What’s up, Believe Nation? My name is Evan Carmichael, my one word is believe, and I believe in people more than they believe in themselves. And my sincere hope is that if you see in you what I see in you, you’ll go off and change the planet. This is a new video today, one we haven’t done before. It’s called How Billionaires Think: Success, Advice From the Top. There’s some key messages here that I hope you’ll take with you to start seeing the world in a little different way, and some of that rubs off onto you to help you go off and do amazing things. Enjoy.
How Billionaires THINK – Success Advice From the TOP
Don’t Sleepwalk Through Life
I advise students, as much as possible, look for the job you would take if you didn’t need a job. I mean, don’t sleepwalk through life and don’t say it’s all going to be great, you know, I’ll do this and I’ll do that and, you know, I’m just marking time till I get to be older. I’ve told people, that’s like saving up sex for your old age, I mean, it’s just, it is not a good idea. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: What are you urging them to do?
I’ll explain it. Here’s what I’m talking about. You really want to be doing what you love doing and you can’t necessarily find it on your first job.
But don’t give up before you find it.
Be Rigorous In Self Analysis
First of all, I really sort of of thought, like, how can I provide advice that would be most helpful and I’m not sure I’ve given enough thought to give you the best possible answer, but I think, certainly, being focused on something that you’re confident will have high value to someone else and just being really rigorous in making that assessment, because people tend to, natural human tendency is wishful thinking.
So, a challenge for entrepreneurs is to say, well what is the difference between really believing in your ideals and sticking to them versus pursuing some unrealistic dream that doesn’t actually have merit. That is a really difficult thing to, can you tell the difference between those two things.
So, you need to be sort of, very rigorous in your self-analysis. I think certainly extremely tenacious, and then just work like hell, I mean, you just have to put in, you know, 80-100 hour weeks, every week.
Interviewer: That’s a lot of work.
And then, all those things improve the odds of success.
Interviewer: OK, great.
If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, then, even if you’re doing the same thing, you know that in one year, you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.
Try Out Different Things
You just have to try different things and even if 99% of them fail, you only have to be right one time. You don’t have to figure it all out in advance. You can be wrong, you can pick the wrong career, or you can pick the wrong job, you can pick the wrong spouse, you can pick the wrong whatever, but you get it right one time, you’re set. But, if you don’t try, and if you don’t go out there and try all those different things you’ll never get that one time.
And so, it’s not a question of, OK, how much different stuff do I do, or how many different things should you try? Try them all. Try them all till you find the one you like. And then it’s like, it gets real easy, ’cause even when up, you’re on a mission, you’re loving what you do, you know. And then it gets easy, and so that’s just the approach I’ve always tried to instill in people who work for me, and myself.
Execute Your Idea
So, it’s easy to have ideas, it’s very hard to turn an idea into a successful product. There are a lot of steps in between, and it takes persistence, relentlessness. So, I always tell people who are, you know, who think they want to be entrepreneurs, you need a combination of stubborn relentlessness, and flexibility, and you have to know when to be which.
And basically, you need to be stubborn on your vision, because otherwise it’ll be too easy to give up, but you need to be very flexible on the details because as you go along pursuing your vision, you’ll find that some of your preconceptions were wrong. And you’re going to need to be able to change those things. So, I think taking an idea successfully all the way to the market and turning it into a real product that people care about and that really improves people’s lives is a lot of hard work.
Care the Most About It
I actually spend a bunch of time analyzing and reflecting on why it was that we were even able to do it because all, like all reason suggests that we shouldn’t have been able to do it, right, because all these other companies had way more engineering power, and servers and time and money and all this stuff.
And I actually think that this is a pretty instructive thing for anything that you want to go do, because the same property is going to be true for anything that you guys start, is that someone else is going to have more resources and be able to do it. The reason why I think we actually ended up being the ones doing it is because we just cared way more about it than everyone else, right?
So, there were always projects at some of these other companies that were these hobbies, but we always thought that it was this really important thing and really just like felt in our gut, in our heart, that we wanted to do it.
You know, early on there were always these skeptics saying that, uh, this can’t be a business, we didn’t actually care that much about it being a business early on. But a lot of the reason why bigger companies didn’t invest in it was because it wasn’t clear that there was a model that would work for it.
Interviewer: It seemed like a bad idea.
Yeah, and I actually think that that’s true for a lot of the best ideas, where it is that it’s not that someone else can’t do it, they actually can, and the odds are stacked against you, but I think often that belief in the fact that you just care so much about what you’re doing is the only thing that kind of drives you to do it.
And, you know, to be honest, that kind of drives me to this day, I mean, one of the big emphasis points for the company right now is Internet.org, and you know, for awhile we had this rallying cry of, can we connect a billion people and, you know, when we started talking about that, we thought that was crazy, right?
It was way bigger than any service in the world that had been built, and, you know, it was ten digits long, right, it felt crazy, we’d never get to that. But then, the thing is as we started to actually get closer to that, we took a step back and we were like, alright, well our mission isn’t actually to get one in seven people in the world to be connected, we want to connect everyone.
So, it’s a big issue that only around a third of the people in the world have access to the internet, and that’s something that we think that we can do something about, and similar to early Facebook, there’s no business model around this. I mean, all the people who have all the money in the world, I mean it’s not necessarily a fair thing, are already the people who are on Facebook, right?
It’s in the first, you know, seventh of the world, but we just believe really strongly, it’s like this is what we are here to do, this is what our company cares about, I care about it, the team cares about it, our culture cares about it. So, we’re just going to keep pushing on it and I actually think a lot of the reason why great stuff gets built is because it’s kind of irrational at the time. So, it kind of selects for the people who care the most about it doing it.
Solve Big Problems
We are not a company that normally China call on, we call ourselves a company running a platform, a company that is running an ecosystem. We are almost everywhere, people say, Jack, you know you are in the B to B and B to C and you’re calling C to B on finance and online payment, logistics, cloud computing, you are everywhere. Not because we’re greedy, not because we want to do it, because we have to do it. If we do not do it, China e-commerce in the years will collapse. I remember nine years ago when I started Alipay.
People said, Jack, don’t touch the financing sector, ’cause it’s illegal, you may be in prison. And we thought to ourselves, if we don’t do it, the China e-commerce will always, like a chat room, everybody say, it’s a good thing and I don’t pay, you don’t get the things. So, I say, well, put me in the prison, let’s make sure that Alipay, the payment solution, works.
And people said the payment solution is such a stupid idea, it’s an escrow service. I pay, you hold the money, and you get the things, you pay the money, if you don’t get the things you want, return the money. They said it’s a stupid product, and I say, as long as it’ll solve the problem, I like stupid things, you know. Let’s make stupid things smart, keep on improving every day.
Follow Your Passion
Everything I did I was following something I really cared about, something I loved, something I was passionate about. And I kept following that passion, whether it was cars, whether it was anthropology, whether it was art, photography. And eventually it led me to my huge passion, my real passion, which was making movies, which combined all of those things.
And I realized that had I gone on to get my degree in Anthropology I would have probably made anthropological movies in New Guinea or someplace and eventually been on National Geographic and, you know, The History Channel, and then making features and I had done Star Wars just the same. If I’d have gone to arts center, and become an illustrator, I would have probably started doing animation and doing animated films and making animated things, and then ultimately I would have gone on and been right where I was.
So, no matter which route I took, because I cared about all of them, they all led to the same place. Had I done what my father had wished me to do, which is to go into the office equipment business with him, which I knew I wasn’t going to do, I knew I hated that, my life would have been unpleasant. And, so I think it’s very important not to do what your peers think you should do, not do what your parents think you should do, or your teachers, but to do what you inside or even your culture thinks, but do what’s inside you.
Be Honest With Yourself
Interviewer: Then what’s your advice to these small business founders today?
Work hard, you’re going to need some luck, but the harder you work the luckier you get. And if it doesn’t work out, that’s not the end of the world. I just don’t have anything in common with people that sit there and say, oh, my God, it was terrible, so, it’s water over the dam, under the bridge, get on with it and start another business the next day or another career.
And be honest, look in a mirror and say, why didn’t it work out? Well, it wasn’t the skill set, or it wasn’t, I didn’t have the temperament for it, or I was in the wrong place, wrong time, maybe I can afford to do it again, maybe I can’t. But, people aren’t honest with themselves. What I’ve always done is I’ve taken a yellow pad, I draw a line down the middle, write out the pros on one side, the cons on another, in the sense that if I let you see it you wouldn’t laugh at me.
And, then when I get done, I just rip it up and throw it away because I’ve worked out in my mind what is real and what isn’t and what I can present to people and what I can’t.
Interviewer: I mean, what made you single handedly decide to replenish America’s bison herd?
Save everything. Remember, I’m supposed to be shooting for something that’s impossible to have happen in my lifetime.
Interviewer: And he has done the impossible. Many times, like the 1979 Fastnet Race off the coast of England. A massive storm whipped up winds and waves that left 15 sailors dead. To this day, it’s considered the most dangerous ocean race, ever, and Ted didn’t just survive, he won. And that’s where we started our conversation about his amazing life. Was there ever a moment that you thought you wouldn’t make it?
No, but I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about not making it. I was trying to figure out how to keep going.
Interviewer: Where you afraid?
Interviewer: Did you ever think of not going through with the race? Was it ever-?
Dropping out? Hahaha, no way. That would have been like dropping out with CNN.
My goal is to simplify complexity. I just want to build stuff that really simplifies our base human interaction. Twitter was around communication and visualizing what was happening in the world in realtime.
Square was allowing everyone to accept the form of payment that people have in their pocket today, which is a credit card. So, we’ve built the simplest way to accept credit cards and it’s just this little, tiny device that we give away for free, and you just download some software from the app store and you plug it in to your mobile phone or your iPad. Then, suddenly, you can take credit cards, so if you’re a tax accountant, or a lawyer, or a doctor, or even a hair stylist, you can now accept credit cards.
Thank you guys so much for watching! I’d love to know, what did you think? Did you enjoy this video, did you take something from it? What was your favorite point, do you want to see the series continue or not since this is a brand new test for me. Let me know, leave it down in the comments below.
Thank you guys so much for watching, I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is, much love. I’ll see you soon.
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