A Likeable Love Letter

A dirty diner in midtown.

A hot car stuck in gridlock.

A Mets-logoed recliner in a 400 square-foot wood-paneled apartment.

A folding table in an empty office in a Queens shopping mall.

A packed bar in Boston.

A soapy shower.

A staircase to the beach in Montauk in peak pandemic, mid-winter.

The Nine Zero Kimpton, Room 1111 (Make a wish!)

These are the scenes where my professional and personal life became one. These are the memories of an epic journey with my partner in all things. These are the spots that held the precious lightbulb moments that brought us to today. Today, when Dave and I announce that we have sold Likeable Media. Today, when Likeable is officially a part of 10Pearls, and so am I.

A Dirty Diner In Midtown

He hadn’t even proposed yet.

“Oh, I know how we will pull off the wedding you want.” I said casually while eating my Waldorf salad, hoping that whatever I said would excite him enough to want to take the jump. “We’ll just get married on a baseball field, and sell in sponsors. We will call it Our Field Of Dreams.”

The second I saw his face, I was terrified. I knew I opened a door that couldn’t be closed. And as it always was and always will be, off we went.

A Hot Car Stuck in Gridlock

Me, crying and overheated. “I cannot do this anymore. I cannot do this commute and miss Charlotte’s bathtime.”

Him, bathing Charlotte while she laughs hysterically. “So don’t. Be afraid of nothing. We can do anything. Just quit.”

The next day, I did.

A Mets-logoed Recliner in a 400 Square Foot Wood-paneled Apartment.

Him: “It’s gotta be something with our name. Kerpen. K? The wedding had a lot of buzz. Maybe KBUZZ?

Me: *furiously googles domains…. “Kbuzz is taken. How about theKbuzz?”

Him: “Let’s do it. theKbuzz: Buzz-Worthy Marketing Solutions”

Everyone thought we were a radio station.

A folding table in an empty office in a Queens shopping mall.

We bartered marketing advice for office space. In a mall. We created fun events, we got some press. We had some interns, and a couple of employees. One day, Dave runs up to the folding table where I was eating a salad from California Pizza Kitchen. He’s excited.

“We are in the business of Word of Mouth! Social Media is the fastest form of Word of Mouth! Now we are a social media agency!”

It was 2007. We were the first.

A packed bar in Boston.

It’s time to change our name.

Names shot across the table like spitballs.

“What about Likeable?” said an employee.

We all raised our glasses. And Likeable it was.

The “like” button launched a month later.

A soapy shower.

Dave had moved on from Likeable Media, and launched new businesses. I was left to lead, and had no idea how to do so.

Beyonce came on the radio. “All The Single Ladies”

All the Single Ladies.

All the Social Ladies.

I may not be able to lead the way Dave did, but I would try and lead my own way. I washed the soap off and emerged as a reluctant leader.

A staircase to the beach in Montauk in peak pandemic, mid-winter.

Every year, Dave and I take a professional “retreat”.

In the year of COVID, that retreat was a short drive out east to Montauk.

We talked about goals, and dreams, and who we have become, 14 years after getting married on a baseball field, after googling “KBUZZ”, after building a business and babies, and a whole life.

We decided together that Likeable could do more — much more. It deserved rocket fuel, to be part of something bigger. Leading while part of a larger organization was something that I wanted to try. I’ve not had a boss since I was 29 years old. Was it weird that I wanted one? Wanted people to learn from? Wanted to try new things?

It wasn’t weird, he said. It was right.

The Nine Zero Kimpton, Room 1111 (Make a wish!)

We signed. Likeable was a part of 10Pearls, a technology company with over 700 employees across the globe. I started shaking. I wasn’t happy, or sad, or anything really, except ready to fly. Together with this larger organization, I was going to lead our team to new heights. Maybe I was shaking because I knew how high we could go.

Dave and I have been #inittogether way before hashtags were a thing. A lot of the magic we made in the early days of Likeable had to do with that unlikely place where family meets fortune. I will forever remember that it was started in a dirty diner in Midtown, a hot car stuck in gridlock, and a Mets logoed recliner in a 400 square foot apartment in Little Neck, NY. We were and always will be the lucky ones, Dave, you and I. May our professional paths cross and uncross again and again.

So much magic still to come.

theKbuzz Office. Located at a mall in Queens. Complete with buzzy bee decal.

Mom of @charlottekerpen @sethkerpen and @princesskatekerpen. CEO @likeablemedia and married to @davekerpen. Usually smiling.