Entrepreneurs and Hope

The only people in the world with hope right now are entrepreneurs. And that’s why they get things done.

Depression, economic or psychological, is paralyzing. Most of the big shots I know are peeing in their custom fitted pants right now.  They don’t know what to do next.


Not my friend Mark Salustro, who is a supplier to the construction business in Phoenix, Arizona — the worst real estate market in the world, to paraphrase Keith Olbermann.

Mark segued out of the carpentry business and into the steel truss business, a move he made when he saw the price of lumber going up during the upturn. Now he designs and builds steel trusses, using software to design and automated processes to build. He actually has a small conveyor belt moving through a cabin that contains a saw and cuts the trusses. It is rudimentary automation, but it works really well. It allows him to both design and manufacture with a staff of two.

I had brunch this morning with him after yoga, and I asked him if he had work.  Yes, he has work, he says, and he’s talking to Saudi Arabia, France, and Italy, all of whom  have found him over the internet. While during the upturn he had to argue with people to get them to consider steel trusses, there has suddenly been a move in the direction he thought was necessary all along.

“When you see a commercial building using wood, it looks wrong,” he says.

I’ll say. The movement to LEED certification and green building has accelerated the move from lumber to steel. Mark, who had his share of problems due to rapid growth during the good times, is destined to survive and thrive in the bad. It’s because he has hope.

Hope also characterizes the entrepreneur who started Takeda Thai in Scottsdale, Arizona about a month ago. He and his wife have the best ingredients, the most authentic recipes, and the most beautiful decor I have seen in a Thai restaurant, all in a nondescript strip center just east of Scottsdale Road and south of Shea Blvd. in Scottsdale. They are upbeat about developing a following based on quality, and I didn’t even remind them we are in a recession.  Instead, I promised I’d come back.


Here’s their grand opening offer, in case you are in the neighborhood.

Without hope, we all sit on our thumbs. I’ve always felt there is a lot of upside to following the people who have hope.





About the author

Francine Hardaway, Ph.D is a serial entrepreneur and seasoned communications strategist. She co-founded Stealthmode Partners, an accelerator and advocate for entrepreneurs in technology and health care, in 1998.