What I learned cold contacting 100’s of CEOs.

Everyone has a story about their first encounter with the world of business.

Some launched the proverbial lemonade stand, myself included. Others sell baseball cards. A few enterprising kids will teach themselves magic and perform in the community (something I did myself when I was 7)

At the age of 14, I realized that I wanted to become a business leader someday. I read a few books on the subject, but I wanted advice from the source. I did the most logical thing and sent physical letters to a few hundred CEO’s, political and business leaders globally.

The conversion rate was quite high and I got some awesome replies (some handwritten) on corporate letterheads.

I kept the letters a few lines long and just asked two questions:

1. “Is it hard being the CEO/leader of a company?”
2. “Do you have any advice on “making it to the top?”
After a few weeks, I started receiving a stream of replies in the mailbox. Yes, an actual physical mailbox.

mailbox_1

These replies consisted of everything from boilerplate “too busy” responses to actual personal, handwritten letters from the CEO’s.

A few replies also included some company swag – for instance the CEO of Ferrari FedEx-ed me a hat and stickers. This advice was incredibly helpful, and I’ll expand on this in future posts.

Lesson learned? If you want advice, just ask. After all, if you ask for a job/funding, you’ll get advice. If you ask for advice, you’ll get the job.

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