Top Customer Experience Experts
Top Customer Experience Experts

099: Steve Mariotti: They attacked me with knives

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Steve Mariotti Show Notes

Steve Mariotti went out for a jog and was mugged by a bunch of young men with knives. Experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, Steve was taught to change the sentences in his mind. As part of his ongoing therapy he became a teacher and he found out that he enjoyed helping people achieve their life through entrepreneurship.

A native son of Flint, Michigan, Steve Mariotti grew up with his younger brother Jack.

Steve received his B.B.A in business economics and his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His primary interest in school was Entrepreneurship as he had been unable to get a job as a teenager in Flint and started seven different businesses to fund his education.

After receiving his MBA, Steve was appointed the treasury analyst for South Africa for Ford Motor Company where he led the internal effort to prohibit Ford from selling Surveillance equipment to the racist government of South Africa. Ford adopted Steve’s recommendations and their policy of not selling to non-democratic governments remains in effect to this day.

In 1982, Steve was mugged by a group of youths armed with knives. After seeing Therapist Albert Ellis, he was advised to become a public high school teacher in New York City’s roughest neighborhoods as part of his therapy.

So Steve decided to leave a successful business career to become a teacher. On his first day of teaching special Education students in the worst school in New York City (March 6th 1982), his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the mugging, disappeared and he knew he had found his life’s work. Steve discovered he could reach even his most troubled students by teaching them to run small businesses.

In 1987, he founded the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth. Since then, more than 700,000 students in 22 states and 12 countries have graduated from NFTE programs. Steve’s vison is that every low income youth will be taught the basics of starting a business so they will have an opportunity to escape poverty.

Steve has authored 30 books, including An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto. Over 10 million of Steve’s book are in print and used in over 30 countries.

Steve is the Fellow of Entrepreneurial Education for the PhilaU Center for Entrepreneurship at Philadelphia University. In announcing this appointment, Diana Spencer, president of the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation said, “Steve Mariotti is a visionary who takes the road less traveled, encouraging others to think big and create their own entrepreneurial journeys.

Steve currently lives in Princeton, New Jersey where he enjoys hiking, playing chess and adding to his collection of more than 7,000 rare books.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @SteveJMariotti to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Every human being has the ability to find a comparative advantage.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“Every human being, is basically always in business for themselves.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“Your life is to determine how to best use your resources.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“Each human being has unique knowledge of time and space.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“It’s very healthy to teach people to be thinking of themselves as entrepreneurs.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“The happiest people in the world today are American women entrepreneurs.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“Some of the great minds in the world never shine.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“In one generation you can go from doing everything wrong to everything right.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“We have a corrupt and evil tax code.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“In the art world, so often the entrepreneur is portrayed as a negative.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“Common core has made people’s unique knowledge not of value.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“The standardization of curriculum really benefits no one.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“It’s the entrepreneur that creates the wealth.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

“Empathy has created great happiness for me and wealth.” -Steve Mariotti Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Steve Mariotti went out for a jog and was mugged by a bunch of young men with knives. Experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, Steve was taught to change the sentences in his mind. As part of his ongoing therapy he became a teacher and he found out that he enjoyed helping people achieve their life through entrepreneurship.

Advice for others

Talk to local school districts about local programs to teach kids about starting businesses.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Organization

Best Leadership Advice Received

Integrity

Secret to Success

Listening

Best tools that helps in business or Life

Reading a book a week.

Recommended Reading

An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind: Updated

Contacting Steve

email: stevemariotti [at] gmail.com

website: http://www.stevemariottipartners.com/

Huff Post: http://www.stevemariotti.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-mariotti-534647103

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteveJMariotti

Resources

Five Spot Soul Food – Five Spot Restaurant & Lounge

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.


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Click to access edited transcript
099: Steve Mariotti: They attacked me with knives
Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Need a powerful and entertaining way to ignite your next conference, retreat or team-building session? My keynote don’t include magic but they do have the power to help your attendees take a leap forward by putting emotional intelligence into their employee engagement, customer engagement and customer centric leadership practices. So bring the infotainment creativity the Fast Leader show to your next event and I’ll help your attendees get over the hump now. Go to beyondmorale.com/speaking to learn more.

Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader Legion, today I’m excited because the guest that I have on the show today has big ideas for a big problem that we all face. Steve Mariotti was a native son of Flint Michigan where he grew up with his younger brother Jack. Steve received his undergrad in Business economics and his masters from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. His primary interest in school is entrepreneurship as he had been unable to get a job as a teenager in Flint and started seven different businesses to fund his education.

After receiving his MBA, Steve was appointed to the Treasury Analyst for South Africa for Ford Motor Company where he led the internal effort to prohibit Ford from selling surveillance equipment to the racist government of South Africa. Ford adopted Steve’s recommendations and their policy of not selling to nondemocratic governments remains in effect to this day. In 1982, Steve was mugged by a group of youths armed with knives. After seeing a therapist, he was advised to become a public high school teacher in New York City’s roughest neighborhoods as part of his therapy, so Steve decided to leave a successful business career to become a teacher.

On his first day of teaching special education students in the worst school in New York City, which is back in March 6, 1982, his post-traumatic stress disorder from the mugging disappeared and he knew he had found his life’s work. Steve discovered he could reach even his most trouble students by teaching them to run small businesses. In 1987, he founded the network for teaching entrepreneurship to bring entrepreneurship education to low income youth, since then more than 700,000 students in 22 states and 12 countries have graduated from NFTE programs.

Steve’s vision is that every low income youth will be taught the basics of starting a business so they will have an opportunity to escape poverty. Steve has authored 30 books including an entrepreneur’s manifesto, over 10 million of Steve’s books are in print and used in over 30 different countries. Steve is the fellow of entrepreneurial education for the PhilaU Center for Entrepreneurship at Philadelphia University. Steve currently lives in Princeton, New Jersey where he enjoys hiking, playing chess, and adding to his collection of more than 7,000 rare books. Steve Mariotti, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Steve Mariotti: Yes. I’m glad to be on the show Jim, thank you.

Jim Rembach: And thanks for being here. I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so we get to know you even better?

Steve Mariotti: Absolutely. I spend my time reading and writing on the issue of entrepreneurship and what happens to entrepreneurs during times of emergencies such as wars and natural disasters and how we can help entrepreneurs be peacekeepers and help them connect with one another around the world and create a global movement of entrepreneurs that are interconnected and act as a force for good globally, which I’ve always believed.

Jim Rembach: When I started reading your book, And Entrepreneur’s Manifesto, I started really coming to the realization that I don’t think the title matches what’s inside because it has such a huge foretelling as well research of the past on the impact of business and entrepreneurship in society as a whole. You even talked about—that everybody could be taught entrepreneurship and I’ve kind of say I’m a skeptic on that but how is that possible?

Steve Mariotti: I think that every human being has within them the ability to find a comparative advantage. And every human being is basically always in business for themselves even if you’re working at the Post Office your life is to determine how to best use your resources, time, energy, knowledge. And through the concept that FA (4:37 inaudible) develop to when Nobel Prize in 1974, I was fortunate enough to be his assistant, and he came up with the idea that each human being has unique knowledge of time and space and with that knowledge you can make a livelihood either as self-employed or working for someone else. I don’t think the barrier between being a worker and an entrepreneur or owner or capitalist is legitimate, I think we’re always basically trying to maximize our revenue, financially and intellectually and psychically in trying to minimize our cause so I think it’s very healthy to teach people to be thinking of themselves as entrepreneurs or business people.

Jim Rembach: You bring up a very interesting point because the use of part-time help, contract labor and even outsourcing is just going to continue to grow and I have a lot of our listeners that are in customer care and customer experience so when you think about customer service a lot of companies are actually taking on those folks as contract workers and they have to bring things with them. So, learning those entrepreneurial skills earlier on would be important for those folks to be successful and sets a goal where they want to go.

Steve Mariotti: Absolutely. That’s been my whole career of 35 years, is to get an international movement for every country in the world so that every child in the world will learn how to start a business before they graduate high school. Some point in their career that will pay off. They have a boss that doesn’t like you, or if you have a company that wants to use contractors or if you want to try make more money or have it is to and from for every country in the world said every child in the world learn started business before the graduate school she standpoint new career that will penalize him up asset is thank you working at a company that wants to use contractors everyone tried in the long money on have flexible hours, the highest rate of business formation in the world today are American women. And also the happiest people in the world today are American women entrepreneurs.

Jim Rembach: That brings up a really interesting point when you start talking about those younger generations really wanted to make an impact on the world and a lot of folks I think have very important thoughts in regards to making that impact but they don’t have the funding behind them to really make a difference and I think you brought the two together it could make a bigger difference for all of us.

Steve Mariotti: Absolutely. I think one of the most important things to teach at a young age is the concept of capital. How do you save capital? How do you make it grow? And just as important, how do you get other people to invest in you. There’s millions of ideas that could improve the world and many times people are taught to be afraid to ask for help or they don’t know how to put together a two page business proposal or all the little nuances of business language which can learn in a 100 hours. So some of the great minds in the world never shine and it hurts the world because their idea dies with them. So, there’s something about business and the ability to enhance people’s productivity to get things done to help them psychologically—and most important is to develop ideas and businesses that help other people in their communities.

Jim Rembach: That’s really interesting as you were talking, thanks for sharing that, I started thinking about a lot of organizations today that are trying to instill more that entrepreneurial mindset within their own workforce, these are people unemployed and they want to bring more innovation and things like that to the table but based on what you’re saying they’re not taught those things when they’re younger growing up. It’s a missing skill but yet it can be learned. So, how do we actually make this change? Before I go there I think that’s what the book is about, you talked about coordinated support within the book, what is that?

Steve Mariotti: Coordinated support really means building communities that support creativity, individualism, ideas, the to fail, the right to be successful, building a community that is supportive of the entrepreneurial process the uniqueness of it, the many failures of it. The beauty of that is that you have a community that understands it and keeps with it. I really point it to great examples, Israel.

Steve Mariotti: I went to Israel 1993 and at that time the majority of the leaders of Israel in my opinion were socialists, were based on the original Israeli, bellows and astern and those guys vision of forage which a very socialist state ownership, very regimented society and in 1993, and I think it was in a small part because nifty came but there was young Israeli entrepreneur okayed a huge homerun and went public the New York Stock Exchange, I believe, and the culture begin to change and now Israel has created a community that I think is the most pro-entrepreneurial community in the world. They have 34% of the new companies on NASDAQ were founded by Israelis. So it shows you in the 22 year period, one generation, you can go from doing everything wrong to everything right and that’s the power creation of community and the power of idea, the power of vision every strategy and tactics and I want us to do that right here in America particularly in low income communities that would benefit the most from a renaissance of entrepreneurship.

Jim Rembach: I definitely can see that that would be a benefit to those areas but it’s almost like it’s really being tossed across the entire economic spectrum because one of your articles on Huffington Post you talked about how there’s more college graduates that are living at home now than ever before because there’s no jobs for them and universities are failing them. And you also had mentioned something where by 2030 three out of five people living in cities will be under the age of 18. We have a huge employment problem that’s going to continue to get bigger.

Steve Mariotti: It’s very scary. And it’s much worse in the Middle East and certain parts of Africa. Certain parts of Africa blooming, certain parts have the same problems with the Middle East than we do, and we’ve got to start talking about it and thinking of solutions but getting our tax code right, we have a corrupt and just evil tax code. I wouldn’t use those words if I didn’t actually believe them but it’s 4,800 pages with another 80,000 pages of [12:01 inaudible] that you have to check as your reading for the tax code. And we’ve got to get rid of that, make it simple, fair and in my opinion flat. We’ve got to get rid of all regulations that don’t help people with health and safety but rather prevent competition. We’ve got to change our culture in particularly the earth world which so often the entrepreneur is portrayed as a negative, mean, dishonest person. Something like 90% of the villains in movies and TV’s are small businessman or large businessman and women too. And it’s a terrible message to send to all children, particularly children in poverty, so I think in my generation certainly in a decade we can turn this around we get the tax code right, we grow at 5%, we get the regulations right, we grow at 7%, we get universal ownership and entrepreneurship education in every school in America and we’ll grow at 10%. That means we double every seven years and that means we eliminate poverty in about 14 years in America. And if we can do it here, we can do it anywhere in the world. No one should have to grow up in poverty which in the next 25 years we should wipe poverty out of this world.

Jim Rembach: And that’s an action-based way of wiping poverty out that’s proactive instead of continuing to contribute to entitlement programs, and I love that big thinking. Obviously, with the people who you’ve had the opportunity to be mentored by and work with and some of the experiences that you had, you had a lot of inspiration in your life and your inspiration person yourself and oftentimes on the show we look to quotes that we share. So is there a quote or two that you can share that gives you that inspiration?

Steve Mariotti: Yes. Dear God give me an [14:07 inaudible] sense of purpose. And my second one is: Never, never, never, never compete. Find out what everybody else is doing then don’t do it. Create.

Jim Rembach: It was two very good ones, thank you for sharing. I know also, even reading to the book that you’ve had several humps to get over and I think that’s probably why you are the person you are today. Is there a story that you can share with us when you had to get over a hump?

Steve Mariotti: Absolutely. In 1981, I was in the business of import/export which I was very good at and I enjoyed it. And I went out for a jog in September ’81 in New York City along the East River, broad daylight and five or six young men couldn’t be more than 13 years old attacked me with a weapon, knives and humiliated me in front of my young girlfriend and also robbed me and it was a very humiliating and very, very scary. And I got post-traumatic stress disorder which is anybody has had it, it’s just horrible. It basically came from your mind and all you think of are the moments that are [15:36 inaudible] in your mind by the trauma and the stress of those moments. So, for six months I was pretty unable to do anything it was a very difficult time in my life. And my friend took me to a psychologist who is very famous at that time named Albert Ellis, and taught me how to change the sentences in my mind. So, instead of being humiliated and a victim of a mugging in front of your girlfriend in broad daylight, I became a survivor, a hero who escaped five/six young man with knives and save my girlfriend and I felt totally better within an hour.

And then the next day I became a special lead teacher as part of the therapy in boys and girls high school in Brooklyn, New York, which is at that time the most difficult high school. They’ve had two children who’d been shot there, none of the teachers wanted to go so they were very glad that I would go. And I just walked in and my post-traumatic stress disorder was totally gone I never taught of it in a painful way again. And I found that I enjoy talking to children that was disconnected from themselves and from God and from a craft where they can make a living, and that became my life’s work. I was eating one, I’ve been doing it for 35 years thinking about how to help people achieve their life through the skills of thinking about ownership, entrepreneurship, self-reliance, planning, goals, action, being pro-active, understanding money, respecting money, and most important the golden rule is for you really are successful. Try to help other human being get what they want. Treat them the way you want to be treated and most of the dreams of your life will come true.

Jim Rembach: What you’ve been able to accomplish as a result of that event?
It’s almost a blessing that it had happened to you, I know that may sound strange.

Steve Mariotti: It is a blessings. All spiritual I think, but it was a major blessing.

Jim Rembach: Even in the book you shared a couple of some pretty amazing success stories that had come out of this particular program, can you share one of those with us?

Steve Mariotti: Absolutely. Our children in whole 700,000, become more business literate, become aware of time preference they see further in the future and most important 99.5% of them which means 199 out of 200 would recommended highly without qualification to a best friend. So, to me what the child says is very important. We have many success stories around the world, we’ve recreated cultures in certain countries we’ve recreated cultures in certain cities. The story I like most is a student of mine that I’ve had at 1988. His name was Monique Armstead and his business is in New York City and it’s a restaurant. He started at ’93, I went to the neighborhood it was a very difficult neighborhood in Brooklyn, I went to look at the neighborhood and I said, “Monique don’t do it, it’s too rough. I felt nervous there during the day, which is always a bad sign. And he said, “Absolutely not, I’m going to do it.” And sure enough within eight years he owned the whole two blocks. As one more successful restaurants in Brooklyn, and he’s created, I think 71 jobs, and the neighborhood’s change. He got this young people starting businesses, they come over and talk to him like a senior fellow. He’s venture capital in young people in businesses, he’s got kids to college, and he sponsors sports teams. One entrepreneur over a lifetime can have a huge impact on another human being. So you don’t have to be the Bill Gates or the Steve Jobs or Michael Dells, you can be just in your community and affect thousands of live over your career. It’s a beautiful way to make a living.

Jim Rembach: Steve that was a great story. But you’ve got to tell us the name of the restaurant.

Steve Mariotti: It’s called Five Spot Soul Food.

Jim Rembach: Okay, make sure Fast Leader Legion, if you ever get down in Brooklyn, right?

Steve Mariotti: Yes, it’s at 459 Mrytle Ave. and again the name is Five Spot Soul Food, you’ll love it and it’s one of the New York City’s top entrepreneurs, I’m very proud of him.

Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader Legion, if you ever get down to Brooklyn make sure you go see Malik and tell him Steve sent you. Steve I know that you got a lot of different things that are going on. Your mission what you’re doing with the entrepreneurial center and all of those things, you’re writing on Huffington Post, I want to help you as much as I possibly can cause I see that your positive method and solution for addressing some of these big societal problems is something that seems just so simple but just needs an extra push. If you were to give a recommendation to listeners on how to help make this change happen, what would be your advice?

Steve Mariotti: Number one, I would begin to talk to the local school district particularly if you have children. And say, what is our program to teach kids how to start businesses? And see what they say. Most won’t have one but they will if local community people talk about it. Ninety percent is exposure, many, many teachers have part time businesses, so you have a wealth of genius within that school. And tragically under common core and this whole centralization of the state over monopoly public school system has made a lot of people unique knowledges of value in the school system. So you’ll have a great teacher whose run an auto mechanic shop after school for the last 25 years and 10 years ago that would be part of his curriculum. Every kid would come out knowing about this basic business because that’s what he did. Even if he was an English or Science teacher. But now the standardization of curriculum really benefits no one, I think it was a major error and it’s not where you win your Nobel prize, it’s not where you generate great wealth and I encourage people to talk with their local school systems if they have the time and the money to run for office, it’s the most important thing you can do other than starting your own business to change society.

Jim Rembach: When you when you start thinking about all the things that you have on your plate, and I know there’s a lot, but if you were to talk about one being a goal that you wanted a pushover, what would it be?

Steve Mariotti: My biggest goal right now is to capture the stories of entrepreneurs who have stayed alive and helped other people to war and natural disaster and how did they do it. What entrepreneurial mind frame that they have to get through absolute horrors of things that have happened and they kept going. When you read history the entrepreneur is invisible. With Churchill who I’ve read everything he’s ever written, I’m a big fan, but he’s got exactly three sentences on small businesses out of 3.8 million published words and he won the Nobel Prize for literature. And that’s sure with almost everybody that has won the Nobel Prize in literature or any major writer. They take the entrepreneur out of history and they substitute them in for the large government leaders. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, our own George Washington, and I’m a huge fan of, but they don’t define entrepreneur in those societies. And it’s the entrepreneur that creates the wealth, get things done, supplies the sacks and if we could raise the consciousness of the entrepreneurs similar that [25:04 inaudible]we’re raising the consciousness of women in ’63 with her pioneer work or Martin Luther King did with the African-American community around liberty and voting and Robert Kenney did and George Washington did and Gandhi and Mohammed Yunus, I would like to be one of many raising the self-esteem, the consciousness of small entrepreneurs and big entrepreneurs and view it as one community.

Jim Rembach: And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

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Jim Rembach: Alright here we go Fast Leader Legion, it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Steve, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid response that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Steve Mariotti, are you ready to hoedown?

Steve Mariotti: I’m ready.

Jim Rembach: Alright. So what do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Steve Mariotti: Organization.

Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Steve Mariotti: Integrity.

Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Steve Mariotti: Listening.

Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Steve Mariotti: Reading a book a week.

Jim Rembach: On that note, is there a book that you’d recommend to our listeners, and it could be from any genre? Of course we’re going to provide a link to An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto, but what book would you recommend beyond that?

Steve Mariotti: The best book ever written for entrepreneurs is The Power of the Subconscious by Murphy published in 1963.

Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader Legion, you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Steve Mariotti. Okay, Steve, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you could only choose one. So, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Steve Mariotti: Empathy. The ability to try to understand how people feel and what I can do to help them. Because that for me has been the best way to help people and has created great happiness for me and enough wealth so that I can live comfortably.

Jim Rembach: Steve, it was an honor to spend time with you today, can you please share the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?

Steve Mariotti: Absolutely. Stevemariotti@gmail.com is my email and stevemariottipartners.com is my website.

Jim Rembach: Steve Mariotti, thank you for thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

END OF AUDIO

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