October 5

Keep Going. Don’t Give Up.

Last week was a big week for us at Product Collective. We put INDUSTRY on in-person for the first time since 2019. But it was a big week for me, personally, too.

A few weeks back, I had challenged myself to bike the entire Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail – a multi-use trail that follows part of the former route of the Ohio & Erie Canal in Northeast Ohio. From one end in downtown Cleveland, Ohio to the other in a small town in Dover, Ohio – the trail runs just over 90 miles long. And I was attempting to bike the entire thing on a solo ride.

For an avid cyclist, this is probably nothing more than a fun half-day adventure. However, I am not an avid cyclist. I’ve never gone on a ride more than 25 miles in one trip (and that was years ago!). I enjoy riding my bike in the park recreationally, but that’s the extent of my experience.

Even still, last Friday at 9:45am – I started my ride out of Downtown Cleveland on the towpath – partly excited and partly scared, if I’m being honest. Soon after starting, I found a crumpled up hand-written note from my 10-year old son tossed in my bag, which simply read, “Keep Going, Don’t Give Up.”

Just five small words. But that note kept me motivated the entire ride. And sure enough, about ten hours later, I found myself at the very end of the Towpath. (Well, close to the end – it turned out that the Towpath actually closed off at Mile 75 that day).

We all have our own journeys, whether in product or in life. And oftentimes, we find ourselves on journeys where we’re also partly excited, but also partly scared… not knowing if or how we’ll make it to the end. So, let me be the one to put a note in your bag. The words will be the same one my son scribbled.

Keep Going. Don’t Give Up.

Mike Belsito

About the author

Mike Belsito is a startup product and business developer who loves creating something from nothing. Mike is the Co-Founder of Product Collective which organizes INDUSTRY, one of the largest product management summits anywhere in the world. For his leadership at Product Collective, Mike was named one of the Top 40 influencers in the field of Product Management. Mike also serves as a Faculty member of Case Western Reserve University in the department of Design and Innovation, and is Co-Host of one of the top startup podcasts online, Rocketship.FM. Prior to Product Collective, Mike spent the past 12 years in startup companies as an early employee, Co-Founder, and Executive. Mike's businesses and products have been featured in national media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Mike is also the Author of Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of us, one of the top startup books on Amazon.


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