Blake mycoskie is dating
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He was also named on Fortune’s “40 under 40” list, recognizing him as one of the top young businessmen in the world.
Recognizing his ongoing commitment, Richard Branson recently asked Blake to join The B Team, a group of worldwide leaders which seeks to catalyze a movement of corporate executives who embrace a better way of doing business, both for the well-being of people and the planet.
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It’s the season of giving, and Blake Mycoskie – founder and chief shoe-giver at TOMS – is coming to Charlotte’s Knight Theater for a discussion about the power of giving as it relates to the business world, presented by The Learning Society at Queens and Bank of America.
Bill Pata with original music composed by Rammstein Arab Louis thanks also to me event at JC Howard nor could see and Eva Grant Melissa Grace Anna's Michigan floor and Jeff Rogers AR intern is Candice Lem I'm guy Roz and you been listening to how I built this from NPRthe u.s.
this message comes from NPR sponsor into it into its products Quick Books Turbo Tax and mint help you effortlessly manage your finances so you can live your life the way you want learn more at Intuit powering Prosperity at some point in the past decade you or someone you know probably owned a simple pair of cloth shoes and there's a good chance those shoes they have been times because in the past decade Blake mycoskie build a multimillion-dollar shoe Empire inspired by a simple cloth shoe he wants a in Argentina but flakes Journey 2 shoes took a lot of detours the story first ran in 2017 enjoywell I kind of freaked out and I got this like small army of interns to help basically be customer service to email and call all people let him know that there is no chance that they're going to get their shoes in the four days or five days the website promised it was going to be more like a couple months and I literally flew to Buenos Aires take a taxi to this guy's house Juan Torres who is making the shoes in his garage Force the time and I walked in and with the little Spanish I knew I said something like muchos Zapatos rapidoso I should probably let you know right at the outset hear that today is show is going to be a little bit different because normally in the first half of the show we hear the story of how an entrepreneur painstakingly build his or her business from the ground up then and then you know how it goes from there right and it normally it's just one business but with Blake mycoskie it is not just one because before he even turned 30 he'd already launched for companies and some of them did pretty well and as for his best-known business Tom shoes weren't even going to get there for a while so hang tight Blake's very first business dates back to the mid-1990s when he was a freshman in college growing up keeping a pretty good tennis player he even played against Andy Roddick in high school and Blake was recruited to play at Southern Methodist University and everything was going according to planthat is until one day when he injured his Achilles tendon I would had this big cast on and crutches and I wasn't able to play tennis for for several months that I had to rehab but everything I couldn't do is actually couldn't carry my laundry a head down to the facility in the college dorm and so my laundry was piling up in my room and my roommate was probably not liking it that much and this is the hard to believe but this is back before any search engines so we had the Yellow Pages and I remember looking in the Yellow Pages to find a place that would come pick up and deliver my laundry back to me because I physically couldn't do it and and there was nothing like that in Dallas that I can find at the time he would come to the campus and do that and that ultimately led to my first business which was called easy laundry Lake partnered with his roommate and eventually they figured out that the key to getting customers listen to the students but actually through their parents so the next year Peters roommate got a booth at the freshman orientation so parents are kind of going there's kind of signing up for everything you know they're getting the books they're getting to this again that they get to the laundry thing and they don't know how long we been in business or if every kid on campus does it or not but God hears a chance to you know sign their kid up for something that's not that expensive it will help make sure that the kids don't ruin their clothes or freshman year they haven't been used washing and drying your own clothes and save him some time that they can use for the things we had a pretty good catch and within a serious like 2 or 3 days we did like ,000 in prepaid laundry sales for the year when are they actually expanded to four other colleges in Texas and then they were doing so well that Blake dropped out of SMU to focus entirely on the company and after a few years they decided to sell it so at 21 Blake walked away it was about 0,000 and lots of time to kill and I actually took a trip out to Los Angelesfirst time I'm just take a little bit of time off is it a couple friends are going to school out here and when I was in LA I saw these these huge advertising displays on the side of the building now growing up a Texas I'd never seen that I never seen like a massive ad for an i Phone or a movie or whatever you painted on the side of a building yet there was a lot of that in Los Angeles and I noticed that they're not only was a lot of it but there was almost exclusively advertising movies and TV shows so the specific industry that La was known for and I remember sitting there that she sing at Mel's Diner on Sunset I'll never forget this moment and I was looking at this massive ad for I think one of the first Jurassic Park movies and I was saying God this is so powerful that there's no way you can tune out this type of advertising yeah it's bigger than life it's it's it's it's exciting you know I wanted to go see the movie because of the de wallscape so exciting it underneath it had a name of a company Wagner and I was a company that owned that space so I kind of called in Wagner into the AI company and I really want to do something really big in LA and I saw this ad you anyways could I rent this side of this building on Sunset and it said well actually have a year-long contract with Warner Brothers for that one so we can't we have some other one in town and Isaac will how much would it cost if I wanted to rent this one then he said something think he said it was like a ,000 a month or so of course pretending like you 85,000 a month so I'm thinking hold on that means that building owners making over 00000 a year just by renting the side of their building and he has two sides cuz the building face is sunset two different ways that's two million dollars on one building and I thought and there's no cost like all you doing is just painting or putting the vinyl on there's no like actual billboard structure steel and all thatstuff you have to do like this it is incredible I just started thinking to myself like who would pay ,000 and like why cuz there's no way that can make sense on a you know cost per thousand or an advertising metric ton of people that drive on Sunset do what I was thinking and so the reason I basically came up with my mind was it had to be ego-driven and I had to be there like all these studios in town went there movies on you know on the street they want to show the actor the Starlet like I can put you on this building and like how big a deal that and I was living in Nashville the time and I made a quick assumption that they country music industry had maybe not as big egos but definitely some big egos in town and what if I put country music stars on the sides of buildings so is that what you did yeah so I went back to Nashville and got after it in when found out that you know there's no one has ever done this in Nashville and it was very you're challenging to get the cityallow me to do it ultimately I had to convince the city because I had the highway beautification act which kept people from putting up any new Billboards I think like after year 1984 something so what I ultimately came up with after like I don't know countless City Council meetings and discussions and this and that was I was going to actually make the city More Beautiful cuz I was going to create country music art and so what I did was I actually would put the album cover of the new Dixie Chicks are Shania Twain or whoever was coming out with an album but there would be no like call to action no like available at Best Buy for 999 it was just the the art of the album and by doing that I can visit the city I was adding to the landscape of Nashville which is all about country music would you do you call about the hate this idea all you have to do is give me the side of your building and you get cash so you don't ever want to do especially when you're 22the old and trying to talk to the 50 and 60 year old people who own apartment complexes you know when to use the word idea because if it's just an idea then it's like you're not going to inspire a lot of confidence yeah because people can say I don't like your idea I don't believe your idea but if you say I have a business and what we do is we lease you know the side of your building and will guarantee you this amount of money per month and we're going to resell the side of your building cuz we specialize in selling advertising to the country music industry and you'll make money on an asset that you never thought you would ever make money off a little bit Hustler me I mean there's no doubt like I mean anyone is an entrepreneur specially if they start really young I mean you got a fake it to you make it and you know and I was I was never being dishonest I was just saying this is what I'm doing and they had nothing to lose like by signing a contract with me then they were basically saying okay if you go out and least this to the Dixie Chicks let's say and you can lease it for 10thousand boxing you're going to give me 30% of that just for me allowing you to do this that's that's ,000 a month to a place that maybe was charging 0 a month for apartment so basically I just created 6 new apartments that they didn't even take care of so how did you get the first company or who are able to agree to let you work with them to put their album might like how did you even have those connections an end how did you make that happen it was just cold calling you know I mean I found out who had albums coming out did some research and then I contacted you know the marketing person today I know you're getting ready to promote get a disc this album and I have a way you can promote it larger than life right here in Nashville it's going to make a big impact and you can be one of the first to do it I mean those are all things that marketing people love to hear ya and and who was your first client what was the first piece of art that you put up on the sun side of a building Amy Grant and we did it on the side of a Ramada Hotel in downtownthere's a picture of me and and my partner who is helping me at the time standing in front of it you know on that cover the Nashville newspaper when it came out and it was great and then what we had that with credibility and then we just started in a Cell I'm right and left what did the label pay for that I think we charge for that one about I want to say 15 thousand a month so we are probably cash one about 10,000 a month just for that one wall do you think you had the confidence to do that because you had done the laundry business and in college I learned a lot I've started laundry business 19 so I've been you know kind of hustling in building and having employees and learning about customer service and learning valley sings for about 4 years so when I had this idea I had to pay a little bit more confidence and you know I had nothing to lose you know it's like they are going to see if they weren't and I've always been good with you know I like just Taking Chances and and see what happens if you left Nashville what what you was comingso I end up selling the company to Clear Channel big Media Company yeah it was really big into Outdoor Advertising we ended up having walls in Nashville and expanded to Dallas to and once I got to Dallas I realize that this is like a a big business game like I'd had some small successes but it was very quickly that the big companies like the viacom's Clear Channel is Van Wagner's they were on to my game and it was going to be hard to compete with them so sad that you walk out of that deal more less set pretty set yeah I mean everything is is relative right but I definitely had a nice cash flow coming in from that that I wasn't having to be no jump to LA and find a job so when I moved to LA it was more kind of for fun and exploring what could be next and I was fascinated with reality television how is becoming so popular because it's like right after like the first Survivor came out yeah and it just fascinated me I think the competitiveness and me the adventuresure that you know like all that and my sister and I were thinking about applying for Survivor and yes you did apply for Survivor wait you you wanted to be contestants on Survivor yeah and the casting people Survivor also casting this new show called The Amazing Race and they called us up and said hey I I don't think we can put you and your sister on Survivor but they knew about the Amazing Race in so they can I talk to send to thinking about the Amazing Race and so we got into the process of being interviewed for that and we got onand then the actual show itself is 31 days so we literally disappeared from our world for 31 days and we couldn't really tell anyone what we're doing cuz it's super confidential switch like disappearedand then we're done the hard part was the show with and start airing for another you know couple months and so we couldn't tell anyone what happened you know if we won or if we didn't win how far we got and paint and me not to spoil the ending for anyone cuz it's is there in 2002 but you barely you almost want you guys almost 1 million box yeah and thankfully then cuz I think that that would have been a positive thing at that moment but probably wouldn't have been good for my further drive from an entrepreneurial Sandpoint see you should see the Amazing Race and you've sold your company and what I mean at this point you are kind of like 23 24 25 New York 25 you've got this check coming in from Clear Channel You by Kiss presumably you didn't really have to work if you write using to do a whole lot but I was definitely about the money like it every business of Ever Start has been more of a curiosity and it kind of what if and so as I just got off The Amazing Race and is looking aroundseeing how popular reality television is becoming and kind of understand the basic metrics of advertising and what advertisers want targeting and all that I just got really excited at the idea of the network of you really having your own channel that would be completely focused on reality and reality TV stars that like a cable TV channel because I remember when I was 25 I mean restart cable TV channel like that's that's a pretty bold idea to have on your 25 yeah I mean absolutely but I felt like you know I felt like it was possible I could just it seems like I was in this position I started to understand by being on the show we did interest if people had and was just about finding the right people that knew how to do it and then figure out a way to channel their energy and get Capital together to do it so so did you raise money for it so I did so I basically I track down of the gentleman who is the founder of the e-channel and somehow got a meeting with them and then he kind of said look like it's so competitive now to start a channel no probably about close to a million box maybe 0,000 you would need just to get the lights turned on and I said why I definitely have 0,000 to just kind of bet on this right out the gate but I do know some people who really understand reality TV and who have some money that maybe they'd invest in my idea was to go to all the winners of the reality shows the last two years and get them to invest you said you guys should all invest let's start a reality TV channel does you feel like you got the money on a million bucks or whatever and I got them all to invest and and then I put some more money in and within a couple months are raises 7 50,000 launched what was called reality Central see you raise money and then and then what are you do you start like producing a reality show idea was it for next to nothing you know I to Teresa show and then we would actually do, like Mystery Dinner Theater where you had someone come on it was on the show and I talked you through what was happening that's a good idea but which ultimately was Achilles heel and why did work and who had to go to like Comcast and Time Warner and Charter in these big organizations take car cable networks that host all the channels and convince them that they should give us a slot of the one of 500 channels and ultimately we couldn't convince them of that you know it's funny cuz I hear you tell the story and I thinku.s.
somebody who has really tried to make the world a better place and I don't know if if you are 24-hour reality channel would have made the world a better place.
To just see if this will work like because you could have come back to the US and people would have said about these or you could have sold them all and then and then what yeah it was definitely a I try to stress this to people I mean of all the businesses that I started this was the least business of the business and that's the irony of all of it was like okay there's 250 kids in this Village I want to come back by Christmas and give them all a new pair of shoes so I'm going to go sell these shoes and I'm a come back and then we'll figure out what we're going to do like it was not a business it was clearly like this is a way for me to kind of stay connected to this amazing feeling I had helping these kids and an excuse to come back to Argentina which I'd totally fall in love with and and that was it and I still did the driver's ed business I'm still kind of have my normal life as an entrepreneur this is kind of be my side project in my kind of own personalno fun philanthropic experiment and so when you came back to tell a how did you sell the shoes I mean first I die so I kind of got some friends and my sister and girlfriends and stuff to can I buy them and they luckily they like them they thought they were cool and they were different and they like the style and they love the idea that they're helping someone what is the charge for him if it originally price was in a 37 bucks and so I sold a few pairs that way and then I got some people local people in La that worked in PR that I had met through friends of friends to help me try to get the story out there cuz it was a really interesting story and at the same time they knew some like kind of cool trendy kind of fashion store.
Like the carry stuff that no one else has in this is clearly that and so my first account was a store in La caught American Rag I went in there with a lily a backpack full of shoes some pictures of the kids that we had helped in Argentina and you know the girl's name is Courtney she was a shoe buyer and a shirt that she isn't really like them and then I told the story and then she just loved it and she's like this is totally unique this is totally ass she asked me how many pairs I had to sell and I said we'll look at Star 250 I've sold about 30 pairs of 220 a below website that sell him as well and so she took I think like 85 Pairs and put a Lotus play in the window at American Rag and that was our it was our first big account from one of the funniest and most amazing Hearts the story and really, turning point all of it was this woman Booth more who was at the time and the leading fashion writer for the LA Times she was in the store American Rag and heard about the story and she asked for my information she contacted me and She interviewed me so did interview at or the story you knowa picture of one of the shoes and the next Sunday it was like on the cover of the calendar section Daily Times and that day we sold 2200 pairs on the website that I only had like 80 pairs of my apartment and stacks of shoes 2200 Paris what did you do or I kind of freaked out I also did what I think let entrepreneurs do in a time of dire need to start putting as many ads for interns on Craigslist as I could and I got this like small army of interns to help basically be customer service to email and call all these people let him know that there was no chance that they're going to get their shoes in the four days or 5 days of the website promise there's going to be more like maybe a couple months are you no longer because I had to go back and make them in Argentina and you literally had to hop on a plane and go back to tasks like 3 days later after I get the insurance set up with likestop Sim phones of my apartment I said okay I'm going back to make these shoes I took the article because I knew they would never believe me and I literally grew to Buenos Aires took a taxi to this guy's house Juan Torres who is making the shoes in his garage Force the time how to lay her meet me there and I walked in and with the little Spanish I knew I said something like a muchos Zapatos mas rapido and yeah I know we just got cranking and one called some friends over and other people who knew how to make the shoes and we got a little kind of small little Factory going in this old barn down there and after a couple weeks we got to work make about 0 a week out of this little operation so I took you for weeks 2200 see you have 2200 pairs of shoes being made in Argentina at and did you did you ship them back did you like stuff than in suitcases like a jackwe literally just let me know it was like we put them in like big boxes and and they flew back with me on American Airlines in the cargo area they're playing see what kind of LAX with giant boxes of shoes you race back to your apartment in Venice Italy right with interns and we started shipping an option bought like so did you have boxes made in and look professional or was it just like me just the shoes in a in Lookout padded envelope yeah basically until we got the UPS guy to actually come to our apartment and pick up every day was great we don't have to like take him all the way to the to the place and so I'm sorry we're running shipping the stuff out of the apartment every day and and then because of that I'm getting more doors online and we started talking more stores that mean you are like on a roll already at this point right and then the next big break was we got a call from Vogue magazine and and thatfunny thing about that was I had just seen the movie The Devil Wears Prada Meryl Streep you know playing Anna Wintour and that see how challenging she is to Anne Hathaway's character and when I got a call from Bogue to come to New York to meet with them I was horrified wanted you to come there to meet them because well I'm the one interview me and it did read the LA Times article so I see I went and interviewed me and then later they did a photoshoot in Venice and next thing you know we're in Vogue and when were in Vogue it just all kind of exploded it loaded yeah everyone the crazy thing is that people just assume like we were like a real company when we are in Vogue and so we were getting calls from my stores all the country even a celebrity starting to catch on to that was also the benefit of thing of being in LA and that it was just such a radical idea like no fashion company your shoe company has ever like giving something away every time they sold it and I think that naturally appealed tocertain celebrities in and they also like me wearing things that other people don't have in like it's new and so so we just started like without any work on our own we just started seeing celebrities wearing the shoes in this reading Photograph by the paparazzi and then it started showing up in things like People magazine and US Weekly and okay and now the craziest moment for me was when I saw a stranger actually wearing the shoes that was about three or four months later I was actually in New York trying to sign up some new stores this is right before Vogue came out as long as I was going to that airport to fly back to LA and actually wasn't wearing my shoes I was wearing a pair of running shoes anyways I'm at American Airlines checking in using the kiosk and the girl next to me she probably mid-thirties she's wearing red pair of tops and this point like the only people I ever seen where your shoes are like my get my parents my friends my interns made my neighbor you know and I was so excited me like yours like a total random person wearing a pair of shoes so of course you had to talk to her so I said is we're doing the checking as excuse me I said that I couldn't help but notice these shoes you're wearing these are really cool what are they and she like look at me and she goes out there Tom's Tom's Shoes this is like the most amazing comp in the world I might not really tell me about it when I bought this pair of shoes they gave a pair to a child in Argentina and I like I had to tell her I am right and so I said well actually you know I'm actually Blake II started Tom Jack dead silent you know like like like she just can't believe it and then she doesn't trust why did you cut your hair and now it's her main question in the fighting was why should I cut my hair why she knew I live in a boat all the stuff was because of at this point now you know we're on Facebook and where you know we're promoting on You Tube and she had not just been a customer she diedonline in like learn everything she possibly could about the business and it just really started to kind of like in my mind from a entrepreneur and mathematical standpoint be a quote this could get dick is ugly everyone who bought a pair of TOMS new more less knew that when they were buying a pair you guys would give a pair to a child in need me and you're only days I think that's the primary driver of why people bought Tom's the shoes were frankly not that good a quality they didn't last as long as we had hoped they would I mean you know they were different they were stylish excetera but the giving was at the huge huge driver in the early days I'm like three years behind everybody else and I think the first time I heard about Tom's was a 2009 this commercial that I saw guess what happened so I was doing a lot of media about Tom and so I think I was doing a CNN interviewthe woman asked me she said how in the world do you run your business cuz I just got back from Ethiopia and they giving trip and she's like you're on your Ethiopia last week you were and you know Argentina fries before that any of this fast-growing business like how are you running this company and being in all these places we are giving out these shoes and I held up my Blackberry at the time which I had and I said this is the key I said I can literally approve designs take orders you know to everything from this and I can do it for me theopia and someone who worked it be bdno at agency who AT&T was our client saw that interview and they thought man this guy uses AT&T this is the best commercial we get everything and thankfully I did they called me up Nathan I said okay well we going to talk to you about an idea we have for a commercial my name is Blake and I'm the chief should give her at Toms shoes they went with us on a real giving trip and Uruguay when you went infind out she was going to be heading out shoes they filmed us in our office I need a network with great coverage because for every pair of shoes that we sell week everything was just a real toy legit and they made it into a very different type of commercial for AT&T but it just hit a nerve with people that was a turning point that made that turn Tom's from like kind of this this fashion nice thing to a major shoe company yeah I mean that was a turning point cuz now I mean your millions and millions of Americans Lilly's for seeing our story multiple times throughout the week on different shows and commercials and now it's just driving the business in an incredible Way by this point had you I mean I'm I'm assuming you you hired a team to help you run this growing business right cuz you are probably doing like what kind of gravity were you doing at that point we remain we did the first year in businesslike 15 million in the fourth year we went to like 60 million why do we went from basically from 0 to 450 million dollars in sales on an annual basis in like 7 years you know I think to The Weeknd the fastest growing shoe company in the world that's insane yeah it was in say what did you find to be the most hardest thing about growing so quickly you know but after that commercial and after you just started like going gangbusters mean you had to choose making Usher and even I mean even until just I would say recently is the last two years making the shoes has always been the hardest part for us because none of us were shoemakers none of us were you know production people I mean it was all just different people I met along the journey that you had a passion for you know for helping kids and doing something disruptive and having fun in like and so the discipline of being great making shoes is always besomething that we've struggled with and we really just recently in last couple years gotten better at something to happen around 2011/2012 you decided to just take a step back from from from the whole company just so I can drop off the map is it so why the business was was becoming pretty corporate pretty kind of bureaucratic we had you know the leadership team that we had built that was you know maybe not running it the same kind of way that we used to in the same passion and I didn't feel connected to the mission of TOMS and a 10 I was questioning like is it something with the rest of my life or like my other entrepreneur gigs is it time to go and do something different and until I just thought the best thing for me to do which I've always found is when I'm struggling is to see how to get away and going to be alone and take some time and and I did that what did you do did you get you just like go take a hike now I'm at the Austin Texas where are original Love Austin and I just got married and my wife and I decide to move to Austin for a year if the company became super corporate and you are kind of disillusioned what happened to make you want to return to It ultimately I realized it was more to be done you know I like the we had bigger Ambitions than what we had accomplished before and I felt like we could use our model to help more people with more products I had enough new things that kind of get my energy again you know it was just time for me to come back and is really my wife actually she recognized that I was kind of getting into a depressed day in Austin and I just realized I was gone that I loved it like I missed it I miss the people I missed being in it missed the challenges yeah I seen you refer to Tom's as a movement rather than a business obviously you know there's some people are cynical about that and then they say oh that's just that's just Blake use it you know yet he's just using that as a way to generate more interest in this business butyou know I think I think that the movement part I really felt that when our customers are engaged in the the effect that they're having with your business and that may be buying a pair of TOMS as the first step or maybe it's the 10th step and their desire to be more conscious consumers in humans and so me that is more of a movement of a way of thinking that it is a business transaction like you mean you you've read and I know about you know over the years people have said looking out this might sound like a great business model but actually times is disrupting markets in these countries and and that should not helping alleviate poverty and you know they're actually creating other problems I mean try some of those criticisms are there some to them right yes I mean that the first and kind of mostprevalent criticism has been like okay if Tom's really want to make a difference in the communities they would not just focus on a they would focus on job creation and that criticism was really difficult to hear it first because frankly I just didn't know how to address it like I agreed with it you know yes in theory you would be amazing to create a bunch of jobs in Kenya but I mean how in the world am I going to figure that out like everything else going on but ultimately back in 2018 there was no 12 actually we made a pledge to manufacture as many shoes as we could and the countries that we give in and today we're manufacturing over 40% of our giving shoes in countries like Kenya Ethiopia India you lots of different places where were also giving so was that was that a direct response to your critics or sort of like saying you know what you're right it was it was and it was a it was a humbling experience and when we we had a Express Employment ability and say okay we don't have to do this for and try it and we start small we scaled has moved on and it's actually been you know now it's something that we pride ourselves in as part of our business debt that the idea of the buy one and then we'll give one to somebody need really you know you guys are crazy you are credited with really starting to Smiley probably weren't the first they were probably other companies out there doing this but you know you did this on a very big scale and since then a lots and lots and lots of companies have follow that model Warby Parker and others and it's been good for business actually been really really good yeah I mean I think of all the things we're most proud of Tom's is like the Legacy that we've created and in this model has become not just irrelevant Tom's but with lots of companies around the world and it's encouraged even companies to be on the one for model to incorporate giving more into their actual business model and not just a check that they write at the end of the yearyou know to a non-profit how about like the Arc of your career right I mean the laundry business for college students and the outdoor advertising company and the reality TV channel Anthony the driver's ed school I mean very different from what you did with X write like that very very different think that you could have done Tom's without without doing all those previous companies I don't think Tom's would be worth as today if I hadn't had those experiences the thinking behind Tom's was always there but it was always something that was more in an order of make money first help other second because that's how every other business person I've ever known had done it now I never had a rat about anyone that was helping people as they were building the business and I think that Tom's is is like my soulmate a business like I mean it's like I get to be creative I get to findmeaning in that you know I recognize it the amount of wealth that now my wife and I were responsible for was far more than we would ever think about spending In Our Lifetime and so we made a conscious decision to take half of it and in committed to investing in social entrepreneur so that's a big part of my life now is actually investing in the Next Generation as a way to solve problems that that we are faced with and so that's been a huge blessing and all this as well Blake mycoskie founder of TOMS Shoes by the way Toms has given away more than 70 million shoes in 70 countries around the world back in 2014 Blake sold the company to a private Equity Group up until then Tom's had never had a single investor to people call you Tom all the time would you do you say yeah sample people say hey Tom at the airport I'd turn around because if they said hey Blake cuz I know that talking to himselfand please do stick around because in just a moment and hear from you about the things your building but first a quick thanks to one of our sponsors are table whether you're building a product finding your very first customers or scaling your business airtable is powerful enough to keep your team on track get in credits today by signing up at builthey thanks so much for sticking around because it's time now for how you built that and today were updating story from 2017 about Gamers gift is a non-profit co-founded by Dylan Hill when he was a student at UC Davis yeah so our biggest thing right now is bringing virtual reality the headsets to Children's Hospitals assisted living facilities and people with disabilities this idea goes all the way back to the fifth grade when Dylan's best friend Chris was diagnosed with cancer and had to spend months in the hospital I would visit him every single day and what I saw was my friend was no longer the kid that I knew and my solution was to bring the video games because I knew that those would make him smile Chris eventually did get better and Dylan stay friends and that experience always stuck with me and I remember looking back on it as well those video games really helped us so anyway fast forward to senior year in high school Dylan is now doing volunteer work in his spare time but he's not all that happy with it I volunteer to the food shelter and instead of spending time with the homeless I was in the back packing backs and then obviously all these things they help but it would just wasn't rewarding and Dylan kept thinking about the video games maybe there was some way he can use them to tell people so one day me and Chris were doing a little random Googling and Dylan said hey I wonder what it would take to start our own charity and we googled how to start a nonprofit and we saw wow this is simplified into six stops first make an LLC and then skin touch with a franchise tax board sexually some of the stuff does not sound so simple but eventually Dylan got his mom to guarantee a bank account for their nonprofits and they became a 501 c 3 I think we probably Google every single line on the tax paperwork because we had no idea what a lot of it meant but I mean we have the internetnow we can figure out anything after they got it sorted out Dylan and Chris started to raise money to buy video games and VR headset first they sold baked goods door-to-door family got some donations to an online service stent they were starting to visit hospitals and other places in California sharing VR and games with children and adults there for example there was this man Dominick Cruz living with cerebral palsy and he's always wanted to drive a race car now he's only able to communicate by moving his head up or down but we can put a headset on him and we can pushes his wheelchair around his living room and we can emulate him driving a Formula 1 race carlet's still inhale who co-founded Gamers gift along with his friend Chris Betancourt now a lot has happened since we first brought you that story Chris has leukemia returned in October of 2017 and his prognosis was not good so Chris came up with a bucket list things he wanted to do before he died and Dylan wanted to help on that list beat the world record Chris and Dylan wanted to register the most bone marrow donors in one day the world record was 2976 so Crystal and launched a social media campaign and they got 3715 people to register and they got something else something they didn't really expect a match for Chris two months later Chris had a bone marrow transplant and today he's cancer-freeif you want to find out more about Gamers gift check out our Facebook page and hear the previous episodes head to our podcast page how I built this. Org of course if you want to tell us your story go to build. Org and thanks so much for listening to a show this week you can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and why you're there please do give us a review you can also write us at HRBT at NPR.