Fell0w bootstrapper, Ryan Pitylak writes a heartfelt and contrite article about his spamming days and the new direction he is now charting. I have had a number of emails and conversations with bootstrappers expressing concern about Ryan's leadership of Bootstrap Student and involvement with our community. I will outline my thinking and decision.
When Ryan and I first met I was aware of his spamming activities and we had a very long discussion about them. It became very clear to me that the lawsuit was a wakeup call and caused serious self-examination. I believed him when he explained that he had learned his lesson and was serious about redirecting his energy toward an integrity-driven entrepreneurial path. I decided to actively support him. I felt that I and Bootstrap Austin could do so in a unique way - by having him serve his community. I asked him to help co-found the first Bootstrap Student chapter at UT.
I believe strongly that we are all allowed to make mistakes and should be supported when we learn from them and change our direction for good. I'm reminded of Sir Richard Branson's candid account in his autobiography, Losing My Virginity, about the time as a young bootstrapper when he illegally shipped records across the border to avoid tax. He was raided by the police and realized an incredibly valuable lesson: without his reputation, he had nothing. He resolved to never take short cuts or break the law, no matter how alluring or lucrative. Sir Richard's book is on the Bootstrap must-read list and also the subject of our next Bootstrap Book Club discussion. (We will have a podcast on the Boot Rap).
I'm very excited to support Ryan and I look forward to seeing how this new chapter unfolds, both in his individual bootstrapping adventures and continued involvement with the Bootstrap community. I will add that he has done a wonderful job along with his Bootstrap Student cofounder, Michael Griffin.
We are watching and supporting you Ryan - make us proud!