I am talking about your child here. And I am talking about the possibility that they might just become the next transformational entrepreneur. The person, that changes our world. Let's begin by breaking some eggs.
Some suggest that entrepreneurs are crazy. And for the most part they are correct. We are, well, off-center people. But where would the world be actually, without entrepreneurs?
Goldman Sachs, was once a guy named Goldman, and a guy named Sachs, operating out of a store front. They were not well off, and they were not amongst the traditional leadership class of the time.
WalMart was a guy named Sam Walton, with a pickup truck and a store front.
UPS was a guy named Jim Casey, with $100 and a bicycle.
All steady, stable, even traditional companies today. Absolute standard bearers for their respective industry even. But back then -- well everyone just thought the founders were crazy. And they were!
Growing up, I am honored to say that most everyone said that about me. That I was crazy, growing up in Compton, California, and dreaming big dreams. But now I know that you have to be a little crazy, to want to change the world. To even believe that you can.
But here is the rub. So-called sane people do not create edgy organizations, based only an outsized idea and an a young entrepreneur's passion, immediately following the worst urban riot in U.S.
history. Crazier still -- an organization chartered to ‘eradicate poverty in our lifetime,’ as ‘America’s first nonprofit private banker for the poor.’ Just nutty stuff.
Sane people don’t say things like this, and any rational, analytically honest business modeling program -- from any respectable college or university -- would tell you what we were told back in 1992: this thing would simply never work.
And by all rational models, examples and formulas, they would be correct. But this is not entrepreneurship. This is a stabilized thought process. And the world needs stable thinkers. That said, traditional-anything is not where you find entrepreneurs.
You find entrepreneurs carving up the ground, desperately trying to create new roads ahead of time. They are not the sort that sits by the side of the road, counting and analyzing how many cars may have traveled that particular route today. That’s an engineer's talent. The latter is important. Very important. The world would be a first class mess without engineering and analytics. It's just not what entrepreneurs do. It's not who we are. Again, we tend to be off-center people.
This off-center approach to life often attracts what I call 'interesting attention,' and mostly 'unhelpful-help' early on. Like the people who advised Ted Turner that he was more than a little off-center (i.e. nuts) when he dreamed of the world's first 24 hour news network — now called CNN.
After all, before Ted Turner, news was only at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. That was the tradition.
But Mr. Turner saw new roads to build, and as a result, young people today who turn on a television today expect to find news and other programming -- basically 24 hours a day. And when they don't, they believe something is wrong with the television. What was crazy and edgy then, is now tradition, even the norm.
Even I once thought Mr. Turner was 'off-center.' I saw him at the famed Davos meeting in Switzerland one year, but he was not in a business meeting or a working session at the time. He was walking across the still busy lobby of a fancy hotel at around 1am; wearing a bath robe and slippers.
I just loved it. He could obviouslycare less what anyone else thought about it. He had his reasons.
Now, this is not the mark of a crazy man. That's the mark of a man who knows who he is, knows what he wants, knows where he is going (even at 1am in a Swiss hotel), doesn't much care how it looks, and will do whatever it takes to get there. Another word for this, is a visionary. And thank God for them.
Ted Turner created new roads to travel on.
Here are a few things that define an entrepreneur:
An entrepreneur works 18 hours a day to keep from getting a job.
An entrepreneur redefines success as going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
An entrepreneur is more like a wild coyote than a nice dog. Completely untrainable (Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO, Gallup, talking about me here, actually -- smile).
An entrepreneur, never gives up.
And my all time favorite. The LinkedIn founder once said, "if you are not slightly embarrassed by your 1.0 software release, then you released too late."
Here is what an entrepreneur should know the world will think about them, say about them, and how the world will often treat them:
First they will ignore you.
Then they will criticize you.
Then they will try to copy you.
And then you will win.
As an entrepreneur and the founder of Operation HOPE, I have witnessed all of these emotions over the past 22+ years.
Important people ignored me, for at least 5 years. And I mean, completely ignored me. They moved on to just talking about me (most of it, not in a very good way), and that lasted for about a decade. No, closer to 15 years. And now, all I can say is how different a short 20 years makes.
The last few years have felt like we were a hot new start-up, all over again, and it has been the most exciting time ever. Seeing the relevancy of our work everywhere — and yes, the many copies. And last year alone, we announced 100 new locations nationwide, or an average of one every four days.
After a lot of mistakes and course corrections, I believe that we are on track to become the Starbucks of Financial Inclusion. The nation's first private banker to the working class, the underserved and the teetering middle class.
But the true vindication for and confirmation of my entrepreneurial dream did not actually come until April 1st, 2015, of all days. Yes, April Fool’s Day. Oh, the irony.
On this day we received notification, out of the blue, that the Standard & Poors, or the Dunn & Bradstreet of the public nonprofit charity world, Charity Navigators, hadawarded Operation HOPE a 4-Star Rating for accountability and transparency.
This means that the fast moving, unconventional, even scrappy, empowerment-focused nonprofit, born in South Central Los Angeles -- was now a solid, respectable, national blue chip organization. A new best-in-class standard. Not bad for a 26 year old kid with a dream too big for his own good.
Dreamers count, and we should remind our kids that Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, early on, only to return and to lead it to record global success — some 20 years in.
Apple is now the most valuable company in the world, and their tablet-based technology has literally changed how each of us learn, teach, communicate, work, even interact. Even fierce competitors of Apple use their innovations. Crazy is now the traditional, once again.
After reading this, you may well decide to live a life sane and secure, and that is more than fine. The world needs a lot of that too (someone has to be stable after all). But consider encouraging your child to become a respectable rebel. They just might change the world. They just may become a world changer.
Don’t forget our elders can suffer in silence too: suicide prevention
Many people think that mental health and suicide are not topics that impact our elders but they could not be more wrong. The data tells us there continues to be an emerging trend when it comes to peop...
Wherever you look these days, not matter the developed country, whole population groups and peoples struggle with the daily grind of life. From children in state care to mental health, from affordable housing to the primary health system and from education to employmen...
For the last few years I have been fortunate to have been involved in the aged care sector and have seen both the lows and highs. Today we live in a world where most of us are living longer thank to more awareness around healthy living, the advancement of better medica...
You can’t go past a news paper, radio show or television news story these days without being flooded by all things Bitcoin or Crypto Currency. Some say it’s the new world of money while others suggest its all just a passing fad. Whatever your position or preference of...
The New Zealand Maori Council has called on the Government to step in and ensure the recommendations made by the Children’s Commissioner in respect of youth detention facilities be implemented without delay. The Report released to the previous Government carried a seri...