Or, this blog post could be titled: How I met the founder of Twitter and all I did was talk about my kid.
I went on my first business trip last week since having the baby. I was very nervous about leaving but I knew Jamisen was in great hands with his Dad, allowing me to really focus on my business conference (during the day; the evenings and mornings were tough without my lil’ guy). But, it was a great conference and a fantastic foray back into business travel. With the founder of Twitter, Magic Johnson and the founder of Paul Mitchell Haircare products as speakers (plus many many other amazing business talks), I had a jam packed three days of learning.
The founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, (that’s me and him above) kicked off the event with his first-hand account of building Twitter. He was super funny, approachable and down to earth. An example of his humor? He told the story about how, early in Twitter’s infancy, people kept complaining to him that “Twitter wasn’t useful”. He quipped “Well, neither is ice cream. So what? We’re makin’ someting. We’re liking it. Why do you have to keep calling us and saying it’s ‘not useful.’ Quit calling us. ”
He shared some keys for having a successful business:
(1) Have fun. Biz (aside: can I call him Biz? Mr. Stone seems a bit too formal) a story about how he was doing home remodel projects, sweating buckets pulling carpet, and his friend, co-founder Ev Williams, tweeted that he was drinking a glass of wine after a massage. Biz immediately started laughing. And that is when he realized that he was having fun building Twitter and with the experiences it was bringing him. Part of having fun is believing that your co-workers really do have their A-game on and making sure that you always approach every situation with an attitude of goodwill. Here’s one of his short, easily digestible slides from the talk.
(3) Opportunity can be manufactured. Opportunity is a set of circumstances that happen that you can take advantage of them. So many people believe you have to wait for opportunity but really, you can create the circumstances and then take advantage of them. (Side note: I totally manufactured the opportunity to talk to Biz. I waited by the elevator until he had to take the elevator and then I piled in and chatted with him for at least five minutes).
(5) To succeed spectacularly, be ready to fail spectacularly. When you’re really young and starting out, you need someoe to tell you it’s okay to lose all your money and go totally bankrupt. (Anne-Marie note: My friend Bob Prichett says this too. He says that starting your business before you’re encumbered with a mortgage is a blessing. Encourage your kids to try their hand at something they’re passionate it, before they have too much to lose. I started BrambleBerry.com at the age of 20, way before I realized that it was a major risk.)
(6) Give back. Help Others. Even when it’s small. Biz said, “Even when we were totally in debt, we were always keen on volunteering and helping.” In reality, the lesson is that there is a compound interest in helping others. So the earlier you get started helping, the more impact you’re going to have over time. Don’t wait until you have enough, start now. It ends up being way more if you start early. Entrepreneurs can build that into the fabric of your culture from day one. You can have a huge impact over time.
The message he left us with was: We can change the world, build a business and have fun.
It was an amazing post and cheered me up during my lunch time in the lab.
Greetings from Germany Bavaria
And thank YOU for visiting all the way from Germany. YAY! =)
Ken Buska says
That sounds like a great experience. Do you mind sharing what conference you attended?
EO Alchemy through the Entrepreneur’s Organization:
I’ve been a member for years; it’s definitely a key business strength and support for me.
Donna Maria Coles Johnson says
What a cool event! EO Alchemy stuff always seems so great and I so wish I could have been there. I have met John Paul DeJoria before. I wish I had had a chance then to talk business with him, but alas, I was taking his deposition – no time to talk shop that day! I would love to speak with Magic Johnson someday. I’ve seen hm several times because I went to school with his sister. But that was before he became such a successful businessman. He was only one of the best basketball players in the world back then 🙂 I liked him then, like him even more now for what he’s achieved off the court. Thanks for sharing some of the tips you collected!
Magic Johnson actually had a ‘moment’ from the stage when a young 17 year old stood up, thanked Magic for sponsoring the Boys and Girls Club because he went there when he was homeless. And then, he acted a very serious question. Magic answered the question and then interacted with the young man a bit and before we knew it, he was giving the young man his phone number from the stage (!!!!!) and saying he was going to mentor him. Really! It was a Cinderella moment. The entire audience was in tears. It was incredibly moving. Count me as a HUGE fan of Magic now.
Donna Maria Coles Johnson says
Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, when he announced he had contracted HIV. In the 20 years since, he’s blazed many trails. I only tolerated Starbuck’s too strong coffee because Magic owned a stake for a while 🙂
Totally random, but did you see Starbucks came out with a ‘Blonde’ lighter blend last week/week before?
Magic was amazing. He talked about his HIV and his regimen for staying healthy. I really cannot say enough about him (from the brief experience I had listening to him as an audience member).
WOW, what an amazing experience – you met Biz Stone!! Or should I say, he got to meet YOU. I love twitter’s business model – I think that is really inspiring and creative. And as for talking incessantly about your kid, welcome to the wonderful world of parenting. 😉 And really, how could you NOT talk about that cutie pie.
Syd, Adore you! Miss you dreadfully, still (though the entire Mindfly crew is of course, superb).
Yes, BIZ! He was SO so so cool. I talked to him for probably 8-10 minutes about childcare, nannies, sleep etc… and he was incredibly down to earth, very chill, and absolutely humble. I was blown away by his good spirited nature.
It was awesome. And, yeah, Jamisen is pretty darn cute =)
I have more of a question than a comment.
my question is Are you suppose to spray your melt and pour soap molds with cooking spray before filling them with the soap?
Alanna Maki says
@ Gayle. I’m no sure about cooking spray. I would think that would make it greasy. I always spray mine with rubbing alcohol. Then once poured, I let it cool for a few hors before I remove them. If you are having trouble getting your soaps out, just let them cool a little while longer, or you can pop it in the fridge for 5 minutes 🙂
Totally agree with Alanna. You don’t need to spray your melt and pour soap molds with cooking spray. They should release easily without any extra spray. =)