Robert Dexheimer



A story, judge not.


I hated going to class.

Actually, that’s not true; I hated not having the choice. Since missing a class in High School involves parents, paper, a skeptical secretary, and the almighty “absence note” I decided to circumvent the tyrannical system. And so began my first ever creative assignment.

I downloaded Photoshop (on Limewire, I feel old) , and taught myself how to use it. I stayed up all night fumbling through a world of layers, typefaces and line weights recreating the (actual) note pictured above. It was flawless—an exact replica. Next, I needed a catalog of well-written excuse notes. The kind with loopy and organized “mom” handwriting on a notepad bearing the logo of the company my dad worked for. Finally, it was time for monetization and freedom.

Over the next two years I sold hundreds of notes. I sold them to classmates I trusted, and who also believed in “absentee freedom”—a lesson in finding your audience. I released only a precious few every week—a lesson in supply and demand—and demand grew. By high school standards, I made some serious dough. When I was caught (of course I got caught) my guidance counselor invited my parents to school for a “family discussion.”

“Folks, what Robert has done is wrong, against school policy, an offense worthy of suspension.” He took a long pause followed by a hard swallow, “However, it was also creative, and very entrepreneurial.” The look on my parents’ faces were priceless. “If we can just find a way to unlock his creative, business-minded potential and steer it in a more positive direction, I think he may have a bright future ahead of him.”


I have been following that man’s advice ever since.