Blake Mycoskie is the "Chief Shoe Giver" at TOMS Shoes, a company that he founded in 2006 to provide shoes to impoverished children around the world. He has been a professional entrepreneur since his sophomore year in college when he founded a campus laundry business.
Previously, he founded Driver's Ed Direct, launched the advertising firm Mycoskie Media, worked as spokesperson for the online company GreenTiePoker, was CEO of Closer Marketing Group, and served as President of Phil Hellmuth Productions.
He has also had experience on reality television. He was the contestant for Tennessee on Fox's "Sexiest Bachelor in America Pageant" in 2000 and finished third in the second season of CBS's The Amazing Race in 2002. As a result, he launched an all-reality television network called Reality Central in 2002. Mycoskie studied philosophy and finance as an undergraduate at Southern Methodist University.
Question: What business leaders inspire you?
Blake Mycoskie: For the past five years, I’ve really just been inspired and kind of modeled a lot of the decisions I make off Richard Branson and Virgin.
What I love about what Richard Branson’s done, specifically early in his career, was he took a brand that was counterculture, sarcasm, irreverent and he applied it to all these different industries that really weren’t connected at all. But he gave the same customer this loyalty or this ability to be loyal to a cell phone or an airline or record label. And I think that is really cool. And I think it shows that it is possible for brands to transcend their specific category.
Recorded on: April 28, 2008