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Garrett Gee Sold His Startup For $54 Million, Then Gave His Family a Gift of a Lifetime

By Benny Luo . Posted on December 16, 2015

What do you do when SnapChat buys your startup and you become a millionaire?

If you’re 25-year-old Garrett Gee, you pull out all the money in savings, sell everything you own, and take your family on an endless trip around the world.

Gee is the founder of Scan, a QR code-scanning mobile app he pitched on “Shark Tank” in 2013.

He appeared on the show wearing just a hoodie and flip flops, an ensemble he wears when pitching investors.

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“I wore them in every investor meeting before ‘Shark Tank,’ including my meetings with Facebook, Google, Menlo Ventures, Lady Gaga, and more,” he told NextShark in a 2013 interview

“Actually, they were part of a ‘uniform’ I put together while raising money for my company. To me, it was very important for potential investors to see me for who I really am.”

Although he failed to get a deal in the tank, Gee had already raised over $8 million in funding from various venture capital firms prior to getting on the show.

After launching his company in 2011, it was acquired by SnapChat in 2014 for a whopping $54 million, making Gee an instant millionaire.

Gee recalled:

“I kept looking at [my bank account], then looking away, then looking at it to make sure it was still there and that this was all real.

I took a screenshot for my journal — OK, I took like seven screenshots for my journal. I didn’t show my wife — not at first. We were just about to have our second child so I waited about one week until she was literally in labor.

Then, to take her mind off the pain, I pulled out my phone and showed her our bank account. It worked.”

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About a year after, Gee — now a father of two kids, Dorothy, 3, and Manilla, 1, with his wife Jessica, 29 — were trying to figure out what to do next. At that time he was still a student and captain of the soccer team at Brigham Young University.

“A new house and cars didn’t feel right,” Gee told People.

“We didn’t need that stuff. We were young, healthy and really didn’t need much of anything.

So we started joking about putting our money in savings, selling everything and using those funds to travel the world. Where would we go? What would we do? And as we began to add more plans to our bucket list, it just became real.”

After putting their newfound fortune in savings, the couple held a large garage sale and sold literally everything they had except journals, photos and Gee’s lucky sandals.

They made a total of $45,000 in the end, which would end up being the money they used to fund their travels.

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“We will travel until that runs out,” Gee told NextShark.

“We will see how long it lasts. Perhaps some of my entrepreneurial skills will come into play and I’ll figure out a way to make that money stretch further and further.

Or, if I’m really good, $45K will give me enough time to make our travels fuel themselves, or better yet, profitable. Anything is possible, right? Just keep intentions pure and attitudes positive”

On why the couple decided to travel, Gee explained: 

“We hope to learn more about life and become better people. We are excited about the memories that we will surely create together and the opportunities around the world that will help serve others.

Already it has become clear that the world is a big, open place with endless mindsets, cultures, and beliefs, none better than the others — just different.”

(What of people with less enviable passports? What kinds of plans can they fathom with that kind of saving?)

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The couple met in Russia in 2007 while they were serving as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and have been married since 2009.

To make sure their $45,000 travel fund lasts as long as possible, the family is living as frugally as possible.

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“[Being frugal] just comes kind of natural to us. It makes us uncomfortable to be thoughtless with money,” Gee explained.

“We still buy the cheapest flight we can find, even if that means waking up at 4 a.m., and we still only drink water with our meals. I believe the best way to show gratitude for the blessings in life is humility, and one of the best ways to show humility is to live frugally.”

The family has spent the last four month traveling in the South Pacific, Australia, Thailand and New Zealand. They’re currently vacationing on the beaches in Bali, Indonesia.

“My personal favorite adventure thus far was back in Tonga. For over a year I had been researching and preparing to freedive in the waters of Tonga — with humpback whales! It was the most epic moment of my life.”

When it comes to his kids’ future education, Gee is a little hesitant in settling somewhere permanently.

“I’m very open-minded to the option of Not settling down,” he told NextShark.

“I’m open to non-traditional forms of education. I wasn’t a very good student. The typical education system actually made me feel stupid and bad about myself and gave me less confidence in my own ability to be creative and valuable.”

Nonetheless, I loved school for everything else. I loved the social life. I loved sports. I loved the challenges. So, it is kind of a toss-up.

I want the best of the best for my children so hopefully I’ll soon be able to figure out what that may be.”

On whether he credits his success to hard work or luck, he said: “If you were to ask me in person I would say, ‘Oh it’s all luck.’

But, that would be a lie just to get past the question. The truth is it’s all hard work.

There’s a ton of serendipitous and fortunate events where stars have aligned in order for everything to come together. But even each of those ‘lucky’ happenings can be traced back to extra efforts and hard work, extra efforts to network, extra late nights.

So the harder I work, the ‘luckier’ I get.”

Gee also shared three factors to success he believes in:

1) Be impressive: success doesn’t just grace anyone and everyone. It seeks out impressive people — hard-working, talented, sincere, good-hearted people. Basically, be deserving of any success that wishes to find you.

2) Be yourself: it’s fine to learn from others and look up to those deserving, but let it stop there. The Facebook formula worked for Facebook — probably not for you. The Garrett Gee way was kinda cool for him, but not that cool. Always be learning more about yourself and always let that light shine bright!

3) Be successful: realize what success really is. That way, on your pursuit to ‘financial success’ you can enjoy real success. You can enjoy your health, your family, and the things that really determine success.

The couple plans to travel to the Maldives and Switzerland in the coming months, and Gee says he already has a new company in the works that he says is “something like never before.”

He regularly blogs about his family’s adventures The Bucketlist Family

What did you learn from life so far?

I learned (2002)

1.   I learned from Life that

Assuming is but the intention to work less.

You know the drill:

No work, no sweat, no gain.

 

2.   I learned from Life that

Expecting but not acting on a plan

Is a day dreaming wish.

You know the drill:  No work, no sweat, and no gain.

 

3.   I learned from Life that

Acting but not expecting success is

A long journey

To sweatshop misery.

 

4.   I learned from Life

The best drill of all:

Plan, act and expect success.

Success is on hand, and more.

 

5. I learned from Life that

Success is good:

Success comes in drove,

In different shapes and forms.

What do you think they have in common: Success and failure?

A few years ago I was at JFK Airport about to get on a flight, when I was approached by two women who I do not think would be insulted to hear themselves described as tiny old tough-talking Italian-American broads.

0:25 The taller one, who is like up here, she comes marching up to me, and she goes, “Honey, I gotta ask you something. You got something to do with that whole ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ thing that’s been going on lately?”

Patsy Z shared this link
TED. 4 hrs ·

How to find the courage to do what you love, even when failure is likely:

t.ted.com|By Elizabeth Gilbert

And I said, “Yes, I did.”

she smacks her friend and she goes, “See, I told you, that’s that girl. That’s that girl who wrote that book based on that movie.” (Laughter)

that’s who I am. And believe me, I’m extremely grateful to be that person, because that whole “Eat, Pray, Love” thing was a huge break for me. But it also left me in a really tricky position moving forward as an author trying to figure out how in the world I was ever going to write a book again that would ever please anybody

because I knew well in advance that all of those people who had adored “Eat, Pray, Love” were going to be incredibly disappointed in whatever I wrote next because it wasn’t going to be “Eat, Pray, Love,” and all of those people who had hated “Eat, Pray, Love” were going to be incredibly disappointed in whatever I wrote next because it would provide evidence that I still lived. 

I knew that I had no way to win, and knowing that I had no way to win made me seriously consider for a while just quitting the game and moving to the country to raise corgis. But if I had done that, if I had given up writing, I would have lost my beloved vocation, so I knew that the task was that I had to find some way to gin up the inspiration to write the next book regardless of its inevitable negative outcome.

 I had to find a way to make sure that my creativity survived its own success. And I did, in the end, find that inspiration, but I found it in the most unlikely and unexpected place. I found it in lessons that I had learned earlier in life about how creativity can survive its own failure.

just to back up and explain, the only thing I have ever wanted to be for my whole life was a writer. I wrote all through childhood, all through adolescence, by the time I was a teenager I was sending my very bad stories to The New Yorker, hoping to be discovered.

After college, I got a job as a diner waitress, kept working, kept writing, kept trying really hard to get published, and failing at it.

I failed at getting published for almost six years. So for almost six years, every single day, I had nothing but rejection letters waiting for me in my mailbox.

And it was devastating every single time, and I had to ask myself if I should just quit while I was behind and give up and spare myself this pain. But then I would find my resolve, and always in the same way, by saying, “I’m not going to quit, I’m going home.”

you have to understand that for me, going home did not mean returning to my family’s farm. For me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home, because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my own ego, which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself. And that’s how I pushed through it.

the weird thing is that 20 years later, during the crazy ride of “Eat, Pray, Love,” I found myself identifying all over again with that unpublished young diner waitress who I used to be, thinking about her constantly, and feeling like I was her again, which made no rational sense whatsoever because our lives could not have been more different. She had failed constantly.

I had succeeded beyond my wildest expectation. We had nothing in common. Why did I suddenly feel like I was her all over again?

it was only when I was trying to unthread that, that I finally began to comprehend the strange and unlikely psychological connection in our lives between the way we experience great failure and the way we experience great success.

So think of it like this: For most of your life, you live out your existence here in the middle of the chain of human experience where everything is normal and reassuring and regular, but failure catapults you abruptly way out over here into the blinding darkness of disappointment.

Success catapults you just as abruptly but just as far way out over here into the equally blinding glare of fame and recognition and praise. And one of these fates is objectively seen by the world as bad, and the other one is objectively seen by the world as good, but your subconscious is completely incapable of discerning the difference between bad and good.

The only thing that it is capable of feeling is the absolute value of this emotional equation, the exact distance that you have been flung from yourself. And there’s a real equal danger in both cases of getting lost out there in the hinterlands of the psyche.

in both cases, it turns out that there is also the same remedy for self-restoration, and that is that you have got to find your way back home again as swiftly and smoothly as you can, and if you’re wondering what your home is, here’s a hint: Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself.

So that might be creativity, it might be family, it might be invention, adventure, faith, service, it might be raising corgis, I don’t know, your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.

For me, that home has always been writing. So after the weird, disorienting success that I went through with “Eat, Pray, Love,” I realized that all I had to do was exactly the same thing that I used to have to do all the time when I was an equally disoriented failure. I had to get my ass back to work, and that’s what I did, and that’s how, in 2010, I was able to publish the dreaded follow-up to “Eat, Pray, Love.”

And you know what happened with that book? It bombed, and I was fine. Actually, I kind of felt bulletproof, because I knew that I had broken the spell and I had found my way back home to writing for the sheer devotion of it. And I stayed in my home of writing after that, and I wrote another book that just came out last year and that one was really beautifully received, which is very nice, but not my point.

My point is that I’m writing another one now, and I’ll write another book after that and another and another and another and many of them will fail, and some of them might succeed, but I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.

6:09 Look, I don’t know where you rightfully live, but I know that there’s something in this world that you love more than you love yourself. Something worthy, by the way, so addiction and infatuation don’t count, because we all know that those are not safe places to live. Right?

The only trick is that you’ve got to identify the best, worthiest thing that you love most, and then build your house right on top of it and don’t budge from it.

And if you should someday, somehow get vaulted out of your home by either great failure or great success, then your job is to fight your way back to that home the only way that it has ever been done, by putting your head down and performing with diligence and devotion and respect and reverence whatever the task is that love is calling forth from you next.

You just do that, and keep doing that again and again and again, and I can absolutely promise you, from long personal experience in every direction, I can assure you that it’s all going to be okay

 

Studies reveal the secret to F&B success… and it’s not what you think

Who is F&B again?

 marie murray, June 30, 2015
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We’ve heard it since we were little. make a good impression. be polite. don’t talk with your mouth full. say please and thank you. don’t pick your nose…

As kids, these rules just seemed annoying, but somehow we knew that our parents were trying to tell us something important.

what were they getting at anyway? they were teaching us about image: the face we present to the public.

In the F&B industry, image is a lot more important than we might think. that may be common knowledge to industry experts. but not all of the contributing factors that make up ‘image’ are created equal.

One contributing factor really makes the biggest impact.

we’ll get to all those factors and highlight the most important one, but first, let’s take a look at why image is so important.

One study1 shows that in public spaces, image is often the primary factor that determines whether or not people will return to a public space and whether they’ll recommend it to others.

it matters. this is especially true for franchises that fall between fast food chains and full service restaurants, which are rapidly becoming most popular in the food industry.2

so, what exactly is image?

it’s what sets a public space apart from competitors. it’s all the things that make a brand stand out.

it’s more than the immediate experience guests have while they’re actually in the public space.

image is what sticks in the patrons’ minds long after they’ve left, and what keeps them coming back for more… or never returning.

Technically speaking, image is the combination of branding, décor and interior design, furniture, store location, waiting time for a meal, food quality, menu variety, professional appearance of staff, price, and cleanliness3. but really, image is the specific harmony of all those factors working together. (And how we perceive harmony? According to what idiosyncrasy?))

today, the options and possibilities can seem endless. guests can choose from an almost unlimited number of public spaces, and the variety of choices are staggering. they can base their decision off of menu preference, ambiance, service, price range, or location. so why not focus on just one aspect and gain popularity by excelling in that area?

The fascinating discovery we’re sharing with you is that the whole is far more significant than the sum of its parts.

The individual aspects of a good restaurant or public space (service, location, menu, wait time) are not nearly as important as the overall experience. yes, all those aspects are included, but they’re exponentially more valuable when they merge to create one unique image.

two zones in the same restaurant create different atmospheres.

So what’s the most important contributing factor?

Surprisingly, it’s usually not the quality or variety of the menu that matters most. that’s because there are more and more places that serve similar menus4.

Image is actually best determined by the décor and interior design5. Creating zones that offer slightly different atmospheres also makes a difference. and furniture is often the differentiating factor between different zones.

The most impactful first impression is the atmosphere. that’s also what stays the most with guests after they leave.

If guests can choose from a wide variety of places, they are most likely to return to the place with the best atmosphere. (Unless the food sucks or not satisfying for the price?)

furniture is often the differentiating factor between different zones.

The next time you think of image as an annoying set of rules that your parents used to make you behave in public, think again.

Image may actually be the primary thing that determines the success of your restaurant or public space.

(And outside the food industry? Does creative interior design contributes to the image?)

we’ve heard it since we were little. make a good impression. be polite. don’t talk with your mouth full. say please and thank you. don’t pick your nose. and on and…
casafekra.com

Nothing on your blog works? Do you have this one habit

william choukeir posted this May 14, 2014

why nothing on this blog works; unless you have this one habit

…and not just on this blog. i’m also referring to all advice, self-help blogs, books, and anything remotely related to personal and professional development.

let me explain through a story.

jake is the co-founder of vimeo. After selling vimeo, he found himself unproductive and unhappy.  Throughout the next year or so, he came up with a simple system that has helped him re-find his productivity and happiness. he posted this system online and called it ‘standards‘.

like most systems out there, if you try using ‘standards’, it’ll likely not work for you; unless you have this one habit. here’s why.

‘standards’ is a simple list of things you want to do (or avoid) daily. each day, you mark with a check the items you succeeded with, and with a cross those you failed at.

jake tried it the first week and failed. he tried it the second week and failed a little less. after a few months, he was accomplishing everything on his list on most days. his life started turning around.

jake had, whether knowingly or not, acquired a valuable habit that allowed him to make his system work for him.

Through my two years of research and experimentation with habits, i’ve come to the realization that this one habit is the father of all habits. it’s the habit that breeds habits. and habits, in my experience, are the most efficient tool to create the life you want for yourself.

this habit isn’t perseverance. it isn’t grit either.

if you keep on doing what you’ve been doing,
you’ll keep on getting what you’ve been getting.

you need to change something, not just persevere. let’s call this habit: ‘the habit of planning for banana peels.’

you’re walking happily. suddenly you feel lifted off the ground and are falling back in slow motion. before your ass hits the ground you realize you’ve slipped on a banana peel.

an expectation of yours is unmet—banana peel.
you try some advice and fail—banana peel.
you loose a project—banana peel.
your client refuses a design—banana peel.

‘the habit of planning for banana peels’ looks like this.
Every time you slip, you ask—and answer—two questions:
1• how will i respond the next time i slip?
2• what can i do differently to avoid slipping next time?

With this core habit, even if you try some advice and it doesn’t work the first time, you’ll automatically choose what’ll you do differently next time.

if you don’t already have this core habit, then even this article won’t help you acquire it; without you getting some pre-requisites.

These pre-requisites can be in the form of skills, habits, or knowledge (i.e. awareness of your thoughts and emotions.)

if you eventually do succeed at building ‘the habit of planning for banana peels’, maybe then, you’ll be able to make some of the valuable advice that’s out there (or here) work for you.

now you’re aware. the rest is up to you.


this post is from ‘edition 10′ of our ‘inspirations newsletter’. subscribe below to receive these regular editions by email. every edition also includes acad 3d models of chairs, stools, tables, and sofas, exclusive to our subscribers. subscribe below:

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