Success Stories

1. Benjamin Kickz.

Ben’s real last name is Kapelushnik, and a full year before he should be graduating from his Fort Lauderdale high school (he skipped fourth grade and is now homeschooled), he’s one of the most recognizable sneaker resellers in a flourishing resale market valued at $1.2 billion. Ben brags that he’s on track to make $1 million in sales this year just from the normals who shop his collection every day online at sneakerdon.com. “What I make in one day on the website I can’t make in a month with the rappers,” Ben says, but they give him the satisfaction of working alongside his favorite celebrities. Plus, they function as brand ambassadors, offering free, well-placed mini-billboards that float across social media.

2.  There are others.
3.  Jack Ma, you’ve heard of him, I know.

Jack Ma.jpg

First, watch this video.  Then please read this article.

You are poor because you have no ambition.

Jack Ma: Before I founded Alibaba, I invited 24 friends to my house to discuss the business opportunity. After discussing for a full two hours, they were still confused — I have to say that I may not have put myself across in a clear manner manner then. The verdict: 23 out of the 24 people in the room told me to drop the idea, for a multitude of reasons, such as: ‘you do not know anything about the internet, and more prominently, you do not have the start-up capital for this’ etc etc.
There was only one friend (who was working in a bank then) who told me,“If you want to do it, just try it. If things don’t work out the way you expected it to, you can always revert back to what you were doing before.” I pondered upon this for one night, and by the next morning, I decided I would do it anyway, even if all of the 24 people opposed the idea.

When I first started Alibaba, I was immediately met with strong opposition from family and friends. Looking back, I realised that the biggest driving force for me then was not my confidence in the Internet and the potential it held, but more of this:  “No matter what one does, regardless of failure or success, the experience is a form of success in itself.” You have got to keep trying, and if it doesn’t work, you always can revert back to what you were doing before.
As with this quote by T.E. Lawrence – “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream in the dark recesses of the night awake in the day to find all was vanity. But the dreamers of day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, and make it possible.”

Jack Ma said that . . .

People lose out in life because of these 4 reasons:

1)  Being myopic to opportunity
2)  Looking down on opportunities
3)  Lacking understanding
4)  Failing to act quickly enough

You are poor, because you have no ambition.

Ambition is living a life of great ideals; a magnificent goal in life that must be realized.  In this world, there are things that are deemed unfathomable, but there is nothing in this world that cannot be done. The depth of one’s ambition determines the potential of one’s future.

By way of example, he points to Juliet Wu Shihong.

The Story of Juliet Wu Shihong – one of China’s first-generation professional managers, who gained success by working her way up the ranks from a cleaner, a nurse, a marketing executive, through self-education and learning on the job.

She had been the general manager for the world’s most famous multinational IT groups’ Chinese branches (Microsoft 1985-1998; IBM 1998-1999). She is also China’s first successful international corporate executive to join the executive team of a domestic private firm. Wu was seen as a symbol of the new generation of business executives that China has produced in its economic reform and opening-up.

When Wu started off in a big company working from the lowest ranks, her daily job was to pour tea and sweep floors. Once, because she forgot her staff pass, the company’s guard stopped her at the door and denied her entry. She explained to the guard that she was indeed one of the company’s employees, and that she had merely left the building for a short while to purchase office supplies.

Despite her pleas, the guard still did not allow to enter. As she stood at the gate, she watched as those of similar age to her, but smartly dressed in business attire walking through without having to show their passes.

She asked the guard, “Why are these people allowed through without producing a pass?” The guard dismissed her coldly nonetheless.

That was the turning point for Wu – she felt great shame, her self-esteem trampled on.

She looked at herself, dressed in shabby clothes and pushing a dirty push cart. Looking back at those dressed in smart attire, her heart felt a deep ache from the sudden realization of the sorrow and grief from being discriminated. From that moment, she vowed never to allow herself to be shamed like this again, and to become world-famous.

Since then, she used every opportunity to enrich herself. Every day, she was the first to arrive at work, and the last one to leave. She made every second count, spending her time learning the ropes. Her efforts soon paid off; she was made a sales representative, and quickly progressed to being the regional general manager of this multinational company in China. Wu did not possess strong academic qualifications, and was revered as the ‘Queen of Part-timers’. Subsequently, she assumed the position of GM of IBM China. This is the Wu Shihong, the heroine in China’s business circle.

If not for the incident, Wu Shihong would not have had the ambition to become rich, and her life would have taken a very different path then.

Lessons…

1. You are poor because you do not have the desire to become successful.
2, You are poor because you lack foresight.
3. You are poor because you cannot overcome your cowardice.
4. You are poor because you lack the courage and determination.
5. With ambition you can overcome all inferiority and maximise your potential!
6. With ambition you can persevere, continuously learn new things and strive for perfection.
7. With ambition you can defy all odds, and create miracles when others daren’t.

No matter how poor your family is, do not doubt your own abilities and lose sight of your ambition.

1. When your family deems you worthless, no one will pity you.
2. When your parents do not have money to pay the medical bills, no one will pity you.
3. When you are beaten by your competitors, no one will pity you.
4. When your loved ones abandon you, no one will pity you.
5. When you have not accomplished anything by the time you are 35, no one will pity you.

Go big, or go home. Otherwise, you’re wasting your youth.

Average:

4.  By the way, Cameron Herold started the company 1-800-GOT-JUNK.  I know you’ve seen their trucks around.

5.  Check out the successes of the Uber investors.

6.  Jonathan Buchanan

7.  Ashley Qualls operates WhateverLife.  Find a few articles on her here, here, and here from Forbes.

Ashley Qualls.jpg

8.  Birke Baehr, age 11, has a site titled Birke on the Farm.  Don’t miss it.

Birke Beaer with Joel Salatin

At Polyface Farm while filming the documentary, “Bite Size,” with one of the great American farmers, Joel Salatin.

9.  Fraser Doherty.
10.  Hannah Altman, 12 years old, owns http://www.hannahscoolworld.com/.
11.  Matthew Lilley, 15, created Ready-Made Meals.  He designed a particular dish, Beef & Tomato Wedge Bake, for Tesco.
12.  Teenage Entrepreneurs.
13.  15-year old Madison Robinson from Houston, Texas got her sandals into Nordstroms.  Read about how much money she’s made so far.
14.  Conrad Farnsworth builds nuclear reactor in dad’s garage and gets kicked out of science fair.
15.  Jack Andraka.

16.  Leanna Archer.  Here is her website and her greeting to you.  And an article on her. Her Leanna Archer Education Foundation.
17.  Robert Nay owner of www.naygames.com.  He designed Bubble Ball which replaced Angry Birds.
18.  Mark Bao, 18-year old.  His blog.  A brief article.  Two of his productions are threewords.me and debateware.com.  Here is his center for ethical business.
19.  Lizzie Marie Likness (that’s the correct spelling), who ownsLizzieMarieCuisine, was a teenage chef and business owner.

She’s got a very successful enterprise.  “Lizzie Marie Cuisine is unique because I teach kids how to have fun cooking healthy meals and how to live healthy,” said Likness. “My company teaches people that it’s not all about eating healthy, it’s also about living healthy.”

20.  Farrhad Acidwalla owns the website rockstahmedia.com.  He’s from India, and here is an article on him.

With $10 from his parents, Farrhad Acidwalla joined the entrepreneurial ranks at age 13, when he decided to build an online community devoted to aviation and aero-modeling. Several months later, he sold the community to a fan for $1,200.

21.  Asya Gonzalez owns stinkyfeetgurlz.com.  The daughter of two entrepreneurs, Asya Gonzalez wanted to follow in her family’s footsteps.

”I remember asking my Dad why my uncle couldn’t come with us on spontaneous trips, and he said because he works at an office,” Gonzalez recalled. ”I knew right then that I wanted to have freedom, make my own money and make my own rules. You can’t do that climbing the corporate ladder … as my Dad says.”

At 13, Gonzalez launched Stinky Feet Gurlz, a company that designs, markets and sells 1940s-inspired t-shirts and apparel.
22.  Brian Wong owns kiip.me.  Here is his biography.  ”I’ve always had the entrepreneurial itch, but what got me the most excited was the opportunity to truly reinvent a space,” said Wong.

23.  Adam Horwtiz owns http://yeptext.com/, a site that uses text marketing.  Looks kind of interesting.  He also created Mobile Marketing.  Article here andFacebook here.
24.  16-year old Taylor Parker works and lives on a 170-acre farm in East Texas.  Through CollegePlus, he found a way to get his college degree for less than the standard price.  Listen to his story.  Follow his example.

25.  Ash Bhat is telling companies what they’re doing wrong and his mother is worried that he’s going to drop out of school.  Kiip has hired Ash.  “Kiip provides users with rewards during natural pauses in mobile games, essentially incentivizing ad clicks with treats.”
26.  I like the musical talent and marketing ambition in these two young men, Malcolm Brickhouse and Jarad Dawkins.
27.  Byron Reese had a goal: to speak at a TED conference. He achieved it. He is an entrepreneur. He has started several companies. One of them, Expert Village, he sold to eHow. He had two ideas (pre-YouTube). “First, bandwidth will get cheaper. Second, Americans don’t like to read.” The result: Expert Village. It is a video-based “how to” site. In his TED speech, he discusses biographies of great achievers. They had one characteristic feature. Watch it to find out what it was. This is a great video for teenagers. Read more:

28.  Gary North on “How Come We’re So Rich?” 2013.  Gary North masterfully explains why somewhere in the first decade of the 19th century that religious ideas and attitudes changed to make being rich permissible with escatology.  One of the best speeches I’ve ever listened to.  Bravo, Dr. North!

29.  Another Entrepreneurial Kid: Nick D’Aloisio, 17 year old Brit.  More on Nick from the UK’s Telegraph.  Here’s Nick on what goes into designing a Smart Watch.
30.  George Hotz.

31.  Life to Success has helpful insights.
32.  Read the accomplished Barry Ritholtz.
33.  Taylor Wilson
34.  And here he is featured on Nightly News with Brian Williams. Here is a list of his projects.
35.  Dr. Ruth Benerito, creator of wrinkle-free cotton, has died.
36.  “Jaylen Bledsoe is a one-of-kind superstar. The 15-year old sophomore started his own tech company a few years ago, and has found entrepreneurship to be his calling.’  Jaylen Bledsoe, 15 year-old millionaire?
37.  Blogger, Perez Hilton, shopping for Manhattan condo.  Perez Hilton.
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ENTREPRENEURIAL MOVIES

1.  Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith, 2006.

2.  Door to Door, William Masey, 2002.
3.  Flash of Genius, Greg Kinnear, 2008.

4.  Other opinions on the subject.
5.  Limitless, 2001, Bradley Cooper was pretty good.  I don’t think that you can learn much about entrepreneurial planning, but there is one scene in the movie where he divides himself in chores at home, an obvious tribute to the value of the division of labor.
6.  Someone mentioned the original Godfather, 1972.  Okay.
7.  Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, 2015.

8. The Aviator, 2004.  This movie doesn’t look too much like it shows how to be an entrepreneur as much as it shows the troubles he faces from competitors and the government.  Forbes writer, Chris Myers, says this

Being an entrepreneur is hard work, full of risk and struggle.  It’s can also be pretty darn glamorous at times.  Anyone who doesn’t have fun building and running their own company is doing something wrong.  Watching the young Howard Hughes HHC +0.65% place big bets and enjoy himself in the process is something I find particularly inspiring.   The film is also notable in the sense that it doesn’t shy away from the private struggles that happen beneath the surface of even the most glamorous entrepreneurs.  The most inspirational part of the film for me was when Howard pulls himself out of his deep psychological struggle and successfully defends his dealings in front of a Congressional committee.  It goes to show that the best among us can rally and achieve great things, even in the face of tremendous struggle.

 

9.  Something Ventured, 2011.

10. William Masey in the 2002 salesmanship tenacity movie, Door to Door. Check it out. It is excellent.

11. And though this is not a specific entrepreneur movie, it is a great story, a great love story, called The Answer Man (2009), starring Jeff Daniels.

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