Breakfast of Champions

By Karli Thode, Communication Intern The Office of Innovation Creativity and Entrepreneurship

“Wake Forest is the perfect time to “do.” You get to choose how you spend your time. Go out and do as much as possible while you’re here. Fail as much as possible. You’ll learn so much and no one will ever know. When you’re in the real world, you have an identity, a brand to report to. It’s harder to fail then and more people will notice.” –James Beshara, '08

Wake alumnus and CEO/Co-founder of Crowdtilt.com, James Beshara shared personal stories and offered advice to students who gathered for breakfast on November 14 to hear him talk about his adventures as a serial entrepreneur.  Having now launched three successful ventures, Develo Flies, The MiFi Report, and Crowdtilt, his impressive track record speaks volumes to his entrepreneurial spirit and incredible work ethic, as made evident in his campus-wide presentation given the night before alongside Co-Founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian.

Reflecting back on his time at Wake Forest, he offered lots of advice, encouraging students to take advantage of their time here as both students and entrepreneurs. “Here at Wake Forest, you have been given a fantastic opportunity to test the waters. There’s very little downside involved. The more times that you can fail under this safety net, the better your odds.”

Failure? Talk of failure at Wake Forest is almost taboo. It is a topic that isn’t most comfortable for most, but Beshara embraces failure in its entirety, and he encourages students to do the same. “I’ve almost become numb to failure because of the success that it’s continuously led me to,” Beshara explained.

“Wake Forest is the perfect time to do. You get to choose how you spend your time. Go out and do as much as possible while you’re here. Fail as much as possible. You’ll learn so much and no one will ever know. When you’re in the real world, you have an identity, a brand to report back to, but here is the time to experiment. The fruit of all your effort will come from failure, so embrace it.”

Beshara also stressed the importance of networking and social capital. Both of these skills are so undeniably important in the entrepreneurial community, and they can lead you to a world of opportunities and resources. But perhaps most importantly, Beshara stressed the importance of a mission and persuasive communication. “Make sure that you’re building whatever you’re building with a HUGE mission. This is rare, but here lies the value in it.”

Beshara is right. Wake Forest is the perfect time to do. Spend your time wisely and take advantage of all the resources that Wake Forest has to offer. Build up a social network, and choose to live out your mission. And fail. Fail, fail, fail. Failure is not something to be afraid of. The more you fail, the closer you are to achieving success.