How Stevie & Erik met Business Mogul Dan Gilbert!

Stevie Soul Dan Gilbert
October 19th, 2012 by Erik Torenberg
Founder at, Detroit itself was born from a freestyle. I didn’t know, nine months ago, at Startup weekend Ann Arbor, that I would even pitch the concept, let alone pursue it full time in Detroit.

I had had the idea for over a year, and thought it was good, but wasn’t sure others would agree. Well, Why Not, I thought, and grabbed the mic.

Today, after the competition accomplishments, after the national press, after all the excitement and learning and even though we have not yet launched — not even begun — the experience has convinced me that—

Sometimes, you just have to freestyle. Even when people are listening.


It’s the morning of the Quicken Family Reunion, where CEOs from around the country have flown in to connect, contemplate, and collaborate.

Stevie, a team member, and I are in the bathroom, in adjacent stalls. He busts out the beatbox. I reply with some rhymes.

After about three minutes, we suddenly hear a voice from the other stall.

“Hey—Go do that on stage” A man says as though he owns the place. “I’m serious. That’s amazing.”

In the next stall over, hearing us freestyle and beatbox, is none other than Dan Gilbert, Chairman of Quicken Loans, who does, in fact, own the place.

“Holy Shit it’s Dan Gilbert” I gasp, playing it cool.

Stevie takes over, assuring Gilbert that we can “make it”, and, by way of a rap, pitch

The crowd loves the unplanned performance. Our previously empty pockets flood with business cards, potential partnership ideas, and advice for

This only further convinces me—

Sometimes, you just have to freestyle. You never know who’s listening.


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