For a while now, I’ve been wanting to write a blog post series on my family. Mostly because each of them inspire me on a daily basis. They each have a unique story, and a passion in life. It’s as if each one of them is trying to change the world in their own way. It’s truly amazing and inspiring. And although this blog is generally about my triathlon journey, they each inspire me along the way.
I’m going to start the series with my brother, and tell his story from my point of view, and why he inspires me. My brother, Daniel Taylor Morse, is 3yrs older than me. His nickname is “Ty”, and we still have no idea how he got that nickname. Daniel, is my dad’s name, Taylor is my mom’s maiden name, and well Morse is the family name from my dad. When we were kids growing up, he loved to cause trouble. He seriously was like Dennis the Mennis or Problem Child. There are too many stories to tell, about him growing up, so I’ll mention a few of my favorites:
1. He was in art class at the age of 4, the whole class was painting on their individual easels. He got bored, and the girl next to him was annoying him, so he decided to just start painting the girl’s hair instead. Needless to say he got kicked out of that school.
2. His friend and him were building something and needed some paint. My brother was about 8. My dad kept all his hardware/painting/home depot type supplies locked away in a room in the basement. It was his workshop. My parents were out of town, and my older sister, myself, and my brother had a babysitter for the weekend. So, of course, my brother thought it was the perfect opportunity to get the paint. So, again at the age of 8, he took some electric hedge trimmers, and cut a huge hole in my dad’s workshop door, and proceeded to enter, and then cut open EVERY SINGLE paint can in order to find the right color.
3. My brother got grounded A LOT growing up. And to entertain himself, he would make “home videos”. He ended up making a series of infomercials.
4. One time my brother was told to go to his room, and my parents locked him in there. He was a black belt in karate (as my parents entered him in karate to help channel all the crazy energy he had), and so he kicked a hole in his door in order to get out. My dad ended up taking the door off of his room, and he never had anymore privacy.
5. My brother played basketball in high school. He was on the varsity team as a freshman, but he primarily sat the bench. One game, he was getting frustrated by just sitting the bench, and the team was losing, so he literally decided on his own to sub himself in. It was hilarious.
Okay…so as you can see my brother was the ULTIMATE problem child. On a daily basis, he was a pain in the a$$. But, truly I think it was his adventurous spirit, and his curiosity that made him the way he was as a child. He didn’t like to be tied down. He loves to have his freedom and independence.
My brother and I primarily connected when it came to sports. We both played soccer, did gymnastics, baseball, tennis, diving, swimming, you name it, we did it. We would take seat cushions and ride them down the stairs. We’d practice magic tricks. Go to open gym at the gymnastics gym. We loved to be active together.
In high school, my brother got a bit tamer. He started to channel his creativity through music and also became a really good soccer player. Unfortunately, his senior year of high school, during a game, a guy on the other team, slide tackled my brother and his cleat went right into my brother’s ankle and snapped it in half. This pretty much ended my brother’s soccer career.
Fortunately, he had a LOVE for music. He had been in the band, played trumpet, sang in the choir, and had an obsession with Bob Marley at the time. He was the most popular kid at school. He was president of his class, captain of the soccer team, had a steady girlfriend, although he had LOTS of admirers. And yet, he was as straight edge as they come. He never drank a drop of alcohol until he got to college. Seriously, he went from “Problem Child” to “Poster Child”.
I should mention, my brother has had some pretty interesting obsessions.
- Shaka Zulu
- Bob Marley
- Pink Floyd
- Star Wars
- Snickers Bars
Just to name a few…
When my brother went off to college, I was pretty bummed. Mostly, because that meant it was just going to be “me” at the dinner table with “mom and dad”. I love my parents, but DAMN that is scary as a teenager. My brother went to Davidson College in North Carolina. A top liberal arts school, where he walked on the soccer team, and eventually met his best friends through the soccer team, but ultimately gave it up because of his ankle. He pledged a fraternity, Kappa Alpha, and dated 3 different girls while there. My brother was the ultimate serial long term relationship dude. Or at least he had been, until he met his now wife, Tara. His high school girlfriend, Katy, he dated for 4yrs, then Amanda for 1, Amy for 2, Kiften for 2. (P.S how cool is the name Kiften?…just sayin’).
College began his party days, and it also was when my brother and I really started to become friends. I went to visit him a few times while he went to school at Davidson, and every time we had a blast. And when I got to college, he came to visit me a couple times, and let’s just say he learned how to REALLY party. He thought he knew, but really he had no idea. ha! Anyway, along the way, my brother started making some really cool projects happen.
When in high school, he wrote a Rock Opera to the book, “Beowulf” for an English project. Through that project he connected with a family friend, Jon Greenlee (who had written part I, and my brother part II). Through the making of this Rock Opera, my brother taught himself how to play guitar.
My brother double majored in Biology and English, and minored in Spanish in college. For his final project for English, he wanted to write a Rock Opera on the book “Frankenstein”. Jon Greenlee and him collaborated on the project, and ultimately put on a whole Rock Opera at Davidson college. They had actors and actresses, and the Davidson orchestra. It was unbelievable. They invited a few managers from New York City to come down and watch, and a few showed. As much as it was a hit, they needed a certain amount of money to really try to make this a broadway production, and they fell shy by a few hundred thousand dollars.
My brother being the entrepeneur that he is, when this venture fell through, he moved on to the next venture. After college he moved to Washington D.C and worked at Discovery Channel, which is where he met his wife, Tara. While at Discovery Channel, he tried launching a study abroad program. It ultimately failed. He then tried starting a record label, that still exists, but is more just for fun, than a money maker. So, business wise, failed. He and Jon got their wheels turning, and between Jon’s technology expertise and Ty’s business savvy mind, they started to think of another way to make money. It was then that “Songwhale” was born.
Songwhale is an “interactive technology company that enables brands & companies to reach consumers with their message across multiple touch-points. We design. We engineer. We connect… For every device.” Songwhale was born in the year of 2006. My brother left Discovery Channel, broke up with Tara, and moved to Minneapolis to live on Jon’s couch, in the hopes that this would work! He literally gave up everything.
Along the way, my brother had met a friend, Jay Demerit. Jay Demerit is a world class soccer player, who just happens to be from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and would come down and play on Ty’s club soccer team, every now and then growing up. Jay and Ty, quickly became best buddies, and it was Jay, who ultimately was the guy who put the whole thing together. Jay has his own inspiring story, which you can learn about here. Jay ended up playing soccer in Europe, and taking his team Watford to the premiership. He was playing against the best of the best. And earning a pretty darn good living doing so. He ended up being the first investor. And this formed the trio, that would make “Songwhale”.
As “Songwhale” started to grow, my brother realized that he had given up the greatest woman that had every happened to him, Tara. She had applied to graduate school in New York City, and was going to be moving there. Ty, worked his magic, and slowly won Tara back. He moved to NYC, and worked at Virgin Records, for two years while Songwhale continued to grow, and Tara earned her masters in counseling.
After a few years of trial and error, of how Songwhale would make it’s way in the technology business, they ended up landing on a few different platforms, but the platform they work the most closely with today is the infomercial industry. They have made it easy for people to text to pay for items they want to buy, right off of the t.v. They don’t have to call, email, etc. They just “text”. Songwhale now has offices in Asia, as well as the U.S. And they are based out of Pittsburgh.
There are two really interesting pieces of my brother’s story that foreshadowed the rest of his life.
1. He made infomercials as a kid, and now he is making a living off of infomercials.
2. Every baseball cap my brother owned and wore growing up, foreshadowed all the cities he would live in. He wore a Charlotte Hornets cap (went to Davidson, near Charlotte, N.C), wore a Washington Redskins cap (lived in Washington D.C), wore a New York Yankees cap (lived in New York City), and wore a Pittsburgh Pirates cap (now lives in Pittsburgh, PA). How crazy is that?
- My brother now lives with his wife in Pittsburgh, with their daughter, London.
- My brother writes his own music, and has made a few albums
- My brother is 31, and has been a nominee twice for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
- My brother survived a night out in the ocean in a kayak, all by himself, while he was on a trip in Mexico rescuing baby sea turtles. Somehow he got lost from the rest of the group, and before he knew it, it was pitch black. He should probably be on one of those episodes, “I shouldn’t be alive”.
So…this is my brother’s story in a nutshell. There is sooo much more to tell…but you’ll have to check out the documentary when it comes out on him, later this year.
I think what inspires me most about my brother is he NEVER gave up. He has followed his dreams, and not once, stopped trying because of failure. He is a dreamer, a musician, an entrepreneur, a dad, a husband, a brother, a son, and he is the BEST brother a girl could have.
LOVE YOU BRO! Keep changing the world and inspiring us all! You are truly amazing.