What separates the heroes from the one hit wonders? Why do the names of some men and women echo throughout history while others fade into background? While some might call it luck, we’d like to think it’s something else: Hustle.
Whether you’re building an empire or embarking on your own small business, there is much to learn from the creative thinkers of yesteryear. From Grace Hopper to Henry Ford, we’ve compiled a list of five innovators who mastered the art of the hustle and never took “no” for an answer.
It was a Tuesday morning deep in Lower Manhattan, steps away from the World Trade Center and City Hall. While suits swarmed the sidewalks on their way to offices in the sky, we made our way to LMHQ, which hosts events and allows space for coworking.
Fellow startup folks filled the main room, chatting, exchanging cards, drinking coffee, and taking pictures of the whiteboard art. It seemed exactly like the kind of place where Techweek New York would kick off, with none-other than a CTO as the featured speaker. But this wasn’t the kind of CTO the startup crowd is used to hearing — it was Minerva Tantoco, the very first CTO for the government of the City of New York.
We teamed up with Fast Company to host two of the leading minds in data, Claudia Perlich from Dstillery and Marc Maleh from R/GA, at our campus in New York City. Sarah Lawson, an assistant editor at Fast Company, moderated the discussion as they chatted about their everyday work with data, their favorite parts of the industry, and what it’s really like to work in data.
Until recently, the words “innovation” and “entrepreneur” intimidated me. I always thought that these concepts came from some super-human genius, or that it was some birthright that people either had or didn’t.
Feeling inspired by leaders like Sara Blakeley, founder of Spanx; Elon Musk who runs Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX; and Danielle Fong who runs LightSail, I realized that I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines wondering whether I ‘had it.’ I quit my job, started a business, joined the team at Lean Startup Company, and have worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators along the way.
What I learned was that innovation is something that’s accessible to any passionate human who’s willing to challenge herself and learn: it’s a continuous, iterative loop of building new initiatives (projects, products, whatever), testing ideas and measuring results, and learning how to improve each time around. Here are five leaders who exemplify this idea.
MasterCard employee demonstrates ShopThis! with MasterPass which will allow consumers to buy products directly from Intel’s Virtual Shopping Experience – a fully interactive 3-D virtual fitting room app at MasterCard’s Innovation Showcase event.
“Agile methodology,” “failing fast,” “pivoting”—all concepts commonly used in startups—are increasingly being put to work inside the walls of large, well-established companies. This is because executives at Fortune 500 companies have realized that the natural limitations that face startups—limitations on time and financial resources—can actually be boons, resulting in fresh ideas and fast execution.
So a handful of large public companies, including General Electric (GE) and MasterCard, have created startups within their own mammoth companies. In 2013, GE created FastWorks, an internal startup entity. Its mission was to develop products using the “lean startup” approach, codified by Eric Ries in his book, The Lean Startup. (This means constantly experimenting and regularly getting feedback from customers to avoid building products that customers don’t want.)
We live in a time of great innovation. Companies such as Samsung, Tesla, Google and Apple are changing forever how we interact with technology and each other. General Assembly is honored to join these leaders and be included on Fast Company’s list of The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.
Shubham Banerjee has been on NBC, been to the White House, and has a deal in place that swears him to secrecy on his current project – and he’s 12!
What has set this charismatic kid apart from his peer group is his mad Lego skills. While others are building fortresses and police cars with the colorful Danish construction sets, Banerjee built an open source Braille printer for the blind.
If there was a way to learn valuable lessons about business innovation and techniques while watching skate videos, you would do it, right? I know I would, because I have spent the past few days watching videos of the great Rodney Mullen, pulling off skateboard tricks while giving talks at business conferences.
My discovery of Mullen’s inspiring speeches happened recently, when my husband fell into a YouTube hole watching old Mullen skateboarding videos. We are both huge fans of the famously innovative freestyle member of the Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade skateboarding team (which also included a young Tony Hawk and was managed by legendary skater Stacey Peralta). Mullen went on to turn street skating into an art, and, like Hawk, has had one of the longer and more successful careers in the sport.
A company enters a market, releases a new product and makes tens of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, a stand-up comedian walks on stage, opens her mouth and brings an audience to tears. So, who has the harder job, the stand-up comedian or the company CEO? Who has more to lose? Is it scarier being in front of 500 people and dying on stage, or releasing a product that dies in the market?