I’ve been an entrepreneur ever since I was fourteen. The entrepreneurial spirit courses through my veins at a ferocious velocity that keeps me motivated and ready for anything, a natural alternative to drinking coffee if you will.
Anyone who knows me knows my undying passion for innovation and my desire to enable humankind to reach its full potential. I want to achieve this by empowering the creativity in individuals while utilizing artificial intelligence. It is a monumental undertaking that keeps me up at night.
I look to others for inspiration. I seek people who are willing to think outside of the box and go the extra mile to follow their dreams. To me, the innovators and creators are the people that will change the world, and I prefer to work alongside folks with this kind of burning passion.
Imagine my happiness and enthusiasm as I sat hand in hand with my business partner and life partner on the plane, the jagged snow-capped Alps appearing within grasp as we descended into Switzerland. I was too excited to be nervous, a giddy boy heading to his own version of Disney World. I knew that in the days to come I would be meeting some brilliant minds that inspire millions. On top of that, I would be learning from some of the most innovative and passionate people on the planet.
Arriving in Davos is like showing up on a Hollywood movie set constructed for a winter fairytale. Surrounded by the Alps and dotted with pine trees straight from a Bob Ross painting, Davos is a charming mountain town that is the perfect destination for both work and pleasure.
My focus was finding mentors with the objective of getting first-class advice and developing relationships that could potentially result in future clients, partners, investors and more. Aside from that, other important objectives I had were finding potential team members and attending the best sessions offered at the conference.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with more than a half-dozen mentors for private conversations. Some of the meetings included Tim Brown of IDEO and Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia. Being able to sit across movers and shakers of that level is a humbling experience that makes anything seem possible.
Some of the best group sessions I attended included a fireside chat with other Young Global Leaders and Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba. A small, intimate dinner with six Nobel laureates in science was particularly intriguing for me. The topic? The next fifty years of scientific innovation and predictions of how this will impact humanity. A brainstorming session with Richard Branson and the B-Team about the future of work and human rights was interesting and insightful. Being in the direct presence of someone like Sir Richard Branson was truly a gift. His grand presence, unwavering charisma, and English charm impacted all in attendance and left me feeling motivated and inspired.
So, an event this grand wouldn’t be complete without a laundry list of lessons learned. The most important takeaway I had with me as I boarded my flight back to San Francisco:
Most of the people that have been wildly successful aren't there because they are geniuses. Of course, they are extremely intelligent, but the place wasn’t overflowing with Einsteins and Teslas. What I did notice was that they all have the following traits in common:
They constantly think outside of the box and challenge the status quo, and they don't take anything for granted.
This is important because if you don’t think big, you won’t be able to change the world. There are many ideas out there that stay in the minds of the creator and never see the light of day. There are also brilliant people who stay in the box that can’t find success because the don’t push the envelope. They simply focus on tweaking an idea that already exists or don’t go big enough when trying to implement their own ideas.
Technology has brought the entire world to an integrated and easily navigable marketplace. This has made it possible for the best and brightest minds in the world to not only connect with each but collaborate as well. Genius ideas and innovative products and services spawn from intelligent collaboration and thinking outside of the box.
They dream big and aren't afraid of coming across as crazy or dreamers.
Being a dreamer isn’t a bad thing when you are able to build your ideas and present them to the world. Some of the greatest minds in human history were thought of as outcasts, mad scientists, or even downright insane. And the results? Some of the most innovative ideas and game-changing products. I would be happy to be lumped alongside the likes of those that brought real, tangible change to humankind. In fact, that is my mission in life.
Without thinking big, we are all destined to follow a path that leads to mediocrity. While this may not be a bad thing for those not looking to change the world, thinking big is imperative for those that accepted the challenge of change - whether they know it or not!
They really believe they can and will make massively positive changes in the world.
The idea that certain individuals can change the world might seem a bit out there for many people. The world is a big place and full of issues that need addressing. A person that thinks they can change the world must be crazy and destined to fail, right? Wrong.
The desire to change the world is a noble trait. And to be able to make a real change demands time, passion, persistence, determination, and an unparalleled hustle that will leave you working more hours than you could ever imagine. Spending time with people who believe that can - and will - change the world is unlike being around any other group of people in existence.
Experiencing the WEF with a group of people like this was more fuel for my fire that already burned brightly. People like these keep you thinking and believing. They also make me realize that my desire to change the world and enable humankind to reach its full potential isn’t just my own “dose of crazy.” It made me realize that my desire was not only real and achievable but something that others are passionate about too.
They surround themselves with great people that are equally crazy.
I have always been a fan of surrounding myself with the brightest people imaginable. On my quest to make Bunny Inc. the most reliable one-stop shop for professional services that can be delivered online, I have worked alongside with great minds who are as crazy as they are brilliant. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Even though we are spread across multiple countries, I know I have built a team of passionate, wonderful people who think big and dream even bigger. Because of this, we have been able to create some beautiful things in our years together, and our plans for the future are fantastically ambitious. To me, great ambition - the kind that makes many wonder if it’s even possible - is the best kind of crazy.
Their projects aren't just their work. Their projects are their life and obsession.
There is no way to become a game-changing leader in this world without being obsessed with what you’re doing. I am no stranger to the 100-hour work week, and I am fully involved with all aspects of my businesses. There is no other way to be.
I didn’t need to ask Richard Branson or Jimmy Wales if they were obsessed with Virgin and Wikipedia. That goes without saying. To make a significant impact like these business leaders takes countless hours and tears, obstacles and successes. To get there required more pain and suffering than I can possibly imagine and enough stress for a lifetime. Only obsession could justify such insanity, and only passion can fuel such an obsession.
Spending these few days in Switzerland with other Young Global Leaders that know the importance of late nights and no weekends reinforced my self-diagnosis of being a “crazy, obsessed dreamer” that wants to change the world. I am proud to have that title and am honored knowing those around me think of me this way.
Being around Young Global Leaders was truly a blessing, a reminder that I am on the right path for me and those helping me achieve my goals and aspirations. I know I will encounter many more curves in the road ahead, that’s a fact. But I won’t let these obstacles stand in the way of reaching my goals. I may be a dreamer, but I am hellbent on turning my dreams into reality.