There’s Got to be a Book Here!
I’ve threatened for years that the lessons learned in starting and developing my company are the makings of a book, either a How To or How NOT To. Either way, a book worth reading. It got me to thinking…
With a swift browse on the Google search engine, viola, I wondered who else could be writing a book about their experiences, good and bad. I thought you might enjoy these little vignettes of recognizable and not so recognizable business icons.
Richard Branson: A high school dropout at 16, Branson has launched more than 100 companies. You can say that this guy is no business Virgin. His business sure has
Steve Jobs: A College dropout after just six months, Jobs’ story is legendary. Probably not best friend material, you can’t argue that this guy’s vision and passion was unmatched. Jobs even overcame the humiliation of being fired by his own Board of Directors, only to return and lead Apple to new levels of success. How much has your family spent on Apple products over the years, give it a thought.
Mark Zuckerburg: There is a theme developing here…. Zuckerburg (whose locker would be at the other end of the hall from Apple), is also a college dropout. Facebook has over 1 Billion users and even authored new words like “Defriend”. Using the word in a sentence: Hollywood has “Defriended” Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and some of their friends.
Peter Thiel : An investor in Facebook and founder of PayPal, Thiel’s Clarium Capital lost over $6.3 Billion ….that’s with a B. Good that Clarium Capital “Defriended” him wouldn’t you say?
Morten Lund: After filing bankruptcy in 2009 following the failure of the Danish newspaper, Nyhedsavisen (We almost named my daughter that…actually we almost named her Cosette after a character from Les Miserables…she would have been so mad (so she tells me)), Lund went from losing $100 Million to being part of Skype that sold to eBay for $2.5Billion. We can all learn from his comments after the newspaper failure. “It’s not that it doesn’t feel bad. It’s the worst thing. You’re sure that everyone can see that you’re a failure. It was really tough, but then again, that’s what I do and that’s what entrepreneurs do. You will sometimes fail.”
Jack Dorsey: Dorsey was kicked out as CEO of Twitter (probably in 140 characters or less), a company he founded, because of his poor management style. He is back as Chairman of Twitter and Square. Oh, by the way, Twitter was an idea he had while working at Odeo, a podcasting company that was in a rut when he came up with Twitter. Did I forget to say that Dorsey is also a college dropout?.
Daniel Elk: Motivated by failing to get a job at Google, Elk worked harder to create Spotify, a company worth $4Billion. Doesn’t hurt being named after a really cool animal that is actually healthier to eat than beef. If you are ever in the Indianapolis area, head to Bubs to eat a giant one pound Elk Burger and if you finish, you can get your picture on the wall (only $26.95).
Bill Gates: A guy you probably never heard of. OK, so here is one guy that probably didn’t have many failures. Maybe he had trouble climbing the ropes to the top of the gym in middle school. Let’s just make that up and go with it. An utter failure at climbing the ropes to the top of the gym (probably sucked on the peg board on the wall too), but surfaced to create Microsoft with his buddy Paul Allen. Almost the richest man in the world.
Jeff Bezos: Since we have moved on to those guys that haven’t failed too much, let’s look at Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. Look at the what Amazon is doing. Cities around the U.S. are giving up their first born to get the new Amazon location. Bezos is considered the Top CEO in the world.
So, for those of you that wonder, if success will be in your future, who’s to say? Maybe Yes, Maybe No. Perhaps you haven’t failed enough yet to be successful. Bottom line here is, Chin up! (Chins up for me, darn double chin!) Even if you fail, so what. You won’t be alone, and you can’t ever fail without first trying. Those that laugh at you are only frustrated that they didn’t have the courage to try in the first place. I tell my boys that if they want to have a date with a girl on Friday night, but don’t ask, they will be alone on Friday night. If they ask and she says, “No”. They will still be alone on Friday night. Same outcome. BUT, if she says “Yes”, it’s a totally different story. No chance for a “Yes” until you ask (and take the risk)!
It’s fun to see the innovation in our industry. Come to the PIE show in Chicago on March 26 to 29 to see what our industry entrepreneurs have come up with this time. Maybe even Parking Guidance in a Light Fixture…Imagine that! Don’t forget to thank them for taking the risk and making our parking lives most interesting.