East & West Austin

Jews and Christians

Native & White Americans

About Bob O’Dell

Author, Bridge Person, Entrepreneur, Father, Friend, Husband, Person of Faith

On Being a Bridge Person

A writer ought to be able to describe things, but the idea of being a bridge person took me years to describe and accept.

A bridge person is not an ambassador, because being an ambassador is about representing and presenting one side of the bridge to the other. A bridge person is not an evangelist either, because being an evangelist is about convincing the other side of the bridge over to your point of view. Rather, a bridge person believes that connections are their own reward. Therefore, a bridge person’s work is finished precisely when those connections are flowing freely in both directions — ideas, friendships, and perhaps even dreams. When that moment arrives — when a bridge is assumed to have always been — the bridge person is forgotten.

That reminds me; this section of the page was supposed to be entitled Bob’s Mission. Well, I guess that is my mission then: to be forgotten. I hope you will help me achieve it.

Bob’s Story

“Have you ever considered that Wintegra might be practice?”

That question was spoken to me without warning one evening while driving home in 2007. At that moment I was well into the eighth year of a fast-paced ride of building a high-tech startup from scratch—Wintegra—and the tangible fruit of those years of hard work were starting to be visible on the horizon. We were heading towards that great choice about which many a high-tech entrepreneur dreams: of either taking your company public, or selling it for a profit.

To this day I believe it was God who asked that question. But, God didn’t explain himselfNo follow-ups. No warm feelings. Nothing. It would take me two years to start to understand that what I had heard was not so much about foretelling my future, as it was to prepare me for change. Then in 2010, when the telling of the J.J. Seabrook story first caught my attention, I knew I would have to do something, I just didn’t know what.

Next in 2013, when a door opened to give me the perfect opportunity to leave high-tech for good, I began a research project about Israel. From that research, I learned something that inspired me to connect with and understand Orthodox Jews.

Then in 2018, when I was helping a friend write and research a screenplay, I stumbled upon a forgotten story about the Native American presence in early Austin. Although this endeavor is still young, I have promised myself not to rest until something wonderful has been re-established out of those long-forgotten Austin friendships.

I don’t believe anybody’s life—anybody’s journey—is any more valuable to the world than anybody else’s. But I do know this: while it is never easy, life can be undergirded with great joy when you know why you’re here—what you have been designed to do. I also know that joy is best shared with as many friends as possible along the way.
Because I know that I am a bridge person, have I arrived? Is my practice-time over? I honestly don’t know. I’ve never been told! But, I do know this: the most powerful sentences you can ever hear are definitely not statements, but questions.

Have you ever considered that?

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