LEARNING FROM THOSE THAT CAME BEFORE
California, late Fall 2014. 100 young entrepreneurs descend upon the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara to attend the 2014 Builders & Innovators Conference - an annual event hosted by Goldman Sachs and this year attended by Tom Higbee & Thomas Aabo with a mission to introduce Solbeso to the captains of the Industry of Tomorrow.
The B+I conference focus on teaching the next generation of entrepreneurs to pursue their business and passion in a responsible and sustainable way through advice and lessons from accomplished leaders, most of whom started with no more than an idea and a passion for change of their own.
EXPERIENCE, INSIGHTS & PASSION
Speakers included Michael Dell (DELL Computers), Sheldon Adelson (Sands Casino & Resorts), Kevin Plank (Under Armor), Reed Hastings (NetFlix), Aubrey McClendon (Chesapeake Energy) and many others. The common theme across all discussions: not accepting convention. Pushing against or working around an establishment holding back your idea; Walking new paths to connect a vision with reality and the customer waiting to support that vision. All speakers showcased a deep level of insight in their industry, making it clear their success was not easily won, but the result of intense focus, passion and dedication over a long period of time and against the expectation of the 'smartest people in the room' at the time.
The mantra heard over and over was simply; work hard, believe in yourself, never let a closed door stop you, stay hungry and never, ever accept when someone tells you 'it can't be done'.
WORDS OF WISDOM
B+I yielded a number of wonderful sound-bites, ranging from Kevin Planks Zen-like relaxation advice, "Get more than 2.5 hours of sleep at night? You're not working hard enough" to Shelly Adelsons, understanding your business; "I wasn't in the hotel business. I was in real-estate; buying square feet by the dime and renting them out by the dollar", to Michael Dells classic spot-the-opportunity-and go "I knew the parts combined cost maybe $275... yet the IBM Personal Computer was selling for over $2,000". Sage advice came from the man behind most natural gas in the US today; Aubrey McClendon, "When I'm in doubt, I'll take a beer and a nap. If still in doubt when I wake up, I'll have another nap - maybe a second beer." Considering Aubrey started Chesapeake at 23 and turned it into the 2nd largest US producer of natural gas worth more than $16B, one imagines he's earned a nap or two. We of course cannot help but wonder what the Natural Gas industry would look like today if Mr. McClendon would have had access to Solbeso during his pontifications.
Want more advice from the participants of B+I 2014? Watch this video;