A series of Entrepreneur assemblies
At our kids high school (although Josh is the only one there at this point) has an assembly every week. Each assembly is a little different. One could be a poet reading their work, another could be an activist telling their story, another could be something that a group of students formed. They are meant to be informative and thought provoking.
Last year I said I would put on four assemblies over the course of the following school year around entrepreneurs. I wanted the kids to see young people who have embarked on the journey of being an entrepreneur. How do you do it, how do you take an idea and run with it, how do you get financing and what does a start-up really mean.
I did the last series this week. Our first guest was David Karp who started Tumblr. David also grew up in NYC and before dropping out actually attended a High School that everyone in the audience is familiar with. All the kids know Tumblr too. David is one of the most earnest human beings and his story is inspiring. His parents knew that he would find himself and staying the "normal" road of graduating high school and then going to college was not the right path for him. He is lucky his parents supported his desires. He told the kids not to do what he did. The kids ate him up and asked many questions. Afterward the girls swarmed the stage and so did the boys. He was a rockstar that day.
Our second guest was Phineas Barnes who is currently principal at First Round Capital but in his former life he was involved from the get-go in the start-up of And1 Sneakers and also created the first fitness game for XBox and Playstation 2. I was out of town for that one so Fred moderated for me. Needless to say the kids ate that one up because they could relate. Sneakers..come on!
The third guest was Gabe Stulman who has earned himself the title restaurant mogul. He owns and opened Joseph Leonard, Jeffreys, Fedora and Perla. He talked about his love for hip-hop music and that went over well. How he put himself through college as a bartender. His love for community, eating and life. As Josh said afterwards, Gabe killed it.
Last was a group of women. I had a hard time finding a single woman entrepreneur that would connect to the kids when she spoke about her company so instead I had a group of four. I think we all had more fun on the stage than the kids. Kellee Kahlil of Lover.ly, Caren Maio of Nestio, Amanda Steinberg of Dailyworth and Amanda Hesser of Food52. They talked about how they started out through high school into college and the working world, the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur, how hard it really is and the reality of the highs and lows, and their passions about their businesses. What really made an impact were a few things. Each of them said if they weren't doing this they wouldn't know what else they would do, their biggest fear is if they don't succeed at this then they would have to get a real job.
For me, I loved hearing each entrepreneur tell their story. Their passion comes across loud and clear. The group of women were near and dear to my heart and watching the young women in the audience nod their head and smile was the best part.