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You Can’t Cook Pizza Rolls on an Open Fire

You can’t cook pizza rolls on an open fire and you can’t quit your job for a startup with your friends.

Rules have their place but some rules are meant to be splintered and snapped – rules like the one that stops you from spending Thanksgiving on vacation in an Appalachian mountain house with your college friends.

The wheels touched down and no more than thirty minutes later we found a watering hole – beers, burgers, and an always-present banter on just how bad everyone else’s football teams were. At the cabin, the rabbit ear antenna wasn’t giving us much more than brief flashes of hazy signal, just enough for us to know that the Longhorns were close to covering the spread.

Good thing cabin weekends don’t require TVs.

We hiked the leaf covered hills of Boone, grilled burgers – served plain, as Aaron forgot to toss ketchup in the cart at WalMart, and sat around the campfire one-upping each other’s ‘work-is-so-terrible’ stories.

We joked, jabbed, and tried to MacGyver life hacks to find more free time for vacations as the three-day reunion began to disappear faster than our food supply. It was unanimous; pizza rolls for our final dinner sure beat the long drive into town to find a grocery store.

“The microwave is free. You can’t cook pizza rolls on an open fire, man” echoed down to us at the fire from a buddy preparing his Chef-Totino-inspired spread inside the cabin the old-fashioned way.

What came next was – at the time – just another insignificant moment of vacation rebellion among friends. What it ended up being – just over a year later – was one of those life-changing moments that you never forget.

Jordan finished his PBR tallboy, shrugged off the conventional advice, and tossed the aluminum foil bundle of pizza rolls on the fire.

“Why not?”

“Why can’t you cook pizza rolls on an open fire? Why can’t you quit your job for a startup with your friends?”

He didn’t have to finish. The two of us were already on board. While everyone joked about it earlier, Jordan wasn’t joking anymore.

Five minutes later we feasted on the smoked pizza rolls. Six months later we submitted departure notices to our employers. Twelve months later we launched The Folde.

Here’s to next year.

Mark is one of the three co-founders of The Folde that sat by the fire that brisk night in the mountains. In between working freelance for outdoor companies and taking his cat for walks on a leash, he tries to keep his head afloat in the over-popularized, under-compensated world of startup businesses.


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