Last month I had the pleasure of interviewing Stacey Ferreira, co-founder of MySocialCloud. The story of how Stacey and her brother Scott brought their company to existence is truly exceptional.
The Girl Who Made $1M From A Single Tweet
Many people, myself included, referred to Stacey recently as “the 19-year-old girl who got $1M from Sir Richard Branson by sending a single tweet“.
Although that is, in general terms, true – it’s only half of the story.
Yes, she responded to a tweet by Sir Branson and met him in person. Yes, Sir Branson did invest money in Stacey & Scott’s company.
But at least for me, the two siblings’ mindset is what made it happen – and that’s the crucial part of the story.
HOW did Stacey and Scott do it? With an amazing entrepreneur mindset and attitude. With courage. With characteristics that cannot be learned in school and actually defy most educational systems.
And so, I wasn’t at all surprised to see this blog post written by Stacey:
“At 18 years old, and after countless hours of thinking about life and the seemingly long checklist of things I must accomplish in life – I began seriously questioning it. Weren’t we meant to create our own life rather than live the life that everyone else has already lived to some extent?”
I know exactly how Stacey feels. I went through a similar phase myself. I was only 15 years-old when I began my undergrad studies. I started at such an early age because I was already defying highschool education.
For me, highschool was merely a task on the checklist of requirements for college. Besides being this preliminary requirement, I see highschool as an advanced baby-sitting service.
So I left highschool and went to college, and I was having the time of my life.
I started dreaming about graduating and pursuing an academic career. I was approached by a Stanford University professor, who wanted me to come and spend the summer at their labs. I already had the M.I.T. sign-up kit for a master’s degree filled in. I was so far ahead of the game, being able to accomplish all of this before the age of 18.
Or so I thought.
Then a car accident changed my life for ever
It was almost midnight, and the last rain of the season was falling. I was standing in a traffic light less than 5 minutes away from home. As I was waiting for the light to change, I was suddenly blinded by headlights that appeared out of nowhere. I don’t even remember the crash. My next memory is the complete silence.
I later learned that a speeding driver approaching the traffic light has lost control due to the poor weather conditions, and smashed his car directly into the front of mine.
I ended up laying down for months over months. I was unable to return to class. In bed, my entrepreneur gene raised its head. I decided to start my own business from bed, while I was recovering.
When it was time to return to school, I came to a staggering realization: I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care about school and its education anymore. I realized that none of the obstacles that I was struggling with in my new business will be solved by anything I was taught in school.
Actually, the opposite was true. The mindset that students were supposed to develop in (most) undergrad-schools, of hard-working, self-learning, task-completion, working-solo, grade-centric way of thinking, actually guarantees you will be an excellent employee, no more and no less.
I couldn’t help but wonder – What if I’m not prepared to spend my life working for someone else?
“What if I’m not prepared to spend my life working for someone else?”
Stacey & Scott were working on MySocialCloud as a summer project. When Stacey’s holiday ended, she was supposed to go back to school. Still, wanting to keep her new business running, clash was inevitable:
“My heart was no longer set on education in the way I had been receiving it in the classroom; instead it became more set on learning through doing – at this point in the form of building a business.
And when I noticed college was forcing me to give up the life I truly wanted to live, I became extremely frustrated with school, it’s cookie cutter requirements and its hindrance of my learning (the learning I actually wanted to do rather than the school requirements). “
Stacey took a brave choice, and it changed her life for good. Now she’s co-running MySocialCloud, and getting more experience under her belt than any undergrad student can even dream of.
It seems that the best answer for you, more often than not, is being yourself, and doing what you want, not what society’s norm expects you to do! It’s impossible to be extraordinary if you only take ordinary actions. (Click here to tweet this)
Get My Interview With Stacey + Free 3 Months Subscription To IN Mag
I stumbled upon this fantastic guest post on Tim’s 4HWW blog. I love this quote. It strongly resonated with me. Most of us, if not all of us, have never let go of this mentality, that has been drilled in to our brain for thousands of years by evolution and mother nature.
We all try to avoid and minimize threat, but as we all know – threat is (and has always been) inevitable. So is it really worth playing it safe?
Win Mentoring from Reid Hoffman, Chairman of LinkedIn
This logic is ingrained in our brain: It’s more costly to miss the sign of a threat than to miss the sign of opportunity.
As economy changes and world become harsher, threat is becoming vital part of the trade, perhaps more than ever. What risks are you willing to take in order to survive and prosper in this decade? Taking on a lower salary job that will broaden your horizons? Moving to a different country? Letting go of a corporate job and following your passion?
I tried all of these (and avoided many others), and what I learned is worth so much more than the money I (have not) made. More also, had I not taken these risks, I might have not been standing where I am right now.
So what risks are you willing to take? How did the risk you already took pay off?