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Chalmers Brown | Due.com

Chalmers Brown is a software engineer and entrepreneur who is currently working on his fifth startup, Due.com. Due helps small businesses with invoices and payment processing so that they can receive the money that they earned.

Brown’s entrepreneurial story started at Rutgers University, where he began a business to help local students earn money selling their used textbooks. He found a very immediate need that he could meet and turned it into a business. As his education in software engineering advanced, he started developing software back ends for social media companies, healthcare providers, and other businesses.

Due.com emerged from the experiences and relationships he made during his early entrepreneurial years, as he connected to freelancers and started to understand what they could use to make their processes easier. He spotted pain in an experience, and turned it into a business that delivers millions of invoices every year across the globe.

Although the business is very small and simple, the beauty of Due.com is the great need it meets for many people. While many people try to make starting a business complex and formulaic, Brown found a intersection of passion and pain and launched from there.

Gerard Adams

One of the staples of millennial entrepreneurial thinking, Gerard Adams, exemplifies all the thoughts and principles that entrepreneurs should try to replicate.

Image result for gerard adamsAdams is a career entrepreneur, expert on branding, philanthropist, and critically acclaimed speaker and executive.

He is most famous for helping found the Elite Daily, known as the voice of Generation Y.

He sold this to Daily Mail for 50 million dollars. He is one of the most frequent contributes to Entrepreneur Magazine.

By seeing opportunities and jumping on them, Adams has made a name for himself and plenty of money to go along with it.

 

His ideas contribute to so many businesses and his website proves that. His mindset truly encapsulates what true entrepreneurship means. Even he said that he can still learn more about the world.

Image result for elite daily

Blair Files

http://blairfls.wixsite.com/illustrations/about

When we were little – 4 or 5 years old – my cousin Blair and I liked sitting on the rocky coast of Maine with paper and crayons, drawing what we imagined to be grand scenes of the mighty ocean; to anyone else, those pictures looked like a bunch of scribbles. As the years past, my pictures were still just scribbles – I have roughly the same degree of artistic talent as an elephant holding a paint brush in its trunk; Blair was a different story: it quickly became apparent that she had real talent as an illustrator. She loved to draw and she was good at it. Over the years she also picked up talent with paint and sculpture.

Jump forward to when we were a pair of 18-year-olds trying to make one of the biggest choices of our lives: COLLEGE. I was bound for the liberal arts, Blair for the fines arts; we both got our first choice: for me, Grove City College, for Blair, the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. We were all so proud of her: despite the fact that no one in the recorded history of our family had ever done anything as impractical as going to art school, we were blown away by her talent and thrilled that she had been accepted to what is arguably one of the greatest art schools in the world.

So, we both packed our bags and shipped off for school. But while I immediately felt that I had made the right choice, Blair was plagued by doubts: not doubts about her choice to be an artist, but with questions about whether she was ready for this. She decided she wasn’t. After two weeks on campus she realized that she had a lot of personal growing to do and that RISD was not the place to do it – not yet, anyway. Of course, it was all a bit more complicated than that, but for the sake of brevity I won’t go into more detail.

Thus, Blair found herself taking a spontaneous gap year. In all honesty, she had always wanted to take a year off before college, but now that she was doing so, she didn’t have a plan. But these things always seem to work out in the end: she was offered the chance to go to Scotland to work for six months – something else she had always wanted to do. The only problem: travel is expensive!!!

But, undaunted as ever, Blair came up with a solution: she was an artist, and she was going to support herself as such! She had already created a large and impressive portfolio of original pieces, so she launched a website to sell prints of her work to support her trip abroad. She also started working for commission. 

Anyway, skipping ahead a little bit: Blair made it to Scotland where she had the incredible opportunity to work for YoungLife Ministries. In her work, she saw the incredible darkness that comes with a life without Jesus Christ: she saw kids who desperately needed Christ, and new that she was called to share Him with them. But it was very well to do so for six months in a youth camp, but what about back in America? She was going to be an artist, not a minister.

Well, like I said, Blair knew that she had a lot of growing to do: and grow she did. While she was in Scotland she had the chance to explore what it meant to use one’s talents for God; she learned that our gifts are not our own, but are to be used in service to the Lord. What did that mean for a 19-year-old who wanted to draw, but who also wanted to do more than illustrate children’s Bibles?

Eventually she found the answer: she decided not to go back to RISD but instead to enroll in the University of Delaware which had a program in Visual Communication – there, she would not only get a degree in fine art, but also in communications and visual media, learning the skills she would need to communicate truth through her art. She recognized that art isn’t just about creating beauty: it’s about creating the kind of beauty that points the viewer to the author of all things beautiful.

Today, Blair is a Junior at University of Delaware, still working to complete her degree. She is also still selling work through her website to help support her studies. Her story as an entrepreneur is still in it’s early chapters: much of it is still unwritten. Thus far, she has had enough success to allow her to fund the studies that we are confident will one day allow her to share the message that we are all called to spread. We don’t know what she will draw, who she will draw for, or what she will say through her art. But we know that she as chosen a profession that is, above all, about communication, and that she has the greatest story of all to communicate. Through her website and commissioned work she has already been able to start reaching people – now all that’s left is to watch her grow!

I like Blair’s story because it serves an in important reminder of the fact that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to mean something huge: sometimes its something as small as selling art to fund travel. Its also important to remember that as Christians we have a higher calling in whatever we do: to serve the Lord. Blair became an entrepreneur because she was a broke almost-college-student who needed to get to Scotland. Once there, she discovered that her true calling really was art, not business. Now, she’s learning what she wants to say with her art and how she wants to say it. Will she one day go into business for herself as an artist/entrepreneur? Who can say: I personally think that art is a form of entrepreneurship…. The important thing is that we serve the Lord in all we do – be it painting scenes of the cross or painting scenes of nature; running a “Christian Business” or running a “Secular business” that operates on Christian principles. I believe that finding ways to serve the Lord in all that we do is the highest calling of any entrepreneur and that turning our work into a way of serving God is in itself an entrepreneurial act.

Blair also reminds us that we don’t necessarily have to “paint the cross” to serve the Lord. I look at the things she creates and see the Master’s hand: whether she is painting the portrait of a child of God or something silly that just popped into her head, I see the kind of true beauty that is precious not because of who created it or what they created, but because it came from the hand of a woman who loves God and who knows who her talent is from and what it is for.

The Mind Behind Mozilla Firefox

Blake Ross epitomizes what it means to be a millennial entrepreneur. But before Blake’s story is told, here’s a word about Netscape.

In the late 1990s, Netscape Communications Corporation, an internet suite, was competing against the Microsoft giant, Internet Explorer. One could hardly call it competing, though, because Internet Explorer was beating their competition to a pulp. Netscape needed a better product in order to survive against Internet Explorer. So in 1998, Netscape made development of their new version open source, meaning that any programmers could help develop it. This is where Blake enters scene.

Blake loved programming, and by the age of 10 he had constructed his first website. At the age of 15, he started developing with Netscape. He and two others, David Hyatt and Joe Hewitt, would eventually become the major minds behind Mozilla Firefox through the Netscape open source project. In 2004, at the age of 19, Blake helped release the first version of Firefox. By 2010, Firefox surpassed Internet Explorer as the most popular web browser in Europe, and Firefox continues to be successful to this day.

Blake started working on another project in 2006 called Parakey. It was a computer interface that he wanted to be able to perform the same functions as an operating system. Shortly after its development in 2007, Facebook bought Parakey for a multi-million dollar deal.

Blake Ross excellently shows the benefits of starting young and getting out into the entrepreneurial world as soon as possible. He took something that he enjoyed doing and was able to use his skills to do big things in the field of technology.

Silbermann and Sharp: Pinterest

Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp, co-founders of Pinterest, both used their prior experiences in the technology and the internet to start a very successful business of their own. Silbermann was a Google employee until he left to design apps on his own. However, these failed to gain any traction, until eventually he designed a product inspired by his own love of collecting things.

Similarly, Sharp worked at Facebook as a product designer. He met Silbermann in New York, and then joined his team to make Pinterest a reality.

Pinterest is really about idea sharing. People enjoy telling others about their ideas, and Pinterest gives them a platform to not only do so but also to gauge how a community will respond to it. It is a great place to see other peoples ideas as well, and find inspiration for many different things.

This business idea is a great example of collision in a liquid network. In the realm of technology and the internet, two men with the experience and ideas necessary collided to make a business that could possibly eclipse Facebook and other social media giants.

Without one another, the idea would just be a pair of hunches, and nothing would have come from it. However, in a community where ideas can bounce around, change, and grow, true innovations can be born.

Jack Kim- Benelab Search Engine

Jack Kim is a young entrepreneur that is still in high school in Seattle. He is the founder of a search engine called Benelab that is designed to make philanthropy easier by generating donations. Jack’s project is not-for-profit and he plans to donate all of the revenue generated by Benelab. Jack quickly learned the power of a search engine’s ability to generate wealth from very little traffic through his work with search engines in the past. After developing an outline for his idea, Jack got a team of his high school classmates together to start working on the project. So far, Benelab has been incredibly successful at generating wealth, and all of this wealth is then donated to different charities and organizations to help the less fortunate. Benelab provides an easy yet effective way of enabling everday internet users to participate in philanthropy, even if they do not realize it.

“Many people think of charity as something limited to the rich or “good”, but in reality it’s something that can and should be incorporated into anyone’s daily life – you just have to know how.” – Jack Kim

Machinio-One stop shopping for used machinery

Friends Dan Pinto and Dmitriy Rokhfeld go way back. The two met in middle school playing video games and eventually became co-founders of the company Machino.com—an online search engine where you can buy and sell used industrial equipment. They recognized a gap in the marketplace when Pinto was looking for a used printing press in 2012. He realized that there was no easy-to-use search engine that specialized in used equipment. There was kayak for hotels and indeed for jobs so he created Machinio for machinery.

This new search engine has revolutionized the way people buy and sell used machinery. It is the fastest growing global search engine in its category with 550,000 buyers from more than 190 countries. The service has opened new markets in all parts of the world that were previously unavailable. They have raised $4 million dollars from a number of investors and opened their second office in early 2017. Their solution saves users time by making it easy to buy and sell used equipment while putting all its users on an equal playing field. Their story showcases an important lesson. Learn to look for gaps in the marketplace that already come from good ideas.

Quora

Quora is a question and answer website like none other. Although at it’s surface it might seem to just be another version of Yahoo Answers, it has created a community of users high in professionalism and expertise, so that those who use the site to find answers know that they can trust what they find there. The website has established a community of expertise maintained by both an automated moderation system and a team of workers who look into reports and help keep the site truthful. Quora is about knowledge sharing, and has to preserve an environment of truth to keep itself unique in the market. Celebrities, politicians, businessmen, and more answer questions on the site.

Quora’s journey, like many popular websites, starts with Facebook. Adam D’Angelo worked at Facebook as Chief Technology Officer from 2004 to 2008. In 2009, after leaving Facebook, he started Quora with another ex-Facebook employee, Charlie Cheever. The site has been growing rapidly and in 2016 a version of the website for Spanish-speaking users launched.

One concern people voice about Quora has to do with why it is different than a website like Yahoo Answers. According to D’Angelo, before launching Quora, he saw a gap in the internet for a reliable knowledge sharing website. The current answers websites just were not serving the function he had in mind. Quora is not about looking at funny or interesting questions when one is bored, but rather about sharing knowledge and helping people. To foster a community that is genuinely helpful, Quora started with D’Angelo’s friends. He invited professional, mature people to help the site gain content and it has stayed that way today. Also, the level of professionalism with which the site has been executed, from the design to the fact that you must have an account to participate, has encouraged seriousness and truthfulness. Quora started with a need on the internet and fostered a community that helped it fill that need.

Warby Parker: Making Glasses Cheap Again

Warby Parker has reimagined the eyewear industry as the first company to introduce affordable eyewear that can be purchased online. The company offers prescription eyeglasses for a flat $95 and has a number of stylish options. Customers can order a number of different eyeglasses, try them on at home, and return the pairs that they do not want. The idea started with a simple question. Why are glasses not sold online? Founder, Neil Blumenthal asked that question so he recruited three friends and Warby Parker was born. However, the company ran into problems early on. Forty-eight hours after the website had launched, it had to be taken down because they received so many orders. The website did not indicate when a product sold out which led to a 20,000 person wait list. Eventually, they sorted out their website issues and are currently making waves in the industry.

This company peaked my interest because of Warby Parker’s ability to recognized gaps in the marketplace. Currently, Luxottica has a near monopoly in the eyeglasses industry. While Luxottica controls the brick-and-mortar sales, they do not address the online market. Neil Blumenthal saw that gap in the market and was able to capitalize on it. However, the problem he solved wasn’t complicated, it was simple. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.

 

Tumblr: The New Way to Blog

In the age of traditional blogs, David Karp wanted a place where he could use a tumbleblogging format, better known today as a microblogging platform. This style of blog would offer the ability to share multimedia posts such as videos, short text posts, and pictures. After waiting for a while, he decided he was done waiting and ended up launching his own microblogging platform. That platform is what we know today as Tumblr.

At the age of 20, Karp launched Tumblr with the help of Macro Arment. The site was released in February of 2007, and within just two weeks, Tumblr had over 75,000 users. Today, Tumblr boasts over 359 million blogs. Six years after its launch, Karp allowed Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion.

Karp is admirable in his ambition to start his own tumblelog. He saw a need and since it was not being filled, he filled it himself. He created a platform that did not exist yet and paved the way for others to come along in different iterations—Pinterest, WeHeartIt, etc. His idea and drive certainly paid off literally, but seeing how he took the initiative to do it himself inspires me not to think of myself as incapable of creating something just because no one has done it before. Karp stepped out into an area no one had explored yet, and created a new market and space for innovation.