657 and 1…

Last night, I received a note from one of my clients – a young man better known to me as kman. Kman’s note was krazy in its ccd simplicity. “Pretty hard to believe, it’s been a crazy 5 years. Looking forward to the next 5.”

You see, 5 years ago, kman jumped out of the window to pursue his dream – his self authored OPUS. Kman founded Kaufman Development all by his lonesome. I can still remember the day when we stumbled onto 30 Warren and he saw something I couldn’t imagine in the saw dust, mess, and stinch surrounding this old brick building in need of some tender loving care. You see, entrepreneurs like kman, see things you and I miss. Where we see only the obvious current conditions, kman sees something beautiful in his minds eye. So, he launched himself headlong into the pursuit of his four pillars back in the day and BTL dove in headfirst beside him. Actually, we were just slightly behind him. You can never quite catch up with a soul on fire, friend…

I can remember wondering if BTL would work with a pure startup. We loved working with private companies but this was gonna be different, we were gonna begin BTL practice by hiring the kinda team we would want to practice beside. We had no idea. Five years ago kman made his first hire, his running mate, a man named Todd, better known to me as simply Z. Slowly these two began to build. Their first beauty, out in New Albany, will always be something special to me. OG, Reika, Julian, and soon Frankeethecfoinghonkeewithaconstantcough, came on board and brought their talents and unique perspectives to kman’s beautiful system. 600 Goodale, 801 Polaris, 250 High, and LVQ tower became the next beauties that kman and kompany turned into beauties beyond belief. Actually this team turned them into beauties filled with belief. Funny, huh.

Today kman’s krazies are approaching 30 souls on fire. Thirty might sound like nothing to most reading this rant, but 30 is, well, 30X growth in 5 short years. And, these 30 are productive beyond their relative small number. You see, these 30 were just recognized by Inc magazine as being in some rare company. These 30 have built a company ranked number 657 in the Inc 5000. From nothing to something. From startup to up and coming. From one to many who still practice. Kinda like the Navy SEAL’s (kman’s not krazy about this compare) these men and women of K-dev keep practicing. They never stop their pursuit of better. In fact, we’re on K-dev team practice 181 tomorrow. Crazy, huh…

Congrats team k-dev on reaching such dizzying heights as number 657. You are numero uno with me.

Thank you for your belief in BTL and each other. It’s been a beautiful mess being beside you through hard, happy, insensitive, insecure, beautiful, eye – opening, amazing, and tough, tender, transformational kinda practices. Pretty hard to believe it’s been five years, kman. It’s not hard to imagine the next five, however. We don’t know where, we don’t know how high, we don’t with how many, but we do know one thing – wherever it is, it will be good.

Correction. Great…

8 Comments

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8 responses to “657 and 1…

  1. A testament to the acute pain you bring day in and day out. Brilliant work Chet AND Kman

  2. David Deck

    You both are such an inspiration for jumping into the unknown as individuals distinctly and together deeply connected.

  3. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Brett

    Wow! Beautiful and thank you. The note I sent you was simple because the real prize is waking up every day loving my work and life. I’ve learned early through BTL that Inc and media ink are not the real prizes. It’s nice recognition, it’s a nice reminder to pause and feel gratitude for those around, but it’s back to work pretty quick.

    So thank you, thank you for everything, thank you mostly for your friendship, thank you for getting me to see who I am, continually pushing me to get better and for teaching me how to love my work and my life. The people on that list… That’s the real list, that’s the rare air. Thanks for that!

    Great!

  5. So good, kman. Happy to be on that list, my friend. So, so happy…

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