How a Brain Aneurysm Turned Rich Palmer From a Job Seeker to a Job Provider

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Rich Palmer
Rich Palmer

“Throughout the experience—and continuing through today—I am compelled to persevere. I keep a steady head and go as fast as possible in the right direction.”

— Rich Palmer, Co-Founder, Gravyty

Rich Palmer was working happily in a technology company when suddenly he was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. It is a condition that involves bulging in the wall of a blood vessel. Rich underwent treatment and the long-drawn-out recovery process. It was, however, difficult for him to get back on his feet again and resume the ‘normal’ life. He says, “I knew I couldn’t go back to a normal job. I had a second chance at life and intended to take it.”

Persevering Through His Ordeal

That’s when he thought of becoming a job provider instead of a job seeker. “After several months of learning to walk and talk again, I set out to attend Babson College, the top-ranked school for entrepreneurship,” says Rich. This provided a solid foundation in his entrepreneurship journey. He wanted to connect with other people who were looking to start companies. He met his co-founder at Babson College, and they now run a growing venture-backed artificial intelligence startup, Gravyty, based in Boston that helps nonprofits with fundraising.

Throughout his entrepreneurship, Rich persevered every single day. “My personal experience provides a backdrop for how I approach entrepreneurship. Authors and experts say that startups are a ‘rollercoaster’ and be ready for high-highs and low-lows,” he says. However, Rich sees things a bit differently. He shares, “Having been through a trauma, and sharing these experiences with my co-founder, we approach the positive and stressful aspects of startup life with a level temperament.” He reveals his success mantra: ‘ride a flat rollercoaster.’ What it means is to keep a steady head and go as fast as possible in the right direction.

“I don’t believe that there is work-life balance as a founder. Work and life must intertwine in order to succeed. The aneurysm and long recovery have taught me to embrace mindfulness and healthy habits. I meditate and exercise regularly, continuously strive to learn, and make sure that I win the morning by getting up at 5 A.M.”

Rich shares that his company espouses these values as well. He cites an example wherein his company has an unlimited used-book budget. Anyone can buy any book as long as it is used – from Harry Potter to Computational Linguistics. The intention is to help the employees continuously learn while ensuring they don’t burn out.

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