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Changes the definition of success
on 15 September 2011
Blake Mycoskie's self-help book "Start Something That Matters" shows how to combine a for-profit company with a social mission. His book uses the story of TOMS his successful for-profit shoe company as a blueprint to show and inspire others to start something that matters.
While traveling in Argentina (South America) in 2006 Blake met a woman who belonged to an organization that collected shoes from donors to give to impoverished kids. When Blake witnessed the blisters, sores and infections on the children's bare feet the idea came to him to create a for-profit shoe company with a social mission. He created a new version of "alpargata" Argentina's comfortable, casual, canvas shoe and for every pair of shoes his company sold he pledged to donate a pair of shoes to a needy child. He named his company TOMS (a promise for a better tomorrow). Blake has fulfilled his promise. TOMS has given more than a million pairs of shoes to children in need the past five years.
There are seven themes in Blake's self-help book: find your story, face your fears, be resourceful without resources, keep it simple, build trust, giving is good business and the final step which is moving from thinking about doing something to actually doing it.
To find your passion and mission in life Blake offers three questions: "If you did not have to
worry about money, what would you do with your time? What kind of work do you want to do? What cause would you like to serve?"
Blake's story is changing the definition of success. He says the quest for success is not the same as the quest for status and money. The definition has broadened to include contributing something to the world. He says TOMS is a success precisely because they created a new model. The giving component of TOMS makes their shoes more than a product. They're part of a story, a mission and a movement anyone can join.
Blake also shares the stories of other people who started something that matters. Their stories show how we can make a living, have the time and freedom to do the things we love and contribute to making the world a better place.