The stories are endless, but here are a few brief examples of how simple ideas have changed the world. What’s yours?

  • Frederick Smith wrote a paper for a Yale economics class that outlined overnight delivery service in the information age.  His paper received a “C” but Smith later went on to create FedEx.
  • Reid Hoffman, an Oxford philosophy graduate realized that academics write books that few people read and he wanted to have more impact on the world, so he co-created both PayPal and then LinkedIn.
  • Steve Jobs—if you don’t know his story, you’ve been hibernating.
  • Jeff Bezos was born to a teenage mother in Albuquerque, eventually attended Princeton, and ultimately created Amazon, the largest on-line retailer.
  • Andrew Mason majored in music at Northwestern University but later started The Point, inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, which was ultimately refocused to become Groupon.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard geek got dumped by his girlfriend and ends up building Facebook, a social network now worth $100 billion.

Knowledge is expanding at an exponential rate, and access to information is almost instant. Success is therefore possible at an accelerated rate as well. It took FedEx two decades to ramp up to global status; Facebook did it in two years.  Thomas Alva Edison says that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. What’s your inspiration? The world is ripe for game changers in any field.

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