Never give up. I was first told these three words at a young age, but it has stuck with me throughout my life. Never giving up means, in this case, when starting a business, you have to be putting in more effort if you want to succeed, and while everyone is sleeping, you are working. You do not quit when it is tough; you persevere and always keep a positive mindset.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Fox.
Andrew Fox is a globally renowned entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in executing disruptive approaches to a wide range of industries including media, real estate, insurance and consumer staples. Now, Andrew is pioneering EV infrastructure through his company’s proven installation expertise and end-to-end installed solutions for charging any type of EV, including e-scooters, e-bikes, and electric automobiles.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I’ve started many businesses and from my earliest days until now, doing things I actually enjoyed was my motivation. So, no matter what, if you’re going to work for yourself, do something you love. I have two things I focus on currently: @allthinggoodco and Charge Enterprises.
@allthingsgoodco is my personal passion project; a smile machine and positive news outlet. Several times a day, a team of editors updates our community with content that fills their feeds with “all things good”.
My founding of Charge Enterprises came by a chance encounter with Toby Sun, the founder of Lime Scooters. While standing outside a conference in NYC, I randomly struck up a conversation with Toby and invited him and his partner, Brad Bao, to lunch. That lunch led to an early investment in Lime. After investing, I saw the Achilles’ heel for their entire electric vehicle business model lacking infrastructure. I called my partner and said I had a crazy idea for an infrastructure company for electric micro-mobility vehicles. Quick charging stations are going to be everywhere in a short time. Starting this type of business was very hard and required around-the-clock work. That work paid off last year, when we went public. Today, we have operations in 19 countries and generate over $500 million dollars annually.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
We have an audacious strategy to be the most trusted EV infrastructure company in the world. We’re doing this and at the same time are creating high-paying jobs in communities, all while helping people stay charged (no pun intended!).
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We scored a major victory in Paris and worked around the clock to get our charging stations shipped from the US to France for a December 24th, 2019 deadline. Our hard work paid off, and we succeeded to ensure everything was on board. However, as soon as the boat was ready to dock in Paris, there was a yellow jacket protest, a port strike, and then COVID-19, all delaying our delivery by six months. Most people would have given up, but not us. Never count your chickens before they hatch, they say.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I’ve been fortunate to have been mentored my entire career and I prefer to consider my experiences more like guardian angels helping me more than I could ever return. There are too many to single just one out, but I am so lucky to have learned from people who have helped me, and I still try to thank them all constantly. One thing each of them had in common is that they were truly supportive and wanted to see me succeed. Friends and/or mentors are the secret to my success.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is it always disrupting good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
The use of fossil fuels for manufacturing can be beneficial to industries but can negatively impact the environment. This push and pull remind us to be aware and consider what could potentially harm the environment. We risk irreversible damage so it’s our responsibility to do the right thing.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- Never give up. I was first told these three words at a young age, but it has stuck with me throughout my life. Never giving up means, in this case, when starting a business, you have to be putting in more effort if you want to succeed, and while everyone is sleeping, you are working. You do not quit when it is tough; you persevere and always keep a positive mindset.
- Treat everyone kindly. The way you interact with people is an important part of the business. We pride ourselves in our company culture.
- Always be early. For me arriving ten minutes beforehand to a meeting is on time. I pride myself on having respect for other people’s time, and this has stuck with me through the world of virtual zoom meetings!
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We are shortly announcing a big acquisition deal. We operate in 19 countries and we’re on a run rate to do $500M this year. We aren’t close to done; this is just the beginning!
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
Michael Singer has had quite a deep impact on my thinking. You have to exercise the muscles in your brain to succeed. I’ve learned that brain exercise can be beneficial to your physical and emotional well-being and allow you to think outside the box and remain positive.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
At a very young age, I learned the power of yes instead of no. This has allowed me to be creative and consider every idea as relevant and important. No question or idea is a bad one.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
At the beginning of the coronavirus quarantine, I felt the news broadcasted was often disparaging. I came across @allthingsgoodco, an Instagram page with a mission to simply make people smile; a new category of news that could be accessed through social media on a global-wide scale. With its only goal being to make someone’s day, it’s a feel-good outlet for news that publishes stories that matter. What was different about All Things Good from any business investment I’ve made was that it is uniquely purposed to promote positivity in our world. I hope to help facilitate the growth and visibility of this account to aid in that mission.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!