some Business Lobster. We don’t do it often, because then it wouldn’t be special, but we have done it when we were barely holding on and we have done it after finishing a huge project and today we’re doing it because six years means we didn’t fold after two years or five or five-and-a-half. Six years means that we might all be stressed with the many sprawling projects we’ve got on the docket right now, but we still get to wake up and do this thing every day. We get to be writers in a world where that’s one of the hardest things to get to be.
As far as traditions go, Business Lobster is pretty thin. All we do is go eat lobster, during business hours, using a business credit card. That’s the whole thing. But it’s just one of many traditions that have developed around Metonymy Media these past years, each one a small but critically important part of my memories and my love for this thing we’ve built here. There’s the Cupcake Game, too (which, if any old employees of Metonymy are reading this, is still going on but has not been won since about 2015). We used to have Gin Fridays. Now they’re We Assume Everybody is Working From Home Unless We Have a Meeting So Darcy Please Don’t Schedule a Meeting Fridays. We have Lake Weekends. Nate’s Nickname in High School. The Great Intern Pi Day Quest. WordLab Mondays. First Fridays in the Green Room. I’m not sure if it’s a tradition, but my echoing screams of rage trying to keep our kegerator running have certainly become woven into this cultural fabric, too.
Some of these traditions are in the past and were left behind when members of our team found new jobs, or moved to new cities, or left to pursue new passions. Few of the traditions make any sense. But these are the things that I think of and smile about whenever I think about what my life is day-in and day-out, and these are the things that no business writer warned me about on September 13, 2011.
Am I proud to have taken my vision and made it a reality? You bet. Is my wife glad that I’m finally earning a paycheck on a normal schedule? Undoubtedly. But if there’s one thing I’m most proud of, one thing that I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world, it’s what the last six years have given me in these little traditions, these everyday parts of life that give our business a flavor all its own. It’s the people who, at any time and for however long, have decided to trade in whatever else they could have been doing to come and write with me. To strategize, to sell, to build, to fight, to grow. To eat Business Lobster.
Thank you to our clients who have trusted us, even as we grew and found our legs. Thank you to our vendors and partners who have helped give us a look and feel and sense of our legal obligations to the Internal Revenue Service. Thank you to friends who have supported us, and to family who have given every member of our team their blessing to give this tiny company a shot, despite whatever reservations they may have rightfully had. And most of all, thank you to each and every one of my employees, past and present, wherever you are today. Each one of you contributed something invaluable to Metonymy Media, and I can’t express how much that means to me every day.
Here’s to six years of the little things. Here’s to what comes next. Here’s to you, my gorgeous and charismatic reader. May you find your Business Lobster in life, whatever that means to you.