I had the pleasure of being a guest of The Ohio State University yesterday for a dinner honoring Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver of TOMS Shoes, and was able to hear him speak to students and lovers of TOMS. Blake's appearance was part of the 2009 First-Year Distinguished Speaker series at the university, aimed at introducing incoming freshman to leaders and entrepreneurs in the business industry and community alike.
It was exhilarating to hear Blake speak about his experiences getting started, growing, motivations and ambitions in developing a sustainable business. His business model alone is enough to revolutionize how we, as consumers and professionals, approach both product development and purchasing power -- the idea that a for-profit business does not have to exist parallel to a philanthropy, that businesses and charities can unite as one (and that we can actively choose to support those businesses...and why wouldn't we? C'mon people!) It takes courage to do something new and it takes determination to make it work. Blake Mycoskie has both in spades. My shoes are off to you, sir!