When I got out of BC Law in 1985, I went to work at IBM. I spent almost 10 years at the company, in both legal and business jobs, and had a chance to live and work in New York, Florida, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul. I left IBM in 1994, and spent the next eight to nine years doing international work for a number of tech and internet companies, spending two to threeÂ weeks each month on the road. I was doing exactly what I had dreamed of doing when I first had thought about going to law school.
Things all changed when I had a kid, Andrew, now almost 16. Traveling wasn’t as much fun, and by 2002, I had begun to think about other options that did not include getting on an airplane.
When I was living in Tokyo I had played in a band with a bunch of other expats. We all had high-powered, good paying jobs, but what we really looked forward to each week was getting together on a Saturday afternoon to play music. It struck me back then that, for a lot of us, playing music was just a fun thing to do, like golf or tennis, but that unlike most other recreational activities, there was no place where musicians could go to play music when they felt like it. In 1994, I put that idea in my pocket and went back to work.
In 2003, I pulled that idea out of my pocket and put it into action. I created JamSpot–a simple, comfortable, and convenient place where people can play music when they want to. We opened our first JamSpot in Somerville in 2004, and then another one in Wakefield in 2008. We’ve had our ups and downs, but overall business has been pretty good. More than 10,000 musicians from all over the world have played at JamSpot and, after 12 years, we’re a well-established part of Boston’s music infrastructure.
I am often asked whether my training and experience as a lawyer was helpful in starting and running JamSpot. It was, and it is. I use the skills I developed practicing law almost every day, whether it’s being able to break down a complex problem into more manageable components, to consider and assess both sides of an issue, or to just be more thoughtful about how we do things as a business. I’m not sure that I had these skills when I left BC Law in 1985, but 20 years in the trenches have made them almost second nature.