Memory Bank is a reflection on a galvanizing moment in a founder’s journey — a rare glimpse into the human side of their relationship with entrepreneurship and money. Here, Tyler Denk, co-founder and CEO of Beehiiv, looks back on the work ethic he learned from his dad.
This story is written in the words of Tyler, as told to Mercury writer Shreeda Segan.
My dad never took a day off.
He worked at Social Security for 49 years. He made a deal to come in earlier and stay later in exchange for not working Fridays. He woke up at 4:30 am every morning, Monday through Thursday, to go to work, and came back around 6:30-7:00 pm.
He ran a car detailing business with his extra day off on Fridays. He would pick up people’s cars and spend six hours washing, polishing, and detailing them in the garage. It was super high-end. He waxed every detail, inside and out. That’s how he spent his Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
What stands out to me is that he never viewed the car detailing as work. He never dreaded it. It was never “shit, I need to do two cars today for more income.” Instead, it was, “I love detailing cars, driving cars, being around cars.” He would play his favorite Rolling Stones music in the garage and get to it.
He’d done that ever since I could remember, so I never thought twice about it. I’d be shooting basketball on the driveway and there he was, working on a car in the garage. But now, looking back, that work ethic — waking up early, finding a passion, and doing it without complaining — was pretty influential.
A positive approach to work has rubbed off on me. Find something that you like to do that you don’t perceive as work. I look forward to working. And I like the fact that the business we’re building today helps people turn their interests into successful newsletters, whether they’re writing about sports, politics, crypto, or something else. And with the different features and monetization tools that we’ve built, it’s even easier. If you take your interests seriously, there’s almost always going to be a path to monetization.