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10 Business Secrets For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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Business Secrets For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

This is an entertaining post from a presentation at the University of San Diego by Mitch Thrower. He presents a very inspirational and funny lecture about 10 very important business secrets.

A secret is something people tell one person at a time. So, I’m going to challenge you to share what you’ve learned here today with some other people, the same way you probably share your other secrets. And if you’ve ever sent an e-mail to someone and you think that they don’t share it with anyone, you’re wrong.

Everyone has someone they confide in and sends all of their information to, be it one person, two people, three people. If you e-mail anyone, it’s going to every one.

Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” And there are a few things to pay particular attention to in this slide, and that is, the first, the dash.

Right now is a dash. You are in the dash. You’re in between your birth and your death. You have an opportunity to dream something amazing, to become something amazing, to do something incredible.

Think about the moon. Look to the person to your right or left, all right, and just think about the moon. All right, you look up and there’s this giant orb spinning around the earth, right? And now say to that person next to you, “Let’s go there.” Okay? Now, go do it. Somehow, someway, have an idea to do something as crazy as going to the moon, and then go do it.

One of the things you need to realize in business and in life is that our capabilities are not inherent only in ourselves, they also come from the people around us. I guarantee you that you probably couldn’t hurl yourself to the moon alone today.

But, you can marshal the resources the same way mankind marshaled the resources–and there are probably some people in the audience that believe we never really went to the moon–but, you can marshaling resources to achieve unbelievable, incredible things, and it all starts today.

Do you think your careers are about to get started? They’ve already started. Your careers have already started. Everyone that has a printed resume ready to send out, raise your hand. Everyone that doesn’t have a printed resume ready to send out, raise your hand. Get that resume going.

Something I did–which is a tough one, and I know people won’t follow number 10. We have 10 secrets today, and this is the first secret, and it’s “Bag the booze.” Bag the booze is a really challenging thing. I drink very infrequently. In fact, freshman year of college, I gave up drinking altogether for the next three years, aside from once or twice every now and then.

And my life changed dramatically, dramatically. It’s not because I had a problem with alcohol, but because of what happens as an impact of alcohol on your lives, jobs, careers, friendships. It’s a very different life. You have an entire lifetime ahead of you. Try living alcohol-free for just a little while and see what you think.

Forget paper. Number nine business secret is to forget paper. The paper resume that you have means practically nothing, the stacks of resumes we get every day, every minute. Resumes come to us at Active Network and Active.com. It is so hard for me or an HR director to know you through that piece of paper.

So, I challenge you in your careers and in your lives to jump off the paper, to become a person that can network with other people to figure out what it is you want to do, and to ask them and to ask for help, and to meet them and to say, “Hey, how are you? This is what I really want to do with my life.

This is what I want to do. Who should I talk to? Where should I go?” And then, they’ll introduce you to somebody.   A resume handed from me into the organization Active.com has a much higher probability of success because it comes with a recommendation and the same thing with everything else in your life.

Everything you want to do, if you have someone give you a nudge, it’ll help tremendously. So, forget the paper resume. Put yourselves in situations where you can be the resume.   I would much rather hire somebody without experience who is an incredible people person for customer service than someone with all the experience in the world and put them on the phones answering questions with people that are having problems.

It’s you that we as career folks want to hire. It’s not your resume. It’s not necessarily your experience. It’s the person, what you can do.   Don’t waste time. This is a hard one. Everyone grabs their cell phones. Please, grab your cell phones quickly if you’ve got them with you.

Grab your cell phones and hold them up. Hold them up–and we’ve done this in a couple of classes.   Open them. Turn them on. It’s a draw. Turn on your cell phones. And now, what I’d like you to do is open up your text messages. Open up your text messages. And now, what I’d like you to do is hand the phone to the person next to you.

There are some messaging [unintelligible] out there. I’m just kidding. You don’t have to hand it to someone. I wish you could see your faces right now.

Okay. Please stand up. This is going to be a challenge. Pay particular attention to what I’m saying. But, everyone, I’d like you to–if–we may have done this before–if you are not single, please sit down.

I love the people that wait and then sit down. People are looking at you. Who else is in the room? Okay, everyone please sit down.

I’ve always said that there’s someone in your cell phone that you should delete. There’s someone in your life that you should delete. There are things that you’re doing that you should not be doing and you know what they are. It’s not rocket science when you waste time.

There are productive hours in the day. There are nonproductive hours during the day, so we waste time. I waste time. Everyone wastes time on people, on places, on things that we do in our lives. And the best thing you can do to change the direction of your career, your life, your happiness, is to not waste that time because it’s the ultimate resource. The ultimate resource that’s diminishing every second is time.

This is a very interesting thing to do. Think about your age, your actual age right now. Roundup. Your next birthday you will be X. Have that number in your mind. Now, change your lives and put a percentage sign next to it, which means if you’re 22 years old, 21 years old, you are 22 percent of the way finished. Wow.

Find your comma. Another business secret–if you really want to find your comma–and your comma is when someone’s like my introduction today was a lot of the things that I’ve done or, you know, participating in the Ironman Triathlon or certain career–you know, you’re a member of the SIBC. But, everyone who talks about you doesn’t just say your name, they add a comma, and then they say something about you.

What is it people are saying about you right now? What do friends introduce you as? This is Susan, my great friend. This is Susan, from the SIBC. There’s a comma that will follow you around for the rest of your life, but it’s up to you to craft your comma. It’s up to you to figure out what it is that you’re going to be known for, that you’re going to be remembered for. Find your comma.

Interview everyone. Interview every single person you know. Does anyone here want to stand up and name everyone else in the room?

Student: I want to, but I can’t.

Mitch Thrower: Can anyone in here stand up and name 10 or more people in the room? Five or more? Anyone? Okay, stand up, please.

Steven: Five or more?

Mitch Thrower: Five or more.

Steven: Okay. Adriana, Ursula, Shawn, Katie, Sarah, Victor, Jordan.

Mitch Thrower: Keep going.

Steven: Keep going? Joe, Vince, Miss. Murphy back here, Debra.

Mitch Thrower: Excellent. Now, stay standing.

Steven: Maria.

Mitch Thrower: Maria. Okay, stay standing for one second. Tell me at least one thing about four of those people.

Steven: Okay. Shawn teaches band. He teaches drums.

Mitch Thrower: One.

Steven: For drum corps. Ursula lives in Claremont. She’s a marketing major. She wants to go to law school.

Mitch Thrower: Here, here.

Steven: Maria is looking to buy a house. Let’s see. Victor’s from Sweden. Joe is president of SIBC.

Mitch Thrower: Excellent. Okay. You can sit down. What is your name?

Steven: Steven.

Mitch Thrower: A hand for Steven. Something I’ve learned by being a journalist is that the power of asking questions and learning about the other people in your lives will change forever your interaction with those people. You need to ask questions, but most of us are too busy. Most of us don’t want any more information. Most of us don’t want the baggage that comes with knowledge about other people.

Most of us want to get into our day, get want we want, and get out, but that’s not the way it works. And that’s specifically not the way it works in the business community, because you have to get into your day, you have to give something back greater than what you take out, and that’s the value formula that will help you become more successful in all areas, financially, emotionally, spiritually. That’s where your lives will change.

So, find out the names, the personalities, the wealth of information that this room-if we were locked in a house, aka Big Brother, as a group, I guarantee we’d all get to know each other really well.

But, if we were locked in a house with a manifest to achieve something, and we had to achieve something or we would all die, I guarantee you that we all would have a very different experience in that house. And, again, you’ve already started your careers, so find out now.

Who are you sitting next to in class? Connect the dots. We’re on secret number five, and that is to connect the dots. So, now that you’ve learned about all the other people in your lives, now that you’ve figured out who you’re interacting with, what their stories are, you want to connect the dots.

And how do you do that from a business perspective? How do you connect the dots in your lives? Well, I recommend reading and sharing things that you find out that you think someone else would be interested in.

For example, tear out an article you think someone’s interested in, perhaps about the moon, or about a specific form of oil that’s just been discovered, or ethanol and how much ethanol is now going to be in our gas or in the mix fuels. Tear out whatever your friends are interested in and share it with them. Become a source to help other people in your life get what they want.

Why? Why do you want to help other people get what they want? Because if you help other people get what they want, they’ll help you get what you want. It’s a really easy formula, but you have to start. You have to start by connecting those dots in the people that you’re interacting with on a daily basis. Find out what they need, and then give it to them or show them away.

Okay. Pick partners. Everyone grab a partner. And if you don’t have a partner and there’s a third person, and then that person can jump in as well. I’d like a partner to lean into the other partner and as quietly as possible tell him a secret, as quietly as possible.

Okay, guys. Everyone, eyes forward, eyes forward. Now, the people that were not speaking, because I think we had two things, what I’d like you to do is a whisper. I don’t want to hear a sound in the room. I want you to whisper so close that it’s actually uncomfortable, that you feel like you’re in Europe and someone’s right there next to you.

The person who didn’t speak, whispers a secret that is actually kind of something controversial in the other person’s ear. It can be fictional. Begin.

Okay. Somebody hit someone over there. Okay. Everyone, eyes forward. I’ve never seen someone get hit. I don’t know what we want to know that secret. But, you’ve heard that, if you want to get someone’s attention, you can whisper.

There’s another thing that you need to realize when you’re talking on the phone with someone–we all have cell phones. We all have home phones. But, when you’re talking on the phone with someone, your voice–your mouth is in their ear. Think about that.

Usually, if you’re talking to someone as close as a phone is to someone’s ear, you’re probably in a relationship. But, the fact is you are in a relationship. People forget the fact that everyone we interact with during the day is in a relationship, and they come with their whole world.

So, a person you’re going to walk up to, they come with a whole world, a whole orbit, a whole–everything behind them. All the people that they know are walking behind them all the time. And all the people that you know are walking behind you all the time. So, who’s on your team?

Pursue the spark. Is anyone in here in love? There are some people who really raised their hands quickly. Excellent. Pursue the spark. I don’t smoke, but I brought a lighter. And the lighter is to just make a quick demonstration.

There’s something that happens when you fall in love. There’s something that happens in life. There’s something that happens in your job. When you get up every day and you’re so excited to do what you want to do, and it’s the spark.

I think it’s the spark. It’s that thing perhaps in a loving relationship, which doesn’t necessarily have to do with physical attraction or emotional attraction, but it’s something much more.

In a career, it doesn’t necessarily have to do with what you’re achieving on a daily basis, but it’s what gets you excited, right. It’s the spark. What does that? What’s going to spark your career? All right. What happens after a spark?

Student: Fire.

Mitch Thrower: Fire. It’s a simple demonstration, but it’s an incredibly important point because so many people will find their way into what I call a cubicle farm. And you’ll be sitting there in a cubicle, Office Space, right? You have to come in on Saturday to get the report.

And if you want to make your cubicles exciting or if you want to make your jobs exciting, if you find something that is perhaps more boring than you think it is, remembers that what’s exciting in business is not necessarily the business. It’s the people in the business.

So, you join a company with 120 people, you are in your new cubicle, and you’re incredibly upset and you’re bored. You’re bored. What do you do? Take a different one of every single person in the company out to lunch or out to coffee or meet them for coffee every day. A company with 365 people will take you an entire year to have coffee with one person every day to learn what they know–but more importantly, to learn what they know that you want to know.

So, pursue the spark with all your heart, all your heart. Don’t give up, but look for the spark in your careers, romantically, spiritually, everything.

Get out of Dodge. Get out of Dodge. Has anyone here ever been bored? Raise your hand. Okay, and if you haven’t, you can follow along. But, if you’ve been bored and you want to get something–maybe some of you are bored right now. I hope not, but you could be.

I can’t talk as fast as your minds can work. That’s impossible. But, you’re in charge of how your minds are working. You’re in charge of what you’re thinking at all times. That’s a huge responsibility. You drive your thoughts. You’re driving your careers. You’re driving your academic careers right now. You’re driving your relationships with other people. That’s your steering wheel.

Okay, so boredom–to the point of boredom, get out of Dodge. And this is a theory I have of why the divorce rate is so high, of why job satisfaction is not always on par. It’s because people get bored.

People get bored because they don’t do new things. They don’t do new things at work. They run on the same running routes. They get up the same way every day. They have the same coffee. They do the exact same thing every day. Sometimes people even wake up at the exact same time every day for about a year. It’s a life of monotony that you’re battling.

And in your career, you don’t want to be bored. You don’t want to do the same thing every day. You don’t want to necessarily interact with the same people every day. So, open up your eyes and your lives and your minds to things that you’re going to be incredibly excited about and make them new. Do something new. Find something new. Travel. Get out of Dodge.

Does anyone know where this comes from–this expression, “Get out of Dodge?” It’s a city. You don’t know where the city is?

Student: [Unintelligible.]

Mitch Thrower: That’s–.

Unidentified Female: –Kansas.

Mitch Thrower: Kansas. Right? It’s Dodge–I believe Dodge City, Kansas. I don’t know what Dodge City, Kansas is like. Does anyone know what it’s like? Have you been there?

Student: Yes.

Mitch Thrower: What’s it like?

Student: Just a regular town.

Mitch Thrower: A regular town.

Student: A Western town.

Mitch Thrower: It’s a Western town. It’s from the movies that people say, “Get out of Dodge.” It’s not like this horrible place that people need to leave immediately, right?

Student: It’s pretty bad.

Mitch Thrower: It’s pretty bad.

Student: Kansas sucks.

Mitch Thrower: So, the next time you hear or have someone around you say, “Get out of Dodge,” think about your lives. Think about your heart. Think about what it is that you need to change in your environment to be happier because a happy person is far more enjoyable to interact with than an unhappy person.

Click people, number two–and these are on the priority scale. They are in priority on the way down. So, the next one coming up is number one. But, number two, click people. Click people is a concept that is very easy to understand. And that is, right now my mouth is a mouse. I’m clicking buttons in your minds. And you’re doing the same thing with everyone you interact with, and you’re doing the same thing with your job and your life. You’re simply clicking your way through the day.

This is what I’m going to think about now. This is where I’m going to go. This is what I’m listening to. This is what I’m not listening to. So, don’t underestimate it. Never underestimate the power you have to click other people.

You’re a supercomputer. Other people are supercomputers. Did you ever see the movie the Matrix? Digital information, what we can achieve when we’re standing next to a supercomputer? Some people have said that business would be amazing if it wasn’t for the people, right? And it’s true.

People are a very tough formula, a very tough formula. They come with things that you have no idea what’s there, and sometimes they pretend to be someone they’re not. And then, we get a hidden agenda later. We get something that we didn’t expect because they didn’t tell us. The horrible thing is that people are not always honest.

The number one recommendation–the number one business secret, which so many people forget, won’t follow, don’t follow–you guys won’t follow it. You will continue, I think, unfortunately, to use things like white lies not to hurt people’s feelings. They’ll be in a business situation where someone else will hear something that you say that they didn’t want to know, but found out that that’s the way you really felt.

Brutal honesty is the number one thing you can do in your career and at work and in business. And I’m going to underline brutal with this–I’m going to use a laser pointer on here. We always had a dog that would run after this thing. Brutal honesty.

If you think today you didn’t lie once–I’m not going to make you do anything, but I made you think about it. Do you think you didn’t lie once today? Do you think you didn’t indicate something, or maybe by an absence of information, led someone else to believe something that they really shouldn’t have believed?

Here’s the secret. Everyone in life ultimately finds out everything. Everyone in life ultimately finds out everything, whether it’s through someone breaking into your e-mail, talking to somebody, figuring out something.

I have a few more slides. But, while I’m going through these slides, please think in the back of your mind about some questions. Questions, thoughts, shortcuts, comments, reflections, and we’re going to come back to the Q&A slide in a minute. Please stand up.

Let’s review. And what I want to do is have you guys say them out loud as they come up. Number one–or number 10.

Students: Bag the booze.

Mitch Thrower: Number nine.

Student: Forget paper. [Unintelligible.] Don’t waste time. Keep [unintelligible.]

Mitch Thrower: Okay. Ready? Number seven.

Students: Find your comma–you.

Mitch Thrower: All right, let’s start again. Ready?

Student: Find your comma–you.

Mitch Thrower: Number six.

Students: Interview everyone.

Mitch Thrower: Do you feel that you have to talk softer because it’s smaller? Number five.

Students: Connect the dots.

Mitch Thrower: Number four.

Students: Pursue the spark. Get out of Dodge. Click people. Brutal honesty.

Mitch Thrower: You guys said, “Brutal honesty,” in a very discouraging way. Okay, you guys can sit down.

While you’re thinking about Q&A, I have some bonus material and some thoughts and ideas. If you think we’re not looking at your MySpace pages when we’re getting ready to hire you, you’re wrong, because we are. We’re looking at your MySpace pages. We’re looking at your comments. I mean, I’m not personally interviewing people for jobs right now, but beware of that.

You’re saying something that’s a joke on someone else’s MySpace page, and it will be there, and it will be there forever in the cache, and I can get to it.

If you’re looking for an internship or a job, you can send me an e-mail. Please mark either SIBC or USD in the header. We’re hiring people at the Active Network. We’ve hired 160 people. I’m really looking for more USD graduates or people that want summer internships, semester internships, anything you need. You can talk to me afterward, or just send an e-mail here or you can talk to Joe.

And the websites of all the companies I’m involved in are listed here at ThrowerVentures.com. So, if you’re interested in a specific company, for example, Veoh, which is a television-related business online, similar to Google but high quality, like Google Video or YouTube video, but they’re also hiring aggressively. So, please take me up on that if you’re looking for a job or an internship.

Since we have a little extra time, this is some bonus material from a book I wrote called the Attention Deficit Workplace. And it’s just some things you should do in life and in your career. The first one is to track and pay attention to.

I don’t know. Can everyone read that from the back row? You can? Can you stand up and read the first one?

Student: And I can pay attention to all your passwords and online accounts. It’ll save you time and allow you to navigate your electronic world more effectively.

Mitch Thrower: Wow. A big hand for the back row reader. I had that laser surgery again, but I don’t think I can read it from here. And that’s true. How many people spend time–oh, what was my password? Remember it. It’ll make your lives much easier.

Always read the legal documents that you receive and are in any way related to or responsible for. And I should add that I read and understand them. And if you don’t understand them, ask people, because I guarantee you won’t take my advice here and you’re going to get hosed, right?

You can just pretty much stand up right now. You don’t have, but you could and say, “I’m going to get hosed because I’m not going to listen to that second thing.” Always read anything that you’re related to–indirectly related to, and even that your friends are related to.

People prefer to interact with those who maintain a strong moral code at all times. Integrity is a resounding sound in life. It’s something that takes a year of life, your whole being to create and build, and it takes one wrong move to destroy it. It’s like trust. Trust takes a lifetime to build, and a second to kill.

When you have a great idea, sometimes the best way to make it happen with a large corporation is to convince others that it was their idea, to get them emotionally invested in the project. You’ll learn that if you work in large corporations that people love their ideas and they’re not so fond of other people’s ideas. People love to interrupt. People love to hear their own voices, and people love to take credit.

I’ve said time and time again, the corporate culture is a blame-placing and credit-taking culture. Something wrong, he did it. Something right, I did it. That’s what you’re going to find yourselves in if you go into corporate culture.

And then, the last of the kind of bonus tips and points are, when you are requesting money from someone for a venture, for a business, for anything, ask for their thoughts on how to make your business successful. And that translates into ask for help. Don’t ask for money because everyone wants to help, but no one wants to give you money.

This is 2,400 people. I don’t know if the guy in the back row can tell. I’m right there. And they have 2,400 in a mass swim start. This was Ironman Canada this year, this crazy sport of triathlon that I participate in where we swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run a marathon usually in extreme conditions like Hawaii or mountains of Canada, etc.

This is a part of my comma, but it’s taught me something, something that I want to share with you. And that is, if you think it’s impossible to do something like this, it’s not. If you think it’s impossible to go to the moon, it’s not. The achievements of tomorrow are floating around in your neurons today.

Try and do something big, because it will take just as much effort to do something big and amazing as it will take to do something teeny and insignificant. Venture capitalists always say, “I don’t want to invest in your business. You’re only asking for $3 million.” “What?” “You see, I need to invest my time in something that I can put at least $15 million in.”

You need to apply the same formula to your lives. Work on big things. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to start small but work on big things. Find a dream.

So, now let’s hit questions and answers. Any questions and answers? And I threw a lot at you with a loud voice in a small room, so let’s have some brave people. Yes. Stand up. Your name?

Richard: Richard.

Mitch Thrower: Richard, where are you from?

Richard: I’m from San Raphael, California.

Mitch Thrower: San Raphael. How are you?

Richard: I’m good.
What made you decide to start training for the triathlon?

Mitch Thrower: The triathlon.

Richard: What was your reason for doing that?

Mitch Thrower: I went to college as a jock, and I turned into a nerd because I had fractured both my knees. And I had four knee surgeries and was catapulted into a life of non-athletics in college, and then came out, started running again. They healed well, so I started running and swimming and biking in recovery, and I was so happy that I was doing well. And I’d be behind the lead vehicle running as fast as I could because I was really happy.

So, for me, it was losing the capacity to be athletic that catapulted me into this insane development. And also, I’m an obsessive-compulsive workaholic. I love to work. And so, the sport of triathlon where you get to run and bike and swim fell in very well with my personality and kind of became my way of thinking, of meditating. I think that you know when you go on a 10-hour bike ride in 100-degree heat for reasons–for training, you’re–it’s better than 15 years of therapy. Your name?

Durham: Durham from San Jose. I was wondering if there was one motto that you live by, what would you say–?

Mitch Thrower: –Say that one more time?

Durham: If there was like one motto that you live by–something that sums up everything for you?

Mitch Thrower: You know, I think today it’s the motto “Anything Is Possible,” which is actually Ironman Triathlon’s tagline, that anything is possible. And I keep testing the world in such a way that I’m trying to prove it wrong, but I have been unable to prove it wrong where I’ll say, “You know, I really want to achieve that.”

And it’s something that’s incredibly impossible. Start a company. Do an Ironman. You know, have a certain situation arise in my life. And I’ll point to something, and I’ll say, “This is what I really want.” And somehow by breaking it into smaller steps, it becomes possible.

So, my motto right now is that anything is possible, which is kind of a scary motto, right, because, if anything’s possible, you have a lot of responsibility because you’ve got to decide. And you don’t need to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. I still haven’t figured that out.

So, people say, “What are you going to do? What’s happening in your life? What’s next? What are you going to do with your life?” That’s going to change every day.

Yeah? Your name? Please stand up.

Evie: Oh, my name’s Evie. I’m from Minneapolis. When you come up with an idea that you think is really good, but people around you kind of put it down and say, “It’s not so good,” what keeps you motivated to keep going instead of just give up?

Mitch Thrower: Right.

Evie: Or what do you think about it?

Mitch Thrower: The naysayers–.

Evie: –Yeah–.

Mitch Thrower: –The people who say, “That’s impossible. That can’t be done.” I love the concept, and I–you may have heard before that everything that you’re looking at and touching right now was once just in your mind or in somebody’s mind, and now it’s a reality.

And there is always going to be someone who says, “That’s not true.” I think it was Ben Franklin who said, “If you tell 10 people something and they all say no, you should do it,” because everyone is going to consistently tell you what’s not to happen.

But, one thing I love is criticism. And that’s something–another coat to put on, another jacket to put on when you leave this room is something that’s going to be very uncomfortable at first, but it will help you tremendously. And that is you need to put on a jacket that’s going to help you in some way love criticism. Love when people say negative things about you. And the jacket is to make it not go inside, but to hear it, listen and adjust your behavior in your lives.

Because what can a compliment do? Hey, that was a great speech. That was awesome. Thanks. It’s going to do nothing for me. Hey, that was really wonderful what you did. Compliments do nothing to help you except make you feel better. But, they don’t make you feel better. You make me feel better.

So, seek criticism really, really well. And back to the naysayer concept. If someone says, “Don’t do this.” Say, “Why?” And start to build a little list in your mind of the next person you go up and say, “This is going to happen.” You need to learn all the no’s and you’ll need to learn all the yeses.

But, it can also be in the way you frame it because, sometimes if you frame something and say, “Hey, you know, I have a great idea for this new concept–I think at the university, they should hand out a piece of paper in the classroom, and everyone in the class should exchange e-mails and contact information with everyone else in that class, mandatory. I think that should be mandatory.”

And if you throw in at the end, You know actually that’s a horrible idea. I don’t like that idea at all. For some reason, whatever the idea is, if you go against the idea you presented, many times the people will turn around and start to defend your idea. Weird human psychology–really weird. Some more questions. Great questions. Yeah? Your name?

Steven: Steven.

Mitch Thrower: Steven.

Steven: I was wondering who besides Walt Disney has inspired you in your life, and what you took away from them?

Mitch Thrower: Who’s inspired me? I actually worked for Disney. I went down to Disney. That was my dream, was to work for Disney. I worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. If you have an opportunity to do that, they have something called the MKCP program, Magic Kingdom College Program.

You can do it down there and work for the summer. It is the most enjoyable summer you can ever have. You get the little pass where you can go anywhere and everywhere all around the parks, any time, in the tunnels–surface in Space Mountain, surface in Epcot Center. You can do anything. It’s a great pass. It really is.

But, the Disney Corporation really inspired me, and I think Walt Disney was a visionary. And I’ll put Disney up there, and then I’ll answer your question directly.

Disney was a visionary. And when he was dying, he was outlining on the hospital ceiling what Epcot Center should be like. “Okay, we’ll put Spaceship Earth here and Horizons will be over here. And this is what we’ll do for the kids.“ He was outlining that for Roy. And Roy Disney, his brother, said, “Well, Walt, we don’t have enough money to do all that. We can’t do all that.” And Walt looked back at Roy and said, “That’s your problem.” Right?

But, the thing to remember is that you don’t have to do everything. And I think Disney taught me that there are certain skill sets and things that you have that you need to surround yourself with other skill sets. And you talk about Disney–when they went to Florida to buy land in Florida, they went and bought all this land as a farmer, and then suddenly announced it was going to be Disneyland. So many things.

Other people have inspired me in life. Funny–there’s a funny story. Certainly, my dad inspired me quite a bit. My dad was an amazing person. He passed away in 1999. And he actually inspired me because of how hard he fought to live.

If you know what a defibrillator is–you know what a defibrillator is? An automatic implantable coronary defibrillator? It’s a device you put the paddles together, clear, shock someone’s heart back to life. Well, they now have something called an automatic implantable coronary defibrillator.

People’s–nodding their heads as they’ve heard of it. It’s a small device. You put it inside the abdomen or in the chest. You can’t even see it. And it’s so small, it can shock the heart back to life.

Well, my dad, when he got much older, actually had one of these implanted. And he went through death and life and being brought back to life by this device probably 20 times. And to see somebody die–in fact, there was an experience I had, which was a very emotional and personal experience for me, where he actually died in my arms, right?

He called and said, “Mitch,“ and then he collapsed and I felt the power of this device shocking through his arms into my arms, into my body, from this defibrillation shock. He collapsed. I thought he was on to his fishing trip. Went out, called 911, came back into the room, he sat up, and said, “Mitch.” It’s amazing.

So, his resolve to continue living, and in spite of some horrible circumstances, was something really inspirational to me. And then I moved in, not necessarily–it was not appropriate for me to move in, but I moved into the cardiac ICU and lived in New York Hospital in the cardiac ICU hospital with him for, I think, three months, right? I had my little secret area right behind the curtains because you’re not supposed to sleep there. But, of course, I was going to sleep there. It was my dad.

Another question. Okay, let’s do this. Just two more questions, and then we’ll have a conclusion. So, thoughts, questions? Now, that question you got to ask is–take it out. Is that a scratch?

Joe: [Inaudible.]

Mitch Thrower: Yeah, Joe?

Joe: Well, what was the hardest of those 10 things for you to overcome and conquer? Some of the tips that you fought to really get there?

Mitch Thrower: Well, if I can remember them. The hardest of these 10 things for me to get over, you know, I’m going to say one that’s not necessarily the hardest for me to get over but it’s the one that’s resounding the loudest in my mind right now–because in the last three weeks, I’ve had a couple of experiences that have let me know that I’ve been living without the spark for a short period of time.

So, right now this is the one that I’m hearing the loudest, because we’ve all had those moments where we lose track of time, and we’re so unbelievably happy that we don’t–what just happened? Oh, my gosh.

We’ve all spent time with our friends where it’s gone really fast. In a way, we want to live life like that. But, be careful, because, if you live life like that, pretty soon your percentage is going to go up pretty quick–20, 30, 40, 50, 60. Okay, one more question. Okay, two more questions. In the back–stand up. Your name?

Jesus: Jesus, I’m from here–San Diego.

Mitch Thrower: Excellent, Jesus.

Jesus: Your first financing for your company came from the bank, venture capitalists, yourself?

Mitch Thrower: Yeah, good question. The first financing for my first company came from 16 credit cards. Sixty thousand dollars in credit card debt, high interest rates. I do not recommend that. But actually, it’s a lot of pressure. And the pressure that you get comes–you know, all those credit card companies back then. And that includes like, you know, Mobil, to get people to and from work.

But, there are three ways to finance a company – venture financing from other people’s money, bootstrapping, and then vendor financing, so investigate all three of those and figure out which one’s right for you. There’s a lot of money out there if you have a great idea. If you want to start a business, approach people. And there’s another question. Yeah? Your name?

Sarah: Sarah.

Mitch Thrower: Sarah.

Sarah: I have a comment and a question. The question is what is your spark of the day, like when you get out of bed, what is the spark that you think about, and what is the fire you want to have by the end of the day?

And the other one, the comment is what would you suggest actually about the college student, because we get so, you know–just so busy with all the stuff that we have to do and the work, and at end of the day is like, “So, what am I going to do tomorrow?” So, what hope or what would you suggest for the college student and what–you know, when they wake up, what should be their spark?

Mitch Thrower:: Wow. Do you have another hour? I’m kidding. I’ll start with your last question, which is when you’re in college, you’re getting all these things. You got all these things you have to do. You have your classes. You have your lectures. You have your social schedules. You have this horrible world– a word that I hate called “possibly,” where you say you’re going to do with somebody else, possibly.

You have all these things coming at you, right, and you basically are learning and figuring out what you can do all of these things and so, they’re cool, because you can do those things because you’re making the decision to do those things.

And you find that you’re discovering that you’re so happy because you made the decision. It wasn’t your parents. It wasn’t your peers. You’re making decisions every day. And it’s an intoxicating feeling to get up and say, “You know, I’m going to decide to go and do that. And, wow, there’s this whole world over here that I can go and do, athletically, socially, academically, hopefully, in the reverse order.

But, think–take a step back and say, “You know what. I am–I can do this. It’s me. I can do those things.“ So, when I wake up during the day, what I would say to all college students every day is, “Why?” Why? No one asks–okay, I’m going to do this. “Why?”

We’re all in the cereal aisle, standing there looking at all these boxes of what we want to do during the day and just standing there. And then we’ll pick one, then we’ll pick another one. Why?

So, if you can answer the question, “Why,” why are you going to do this with this person, why are you going to do this academically, why are you going to pick this class, find why. Find out why. It doesn’t have to be–you can change your why, but do find your why.

And I’ll end on what is my spark when I wake up? Oh, boy. It’s a very personal question. I’m really happy to be alive. I’ve had some experiences in life, not just on my knees but some other experiences in life, and I’ve seen some things that have made me really understand the fact that life is pretty short. Life is really short, and I’ll explain. I feel like I’m getting all up close and personal with you guys today, but it’s probably a good thing.

I lost my sister when she was 16, and actually, she died while I was trying to bring her back. And you see someone that you grew up with suddenly not there. And you realize that someday everyone in here is going to die, but you don’t remember–you don’t realize. It’s not in our immediate consciousness. So, wake up and find a spark. Why? Wake up and do something. Why?

You know, I wake up so many times, even at night, I’m like, “Oh, my God. I got to get back to sleep,” but I’m alive, right? You’re alive. You’re breathing, you know, and that’s hard to remember when everything is coming at you and life is a challenge and you got mid-term, and you got all of these things going on.

But, you will lose everyone in your life that you love, or they’ll lose you. It’s part of the formula. And the knowledge of that–the realization of that is a gift you can get early in life. So, if you’ve lost someone that’s close to you and near and dear to you, it’s actually a really big gift, so that’s the spark.

Okay, guys, please stand up. Stretch for just a minute. And now, I’d like to ask you all to close your eyes. Don’t worry. I’m not going to leave. I’ve done that a couple of times. I actually did that in a class. I don’t know if anyone was in it. Okay, guys, close your eyes, and then I left. Close your eyes.

I see a bunch of eyes still open. Think for a minute about what it is you want, today, tomorrow from your jobs, from your careers, in your lives. Remember the last time you were in love. Remember the last job you had.

Try and picture yourself in 10 years. A decade from now, where are you? What are you doing? How much money do you have? How many children do you have? What are you pursuing? What kind of dreams are you pursuing? What are you looking at? What are you thinking?

Now, please sit down without opening your eyes, not on someone’s lap. Okay, guys, you can open your eyes. Do that every day. Okay, that’s it, you guys. Thanks so much.

Photo by zoe pappas from Pexels

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