Success blossoms out of failure for Jeremy Bloom

LOVELAND — Out of dreams grew achievement. But out of failure grew something more important — the ability to move on and rebuild for a new day.

Loveland native Jeremy Bloom, world ski champion and National Football League athlete, knows both success and failure. He told about it at the Loveland Business Appreciation breakfast Wednesday morning.

Bloom was a three-time world champion skier and an 11-time World Cup medalist when he earned his way onto the 2002 U.S. Olympic team to represent the nation in Salt Lake City. There, he finished ninth.

In 2006 at Turin, Italy, he moved up to fourth but failed to medal.

“The spotlight is really bright,” he said in describing the experience. “It’s hard to deal with the pressure.”

While he presented his best face to the cameras after failing to medal, he admitted losing his composure in his hotel room. “But in the disarray came an idea. I call it the 48-hour rule. I take 48 hours to distill everything I’ve learned from the experience, then move on. Failure isn’t going to define me.”

Within the same week of failing to medal at Turin, he flew to Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine — the tryout camp where young athletes display their abilities before the coaches and owners of NFL teams. A month later, he was drafted in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Injuries sidelined him there, and he ended up playing pre-season only. He moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers where he was cut.

During his time at the NFL, he was enrolled at Wharton, the business school at the University of Pennsylvania. There, his interest in business and technology grew.

In 2008, Bloom founded the Wish of Lifetime nonprofit, which fulfills wishes of people in their 80s, 90s and 100s. The stories of the recipients of the nonprofit inspired him.

“I would ask for their advice and it would always fall into four categories,” he said. He listed the categories as:

  1. Live life with a bias toward ‘yes.’ Try to find a way to say yes.
  2. There is no doubt that life is unfolding as it should.
  3. Carve your own path.
  4. We only get one body. Take care of it.

“‘Never stop moving’ was a common theme among this older generation,” he said.

In 2010, he embarked on his first private, for-profit venture, a tech company called Integrate Inc., a business-to-business software company helping companies solve demand-marketing problems.

The company began in a basement near the University of Denver. It is now headquartered in downtown Phoenix.

Bloom shared the lessons that have risen out of his mixed experience.

  • Performance should add value to the team.
  • Entrepreneurial effort should build a foundation on which to build.
  • Radical candor helps teams “be real with one another.”
  • Take ownership. “Be the CEO of your job.”
  • Humility — business owners many times spend more time with co-workers than with family. It helps to be humble.

“Don’t allow failure to define you. Out of failure comes success,” he said. “When you fail, move on. Encourage yourself to learn from those moments.”