This podcast recommendation came from a couple of friends I really admire. I am decidedly an introvert, so entrepreneurship has never been in the cards for me, but I’ve found that lessons about valuing people and braving mistakes apply wherever you’re at in your journey of becoming.
So, what tips do some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have to share with you?
Successful People Say…
Joe Gebbia of Airbnb
- “We were constantly listening and re-iterating. We got it wrong 4 times in a row. And the good news, though, is that if you launch, and it’s a dud, you can launch again, ’cause nobody new about the first one.”
- “On the ride home, we get a phone call from Paul Graham to inform us that he’d like to offer us a spot in the Y Combinator program and we later found out that the reason we got in wasn’t because of our idea. It was because through the breakfast cereal, we had proven to him that we had hustle, we had grit. If we could figure out how to sell breakfast cereal for $40 a box, we could figure out how to make our website work.”
Perry Chen of Kickstarter
- “People want to help each other bring good and interesting ideas to life…We are enabling that.”
- “The obligations of the board and the executives and the company is to balance the shareholder interests with greater stakeholders, including the environment and your various communities. And, that makes it, again, something more, a representation of people. But, really, if underneath, the mandate is: at the end of the day, make the most money for shareholders, it’s not really a good fit for humans.”
Roxanne Quimby of Burt’s Bees
- “Every day was another problem that just had to be solved on the fly.”
- “I have more freedom now than I did when I had no money, but in a certain sense, I had a lot of freedom then, also, because I had nothing to lose. That whole theme of freedom is important to me.”
Katrina Lake of Stitch Fix
- “Before the transaction, there’s the discovery of, like, what is the thing that [my customers] are gonna love?”
- “I think it’s good for people to see more examples of what success can look like, that maybe are different than what success has looked like in the past.”
- “This wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t handed to me on a platter, and it wasn’t obvious. And, you know, you had to find faith from somewhere of like, this is gonna work. And, you know, I think in the skill category, it’s like, I hired an amazing team. You know, to be able to identify amazing people and somehow convince them to join this crazy company in 1100 sq. ft. in San Fransisco. I mean, there’s luck and skill in both of those things. But, you know, I think, in general, this was an idea many people had and it was actually executing the idea well that wasn’t done before.”
Wendy Kopp of Teach for America
- “The criticism actually started pretty early on… But, in a way we were our own harshest critics. I mean, we were tearing ourselves up. I mean, we felt that we needed to do things a lot better. I guess our assessment was: the world isn’t going to be better if we shut down Teach for America, so, there’s really only one option, which is to get better.”
- “You can critique all you want, but, I guess, my view is, propose the alternatives.”
Stacy Madison of Stacy’s Pita Chips
- “Of course, I’m a mom, and I’m parenting, and that’s first and foremost, but, what else am I?”
- “Yeah maybe the stars aligned and maybe the timing was right for a lot of things, but, you know, each and every one of the challenges and the hurdles that you overcome, others might not have gotten there.”
Julie Rice & Elizabeth Cutler of SoulCycle
- “People always say that entrepreneurs are such good risk-takers, and, the truth is, sometimes you do take a risk, but a lot of times it’s really terrifying, and we had a lot on the line.”
- “We never forgot why we started the business… We really started the business to create an environment for people that was like a secular sanctuary, where people could feel safe.”
There you have it.
If you like what you read, check out full interviews and more inspiring success stories over on Spotify: How I Built This with Guy Raz (or search for the podcast wherever you like to listen).
And don’t forget to let us know your own favorite tips for success!
Here’s to giving our best to the community around us, and, especially, to our loved ones at home.