Trial By Fire: “Bullying Didn’t Hold Me Back”

Jonathon Feit was bullied, and he thinks that trial by fire gave him the kind of resolve an entrepreneur needs to succeed when all signs point to failure. But I didn’t know any of this when I met the EMS software CEO at a Silicon Valley Starbucks this spring.

I was there to hear him describe the day that he and his business partner, Chris Witt, walked up to a Dell executive at a healthcare event in San Francisco and pointed out that of all Dell’s products and services for that industry, none involved ambulances. Two weeks later Feit’s seven-employee startup was a Dell partner, combining the software his company had designed to connect first responders and hospitals with Dell’s field-ready hardware, solutions and channel support, and Feit’s David-like venture was off to the wars to face the Goliaths.

That’s a good story, but it’s not the one Feit ended up telling me. He introduced himself and then explained that he has a form of Tourette’s that involves facial twitching and uncontrolled eye movements. Feit said this matter-of-factly in order to answer the question that would most certainly come to my mind within a few sentences of our discussion. We moved on to our meeting, which didn’t make it to the subject of healthcare solutions until after we had traded tales about our careers in journalism, Feit’s time at the White House and in the military, and his memoir-in-progress about accomplishing all of the above in spite of – or possibly because of – having to contend with Tourette’s.

In no time we were filming “Bullying Didn’t Hold Me Back” (see video below). Look for more work from Dell on the topic of bullying, along with other thoughts for parents and kids about how to deal with practical issues from the tech disconnect to social media and beyond. What would you like to see?

Editor’s note: Originally published June 26th on Forbes: ‘Bullying Didn’t Hold Me Back’: The Story Behind the Video."

About the Author: Stephanie Losee, Managing Editor, Dell. See full bio.

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