When Will You Start Something That Matters?

by Chavi

Thoughts on “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes

I hate motivational books. Instead of getting me to do things, they raise my blood pressure to dangerous heights. I read it as a rebuke. Why I’m still a searching mid-twenties loser and not a successful CEO, an inspiring activist, or at least a mother or teacher and contributing to the community.

I bought this book anyway because I’m a tremendous fan of the TOMS Shoes business model. They’re a for-profit that does what non-profits are supposed to do — help people. They’re a self-sufficient giving company. They’ve mastered the have your cake and eat it too phenomenon. It’s beautiful.

What I did take out of the book was a few defenses for my not-yet starting something that matters: 1) Blake started 4 companies before this one. None reached similar heights. 2) Everyone starts off ignorant. Do it anyway.

What I took out of the book when I forgot to take offense: 1) The timing is never right. The stars won’t align in just the right way so forget the stars and start something that matters. 2) Read biographies to get inspired. Sometimes you have to incubate for a while before your genius can shine through. 3) Simplicity. Just think about one thing you’re passionate about, that you can change. Do one thing well.

The later chapters talk about building trust within a company, working with few resources and other issues you only have to worry about once you actually have employees. He also mentions a few times how it’s important to give in any way possible. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary. I ignored that part.

But lest my introduction fool you,  high blood pressure is really another way of saying, I am motivated but what if I let myself down again?