Edison turns 30 this year! Each Friday through year end, we'll be giving you a little blast from the past. True to the Edison Code, this photo blog campaign emphasizes an important fact that here at Edison we are candid — refreshingly and uncomfortably.
Our next Edisonian is a huge Pittsburgh fan (especially the Steelers & Penguins). He could live on steak & potatoes, and is a sucker for all animals—his family has 2 dogs, 15 chickens, 3 horses, and 2 sheep.
Edisonian of the Week: Gregg Michaelson - Then & Now
Q: Why did you choose to work at Edison Partners?
A: After spending many years in operating roles, I wanted the opportunity to work with and help entrepreneurs achieve their goals. After more than a year in the role, I can tell you that it has been incredibly rewarding to work with the Edison team and the leaders of many Edison portfolio companies. The best part of working here is that I learn something new every single day from a lot of really smart people.
Q: I think many of us have learned a great deal from you as well since you joined in 2014. Do you have any favorite stories or memories working here?
A: There have been lots of great moments, but the best memory I have is the 2016 CEO Summit dinner with the Warrior Games athletes. It was humbling and inspirational.
Q: Agreed. And, as far as special moments go, it will be hard to beat...but, let's talk 80s—What is the biggest difference between 1986 and now?
A: 30 years ago I used the original Macintosh (it wasn’t yet “Mac') and couldn’t believe that I didn’t need to use Whiteout for term papers anymore! I took to computers right away and was a huge fan of Lotus 1-2-3. Excel wasn’t even a consideration back in the day. Oh how things have changed. But in my opinion, the biggest change has been the ability to communicate digitally—we have digital friends we’ve never met, and with smartphones we now have the world at our fingertips anytime, anywhere. Downside—we don’t remember phone numbers, we have no sense of direction, we find it easier to text than talk.
Q: Yes, there are negatives to all the new technology but at least you can access all your favorite music a lot faster now right?
A: Yeah, REM was my favorite—from Athens, GA formed in 1980. Still listen to them today. Still love the 80s and 90s rock.
Q: What motto do you live by and how did you hear it?
A: “Give respect, get respect.” My grandfather was a small business owner and I was fortunate to learn a lot from him, especially how to deal with people. Quite simply, he believed that everyone should be treated with respect, no matter their station in life. I try to live by that standard.
Q: If you could have any superpower what would it be? Why?
A: The power to fly. It would allow me to avoid airports, which is currently an unavoidable part of my life.
Q: If you won the lottery, what would you do with your money?
A: Give a lot to charity, rebuild our barn, add a serious man cave, and buy Steeler season tickets and fly back for every home game.
Q: What is your idea of “paradise” or a dream vacation?
A: My paradise is to spend time with my family (my wife, son, and two daughters) on the beach on Long Beach Island—I personally love the quiet north end of the island. Have been going there for 15 years and it’s always great!
Q: How about something you are dying to try but have not yet?
A: Skydiving. One of my daughters just did it and she said it was the greatest thrill ever.
Q: Where do you see yourself 30 years from now?
A: I’m getting a bit old to answer that question with anything other than "6 feet under." However, I do hope that in 30 years I have lots of grandchildren and the ability to enjoy them.
Q: Best buisness advice you ever received and from whom?
A: That’s a tough one. I have gotten such great advice over the years. Earlier in my career a boss told me I must be wiling to make decisions that may end up being mistakes. He said, The biggest mistake people make is not making decisions. I also learned from the same guy that when things go right, give the credit to the team; when things go wrong, take the blame.
Q: What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: I can read minds...Well, I know how to read people very well—except when playing poker.
Standing tall at 6'4 and making a journey from his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to NYC for grad school and now living with his family on a beautiful farm in the Garden State, neither Gregg nor his story are easy to fit in a nutshell, but we certainly tried.
In 1986, Gregg was a Junior in college and enjoyed the wind in his hair on a Fall day at a University of Michigan football game with friends. Today, he's still a huge fan of his alma mater (sorry Chris Sugden) and enjoys taking on new opportunities like heading our most recent CEO Summit at West Point, NY this past summer.
We hope you'll join us on this #EdisonTurns30 campaign. Any and all contributions from our network are most welcome.