July 3, 2013

News & Opinion: Hope for the Future

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 7:47 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

A couple of weeks ago, I gave the graduation speech at IDEAS Academy, a high school focused on innovation through design, engineering, arts and sciences. As I spoke to the students, I could see the anticipation, excitement, and possible uncertainty for the future in their faces. After the talk, some of them shared their plans with the auditorium, be it going to college, the military (more than one had this plan), and what those paths would hopefully lead them to. Hearing these things, I was transported back to my high school days, and I was thankful to have the experiences I have under my belt. At that age, making something (of yourself) from nothing is a huge challenge.

A week or two later, our founder Jack Covert received an email from a 17 year old. This, of course, doesn't happen every day. He forwarded it to a few of us and we were all intrigued. The writer of the email had just written his first business book. Now, some of you reading this will think, "What does a 17 year old know about business?" That's a valid question, but consider this, who in your high school wrote a book? Or, more accurately, who in your high school interviewed 33 successful entrepreneurs about their experiences in starting a business; revealing their challenges, failures, and successes? Well, Jack Kaufman did, and now he's selling that information to the world in his new book, and that is business.


Titled, The Found a Business Book: Interviews With Some of the World's Best Entrepreneursthe book offers help for those looking to start a business, those in the early stages of growth, or anyone wanting to learn from the experiences of the successful entrepreneur. Here's a bit from the book's site:
Starting and building a business or startup is challenging and scary. There is so much to learn and do when running and growing a company that it can be overwhelming. Imagine you could learn from people who have built successful businesses in the past or are in the process of building successful businesses. Imagine you could hear about their experiences, the strategies they used to market their products and get traction, how they manage their time and stress, their advice for building a product that people will love, and much more.

Of course, writing a book is creating a product, and Kaufman's experience with that process is revealed in his interview questions. For instance, he asks Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and Square, about what he thinks the keys to building an outstanding product are. Dorsey responds:

A lot of focus, making sure that you're really paying attention to all the details, making sure that you realize as a company that you want to see the world and there's a passion around it and you're thinking that other people want to see the same thing and I think it all comes down to that. We built Square because we felt it should exist and we wanted to see it in the world and more importantly, we wanted to use it every day.

And we have a very particular aesthetic and particular way of doing things, but fundamentally we wanted it to work and work so well that it disappears because it's so intuitive to use. And to me, that's what is the formation of a great product.

Kaufman also interviews founders of Disqus, GitHub, and more, covering a broad range of business ideas to create products that will change the world. Certainly, there's stuff within these interviews that everyone can learn from.

So, in case you're concerned that kids today only want to play video games, are directionless and uninspired, think again. As I witnessed at the graduation ceremony, and again with being introduced to Jack Kaufman, there's a momentum in today's youth that's promising, adventurous, and ripe for success. Click here to learn more about Jack's book, and order a copy. Invest in this guy. He's headed toward great things.