In 2015, you were named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship under the Obama administration, an initiative that included providing new entrepreneurs with the chance to draw capital, talent and education. What did you learn from this experience, and how can employers foster an entrepreneurial mindset in their present workplaces that can help drive their talent to innovate and create? For me, the ambassadorship reinforced that entrepreneurial thinking can be applied to much more than building new companies; it works to keep existing companies relevant as well and can be applied to all sorts of societal problems. To foster an entrepreneurial environment, you need to be willing to create a work environment that entrepreneurial minded folks are drawn to. I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to feel like I had more control over my life — more schedule flexibility, more freedom to take chances and even — gasp! — fail; more chances to work on stuff that was aligned with my values — meaning stuff I cared about, basically.
It has been reported that one of your proudest accomplishments is your fight against dyslexia and that you continue to work with the Yale Center for Dyslexia and sit on the advisory board of Understood. org. What is your recommendation to those who may face similar challenges (a struggle shared by fellow Sharks Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary) and how can they use such experiences to their advantage in their professional careers? Be honest about who you are — including your perceived weaknesses. Don’t hide them. Revealing them may help people understand you, as well as how to work with you, better. Again, nobody relates to perfect people.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of “Shark Tank” and an incredible run for the Emmy Award-winning series. What is your expectation for this milestone year, and what’s next for you and your career? My expectations for this milestone year are to meet more very inspiring entrepreneurs; you never know which guy who walks down that hall is going to change the world. What’s next for me? I am going to continue doing what I love — inspire people, and keep an open mind and take everything one step at a time.
mbabizmag.com • OCTOBER 2018