Wednesday, August 01, 2012

"Start Something That Matters" by Blake Mycoskie

In his book Start Something That Matters, TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie provides a solid business book by guy who appears to genuinely believe in helping others.

TOMS is known for it's One for One practice of giving away a pair of shoe (often via Shoe Drops to needy children) for each pair ordered and Mycoskie in the book provides an interesting tale of his background and thoughts about succeeding in business while also doing good.

He began starting companies at 19 and TOMS came out of a trip to Argentina in which Mycoskie saw both huge numbers of children without shoes and a local shoe that he felt could be adapted and sold in the US. The combination of this philanthropic goal with the intent of a for-profit shoe company turned into what the company is today.

In terms of content in the book, Mycoskie provides some solid ideas for success and references examples of their utilization both by himself and others. Method Products is noted as company which (just like TOMS) uses the power of an authentic story to build towards success and the casual dining chain Chipotle brought up as a company founded and run around simple ideas executed on well. Additionally, Charity: water is noted as being a philanthropic organization that's done great work in part due to it's incredibly open and transparent approach to where donations are spent.

Also noted as important by Mycoskie are the ideas of facing ones fears (with him referencing Tim Ferriss writing about worst case scenarios not being that bad) and the huge import of employee trust and morale. The idea from Mycoskie was that the better a company's employees feel about their jobs, the better business will be... which follows very much in line with the idea I've long felt that how employees treat customers is a reflection on how they're treated by management.

A couple of other things mentioned that Mycoskie didn't devote as many words to, but still seemed of import were writing down ideas as they come to you and living simply... with owning as little as possible. Both solid concepts within what was an excellent book by someone doing good work.