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Start Something That Matters Paperback – May 15, 2012
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A Letter from Author Blake Mycoskie
People often ask me what I consider my goal to be at TOMS. The truth is that it’s changed over the years. When we first began, the goal was to create a for-profit company to help the children that I met in a small village in Argentina. And that objective to give new shoes to children in need continues to be a powerful driver for me and everyone else at TOMS. But recently my personal mission has changed. Today, I would say that my goal is to influence other people to go out into the world and have a positive impact, to inspire others to start something that matters, whether it’s a for-profit business or a nonprofit organization. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to share everything that we’ve learned from TOMS, so that others can learn from both our mistakes and the counterintuitive principles that have guided our success. I would also like to share the stories of other social entrepreneurs, from all walks of life, who are taking that wonderful and courageous step forward, who are moving from thinking about doing something to actually doing it. Among many others, the leaders profiled in my book include Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos), Scott Harrison (founder of charity: water), Lauren Bush (founder of FEED Projects), Eric Ryan & Adam Lowry (co-founders of method) and Tim Ferriss (author of The 4-Hour Workweek). Like me, all of the people featured in the book faced insecurities and fear when first starting out. All of us bootstrapped with limited resources, and made countless mistakes along the way. After reading these stories of success, I hope that you’ll realize that you already have everything you need to get started. You don’t need a lot of money, a complicated business plan, or a great deal of experience to get your idea off the ground. What you absolutely must have, however, is the courage to take that first bold step forward…. For me, the ultimate success of this book will be measured not by how many copies it sells but by the number of people whom it inspires. Are you ready to start something that matters? Carpe Diem,
Blake --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“A creative and open-hearted business model for our times.”—The Wall Street Journal
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Blake Mycoskie was a born entrepreneur, at the age of 29; he had already started three different businesses and was quite content with where he was. At this stage, he decided to take a vacation and so he went to Argentina. While there, he saw these amazing local Argentine shoes called "alpargeta". They were worn by practically everyone out there and the entrepreneur in him saw a potential market for those shoes back in USA. He parked the idea at the back of his mind and continued with his vacation. While visiting some villages, he came across kids who were living their lives with no shoes at all to wear. He researched and found about all the dreadful infections they were subjected to because of the lack of shoes. Then and there, Blake decided he wanted to do something about it and that is when he came up with the idea to start "TOMS" (....). TOMS refers to "Shoes for tomorrow". The idea Blake came up with was very simple. His company would start selling "alpargeta" shoes. For every shoe sold today, TOMS would donate a pair of shoes to kids in need tomorrow. The idea was noble but at the same time very scary as mixing money and charity was not something that was done much in USA. Blake however wanted to pursue this dream and so he did.
His journey was tough but in a period of "5" years after TOMS started, Blake was able to donate One Million shoes to kids in need. Blake goes all out in this book to explain and illustrate so many other such organizations who have taken to do something about the social issues around us. He goes on to explain how one can start with an idea no matter how small it is and then build on it over time and at the same time incorporate "giving" in their business strategy from the very beginning. He has given references to several tools and techniques in this book to run your start-ups in the least possible financial situation while ensuring that you are giving back to the society.
Personally to me, this was a big eye opener. I was stirred emotionally on more than a few occasions while reading the book as Blake narrated several of his interactions with the kids he saw. We take a lot of things we have for granted and never think about those unlucky few, who don't have their basic needs met. I am personally pledging to ensure that I incorporate "Giving" into my actions. I hope more readers take up to this book and follow the same path.
P.S: For every copy of this book sold, a book is donated to a child, so please get one!!
As a mid-career sabbatical, I was living in China, teaching business at South China University of Technology, and trying to decide how to spend the rest of my career. I made it a point to read several books that might help me find some direction, some focus and when I finished reading Start Something that Matters, I began to find some real clarity.
Of course, Mycoskie's story begins with the story of how he started Tom's shoes. The book is worth reading just to get that story. Who wouldn't want to launch a successful, $100 million business in a space as crowded as shoes? Reading the story allows you to understand how Mycoskie's world view informs his entrepreneurship to make him a more successful leader, to say nothing of his humanitarian bona fides.
The book combines interesting, personal anecdotes with sound business advice, leaving readers confident and ready to step out on their own to do something that matters. Mycoskie's style is a pleasure to read.
The book is a great read for anyone interested in business or humanitarian causes. It is a quick read and you won't confuse this with your Management 101 textbook--thank heaven. It's not a soup to nuts "how to" start a business so much as a treatise that will help you find the passion to do what you've always dreamed of doing. The book perfectly executes it's goal.
I absolutely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in social entrepreneurship, the fashion industry, marketing, charity or business.
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