I Launched my Book in October – And That’s Just the Tip of the Iceberg
7 minute read
October for me was pretty much about one thing: the launch of my first book, “Undaunted: Overcoming Doubt and Doubters.” I spent years collecting and recounting stories from my life, ones that I thought would inspire readers to take on the kind of crazy challenges that I’ve pursued throughout my career. My theory is that I’m no different than anyone else out there. I just refused to let my own doubts – or any of the naysayers – hold me back. I got up every day, put my best foot forward, and tried.
The early response to the book has been so gratifying, with people writing to me, saying that my book “lifted them up;” another reader said that it “gave them much-needed inspiration for these stressful times.”
So, I want to hear from you. I love stories of facing fears, and overcoming them. Send me your story, and I’ll feature the best ones in next month’s update.
Some people have asked me, “What didn’t make it into the book? You’ve met so many iconic leaders and entrepreneurs, surely some of those stories had to get cut.”
One of those encounters took place in the mid ‘90s when I was working at AOL. I went up to Seattle to meet up with a company that had launched less than two years ago, but was already making big waves: Amazon. Jeff Bezos had just taken on a giant warehouse space and asked that I meet him there. Of course, his exact warehouse was hard to find in the maze of buildings on the site, so I ended up getting there 15 minutes late. Jeff greeted me, looking at his watch, and said, “Since you’re late, you’re going to help me put shelves together.”
I smiled back. But he wasn’t kidding.
So I pitched our business and he pitched his, all while we worked on assembling shelving units. And at one point, I asked him, “What makes you think you can beat those giant book chains? Like Borders and Barnes & Noble. They’re so dominant.” He responded, “When was the last time you walked into one of those chain stores and asked someone who works there for a book recommendation? Have you ever? No trust. The future is recommendations – great ones.”
That stuck with me. Amazon didn’t just see digital and e-commerce as a more efficient way to get products to consumers (or a means to offer a massive selection of goods as big as the longest river on Earth). Jeff Bezos knew that he could understand his customer better – and use data and community tools to create a more welcoming and personalized way to shop.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Kara Goldin Show
Last month, we decided to re-name my podcast (formerly “Unstoppable”) to “The Kara Goldin Show.” Don’t worry though, we’re still featuring conversations with some of the most fascinating — and often unheralded — entrepreneurs, founders, disruptors, and CEOs. People who are rewriting the rulebook for building a business and steering their companies to success.
● Julie Bornstein leveraged her experience at StitchFix (not to mention several other notable start-ups) to launch a new – and pretty amazing – e-commerce fashion app. It’s called The Yes, and it’s an entirely personalized and individualized shopping experience. The story of how she launched the app in the midst of the pandemic is nothing short of incredible. Listen here >>
● Robert Pasin is the CEO of Radio Flyer. He’s the grandson of the founder of that beloved brand — an Italian immigrant and cabinet maker who started Radio Flyer in 1917. When Robert was elevated to CEO in the late 1990s, he took Radio Flyer and reinvented it for a new generation of children — and parents. How did he do it? You’ll have to listen to find out >>
● I’m kind of obsessed with Kate and Daniel Wadia, the geniuses behind the design firm MrsandMr. I worked closely with them when they did a brand refresh for Hint a few years ago. Their client list is amazing, and the work they’ve done defies categorization. They had some really insightful things to say about building a career that isn’t conventional, and as a result, is always challenging and exciting. Check it out >>
● Joey Grassia launched one of my favorite start-ups earlier this year: Shef. It’s a community-based food platform that offers people the opportunity to sell their home cooked meals to local households. With the pandemic upending the restaurant business, Shef has re-introduced the idea of community and storytelling around the food we eat. And it just might change the way you think about your next meal. Listen here >>
What I’m reading
● The pressure of balancing career and family has never been more fraught since the pandemic moved both pursuits under one roof. Mothers are bearing the brunt of it, and companies need to act and help out. From the Atlantic.com: Mothers’ Careers Are at Extraordinary Risk Right Now
● Keep Moving by Maggie Smith. What a lovely, lovely book. “Other people can tell you, in hard times, “You’re going to be fine.” But if you’re not telling yourself that, sometimes it’s hard to believe.”
● Monica Lewinsky has been through some hard times, but I knew nothing of this harrowing incident she experienced in 2011 until I read this article. She sees that experience as a metaphor for what we’re all going through now with the pandemic. And the trauma it’s causing is going to require a renewed focus on mental health. From Vanity Fair: The Forgotten F-Word in the Pandemic
● Get Ready for Sugar 2.0. Writer Nicola Twilley does a deep dive into the high-stakes competition to engineer a new, improved sugar. But isn’t this just more of Big Food trying to create the perception of health vs the reality of making smart choices about what we put in our bodies? From the New Yorker: The Race to Redesign Sugar
● And finally, since they say that AI is here to stay, I figured I would create an AI Companion Who Cares. I’ll let you know how it goes : )
Starting a Company – and Why Not Having ALL The Answers Is BetterOrder Now
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