Friday, November 18, 2011

"When the fans speak, people listen." - Bill Rasmussen of ESPN

The Youth Entrepreneurs Business Breakfast at
The College Basketball Experience in Kansas City.

This morning, I had the opportunity to join Youth Entrepreneurs as they welcomed Bill Rasmussen, Founder of ESPN to talk at their business breakfast.  The breakfast opened with Eric Morgenstern, President and CEO of Morningstar Communications.  He proclaimed that the goal of the breakfast was to "awaken your entrepreneur and inspire youth to do the same."

Kyle Stupka, Executive Director of Youth Entrepreneurs, was next to take the stage.  After thanking sponsors like Lockton and Tradebot, Stupka mentioned that 22% of the alumni from Youth Entrepreneurs have started a business and 85% of alumni have changed their career goals because of YEK.

Next, Madyson Smith, a YEK alum, took the mic and told the crowd about her participation in competitions for YEK and told the story of her dream to start an indoor golf center in Missouri.  Following her was Tiffany Jasper, teacher for the YEK program.

Finally, to finish up the event, Bruce Haertl and Founder of ESPN Bill Rasmussen took the stage in an interview-style format.  Rasmussen talked about where ESPN came from (a $9000 credit card advance, money from family, a small-time investor and a lot of passion).

Bill Rasmussen iterated many times that you don't have to start "ahead of the curve" in order to become a success.  In fact, he boldly stated during the live interview that, "you don't have to know everything when you start.  We knew zero!"

Rasmussen also talked about focusing on the customers first.  For ESPN, those customers are the fans.  ESPN had to sell, primarily, to the fans first.  Bill was sure to mention that "When the fans speak, people listen."

The breakfast ended with a hilarious video--ESPN's first promotional video ever, which had a happy-go-lucky jingle and footage from sports games from pole vault to rugby.

Congratulations to Youth Entrepreneurs for putting on a great Kansas City event at the College Basketball Experience.  And congratulations to those young entrepreneurs who are going out there and learning, dreaming and doing.

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1 comment:

  1. Bill Rasmussen was inspirational...he never took "no" for an answer, and kept his eye on the prize. Thanks, Youth Entrepreneurs, for a terrific event!