Planning is Guessing

A plan is simply a guess you wrote down Busting your ass planning something important? Feel like you can’t proceed until you have a bulletproof plan in place? Replace “plan” with “guess” and take it easy. That’s all plans really are anyway: guesses. So next time you’re[…]

Steeped in History

Dim sum at Nom Wah Nom Wah Tea Parlor is New York Chinatown’s oldest dim sum restaurant. For decades, it served Cantonese dumplings and rolls in the traditional way, from trolleys pushed around the restaurant. When Wilson Tang took over Nom Wah in 2011, he switched[…]

Solo Act

Illustration by Nate Otto Bruce Roper never planned to start a business. As a teenager, he wanted to be a Beatle. As an adult, he moved to Chicago after a brief stint running a music store and began fixing guitars. Over the next quarter century, Bruce[…]

Clothes Call

Illustration by Nate Otto Here’s a story for all you Cubs fans out there, or anyone who’s ever wondered: Who makes the championship t-shirts you see players wearing in the locker room right after they win the game? Marathon Sportswear in Blue Island, Illinois is one of[…]

Ditch the elevator pitch

If there’s true interest, there’s no rush — take your time to listen first and explain second There’s no shortage of lore about the importance of the elevator pitch. There’s the 1850s version, in which inventor Elisha Otis’s dramatic demonstration of his innovation — a safety brake that keeps elevators from[…]

Quitting

How do you know when it’s time to quit? We all know people all over the spectrum. Someone who’s been working on something forever that’s never going to work out. And someone who quits every project they start before giving it a fair chance. Then we[…]

Enter the dot matrix

Illustration by Nate Otto Troy Henikoff was a college student in 1984 when he wrote his first program, a piece of software to help his grandfather’s steel warehouse manage their inventory. That summer project led Troy to start his own software consulting business a couple years[…]

The Myth of the Overnight Sensation

https://medium.com/media/06cff448f275dc01ba155f019baeb145/href Before the viral unicorn poop video, before the appearances on Shark Tank and Dr. Oz and Howard Stern — Bobby Edwards was showing his invention at conventions and sending it to alternative health bloggers in hopes of getting coverage. The invention? Squatty Potty, a plastic stool[…]

Neighborhood Fixture

Illustration by Nate Otto The Distance is back from our holiday hiatus with new episodes every other Tuesday! Our new story is about a kind of business you might have thought was pretty much extinct: the neighborhood appliance and furniture store. Kevin Krasney’s grandfather opened Cole’s[…]

Peaked?

A writer had a rough go of getting a book published. Even after he’d written plenty of short stories for magazine publications, he started his hand at writing books. But nothing hit. His fourth attempt at a novel really gave him some fits. He finally finished[…]