Advice Every 17 Year Old Should Hear
Todd Brison

God, how I love this, Todd!

When I was in 8th grade, my stepdad came home (a mentor to me from the age of 6) and he said: “Mark, you’ll never make it working for the Other Guy.”

So I said “who’s the other guy?”

Jack said “he drives a Porsche, Mercedes or Cadillac.”

I had a paper route at the time. But my parents played tennis. One day I rode my bike, loaded with papers, to the tennis club. I noticed a parking lot full of Mercedes, Cadillacs and Porches. I immediately started cleaning tennis courts. And asking questions of every member: “do you like your career?” “Is it fun?” “Does your spouse like it?”

I knew then and there that I needed to launch a company as soon as I had the chance.

And I did. Even though it failed, the excitement never left. And I’m on my 18th startup. Each one a stepping stone. Each one an MBA. Succeed or fail, it doesn’t matter. It’s in the doing that I’ve experienced a life I could not have imagined. Certainly couldn’t have scripted.

We need to instill the belief early. Excite our youth to the possibilities of doing something truly engaging and worthwhile and high contribution and artistic and badass.

Two of my three kids are cornerstone employees of mine. A nephew, a professional musician, works for me between tours. And half a dozen random but incredible kids fill in the rest of my workforce.

We’ve grown over 10,700% since 2012. All because, at 17, I knew making meaning while making money would make a difference in my life. And maybe the world.

Thanks Todd. I’m sending this to my 19 year old. Not because she needs it. But because she will smile and agree and continue her path toward greatness. Validated by a credible third-party. And a great mind.