Having built empires on the strength of determination and foresight, successful entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Mark Zuckerberg are, without a doubt, an impressive breed of businesspeople. The same could be said for aspiring young entrepreneurs, whose mix of resolve and ambition inspires a certain sense of awe.
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There is a certain leap of faith that online customers must take when deciding whether the pants they’re considering buying will fit snugly or loosely, or if the bag that appears so vibrant in pictures will look rather drab in person. Yet more and more, companies like Warby Parker are surmounting this ostensible obstacle by shipping sample products directly to consumers, effectively turning their homes into makeshift brick and mortar stores.
Long before Natalie Portman won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a deranged ballerina in “Black Swan,” she was recognized by an altogether different—though equally renowned—organization, the Society for Science & The Public (S.S.P.).
From inventors like Thomas Edison to innovators like Bill Gates, entrepreneurs have long been a driving force of U.S. economic growth. Yet more and more, entrepreneurs are turning their attention toward social issues, as they strive to solve major societal problems through the lens of business.
Though the idea of social innovation is now firmly entrenched in the zeitgeist, it is not exactly a new concept. In fact, social entrepreneurs have existed for quite a while, as have the groups that support and finance their ambitious agendas.
It’s been said that one of the most difficult aspects of starting a business is communicating what, exactly, your company plans on doing. How can you get funding if you can’t succinctly, articulate your business model? In New Orleans, the annual Pitch NOLA competition helps local entrepreneurs solve that quandary, working to develop their business plans and hone their messaging so they can effectively sell their innovative ideas to venture capitalists and the community.
Brian Wilson and his seemingly endless studio sessions recording Pet Sounds; Fleetwood Mac building a replica of Lindsay Buckingham’s bathroom in their L.A. studio to get the perfect reverb on Tusk; George Harrison playing long into the night with George Martin trying to learn the guitar solo for “I’m Only Sleeping” backwards, so they could reverse the tape and create a dreamlike guitar effect—pop music’s mythological auteurs famously innovated at the expense of their own sanity and their record label’s largesse.
There’s no consensus answer to the existential question, “What does it take to succeed in business?” There are, however, certain attributes that can make the path to success a little less difficult.
If you look back on your career, what are you most proud of? If you’re like the majority of people, your most cherished professional memories probably center on significant accomplishments—the high-paying job you landed; the major promotion you scored; or the important deal you closed.
One of Barbara Lynch’s first forays into the world of fine dining came as a teenager on a dinner cruise, where she cooked lobster and expensive cuts of beef for more than 150 people each night. Prior to that high-pressure job, Lynch hadn’t accrued that much experience in the kitchen, or any, for that matter. In fact, the closest she had come to preparing meals outside of her home had been at Boston’s St.
At this point, there’s a good chance you’ve heard stories of how intensely competitive it is to get a job offer from a hot startup. You’re also probably very well aware of the amazing perks and benefits that tenured employees of more established companies like Facebook are treated to. But what happens in between?
A lot, it turns out.
If you’re under the impression that bookstores are a relic of the past, Lissa Muscatine has something to say to you.
“There actually have been more bookstores that have opened than have closed in the past few years,” says Muscatine, a co-owner of Washington, D.C.-based bookstore Politics and Prose. “I think there’s a reflexive notion that bookstores are all failing and that there are a few that aren’t, and actually that’s really not the case. It’s been a pretty good few years for many, many bookstores.”
Of the countless challenges that adulthood foists upon us, deciding on a career path ranks as one of the most daunting. For Nick Baucom, who served in the Marines from 2002 to 2008, it was especially difficult.
“I got out as a Sergeant, and I didn’t know my next step upon my discharge,” says Baucom. “I regularly received phone calls from family and friends asking me to help them move, saying they could use a good, strong Marine to help them take care of all their heavy items. I saw an opportunity. I wasn’t going to do this for beer and pizza anymore.”
The first thing you notice when you meet Dharani Ramamoorthy is that he is nearly always smiling. Words flow forth feverishly from the smile that’s permanently affixed to Ramamoorthy’s visage—whether he’s talking about how he ended up settling in the Upper Midwest, or how he cherishes the opportunities that he’s been afforded in the United States.
Across the globe, New York is synonymous with the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square. Over the past few years, however, the state has added another notch to its belt—it’s become the yogurt capital of the United States.
We’ve all heard the axiom about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure. Once you meet Jim Malone, however, that phrase takes on a new, more meaningful significance.
Malone is the chief executive and founder of CounterEvolution, a New York City-based company that salvages wood and other materials from soon-to-be torn down buildings, transforming it into furniture.
Though his life now revolves around design, Malone worked in music following his graduation from the University of Richmond.
You may not think too much about lighters. In fact, with mounting pressures on the tobacco industry and the advent of gas fire and stoves, fewer and fewer people are. But even though Zippo windproof lighters have remained virtually unchanged over the last 77 years, the company behind them has accomplished the near impossible— it has grown and adapted to today’s fickle market while remaining a steadfast American icon.
It’s difficult enough to innovate in an industry that’s already forward thinking. But how do you bring change to a sector that’s known for entrenched bureaucracy and its resistance to reform? That’s a question that Ben Levy, the founder and chief executive of eduCanon, is uniquely qualified to answer.
When government officials knocked on Charlie Brock’s door and asked him to head a public-private partnership aimed at creating jobs and fostering his state’s entrepreneurial economy, he had some initial reservations.