Tuesday, April 11, 2017

HCSI Interview with Dr. Jason Scott Earl of the Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship Episode: 13

This episode of Doctor Entrepreneur features an interview with Jason Scott Earl, of the Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship at Brigham Young University Hawaii.  Sponsored by Lance King of Healthcare Compliance Solutions Inc.  www.hcsiinc.com

Introduction/Career Beginnings
Jason Scott Earl wanted to build and create things when he was little because he looked up to his welding father.  He went to school for engineering and worked for Exxon Mobil as a structural engineer.  He learned that to be successful he needed more business knowledge and personal confidence, so after attending corporate assertiveness training, he also went to Tulane University to get an MBA in corporate finance.  He then worked for World Minerals, where he was mentored for 6 months in corporate finance by the CFO.  They spent every Saturday together talking about accounting and finance.  Over a 5 year period, his company acquired about 7 entities and he rose to Director of Strategic Planning and Finance.  Eventually, World Minerals was acquired and he wasn't excited about the changes being made so he became a “reluctant entrepreneur” and started a business with some colleagues.  They created StarStone, LLC, a material science company that made mix designs for concrete to make it stronger and cheaper.  They started licensing out their technology and soon the company was purchased by iCrete.  Jason says that creating and growing his company was like jumping on a bullet bike going 140 mph. He realized that building a successful company didn't have to take 20 years.

Through it all Jason has kept one main priority, his family.  They are the main reason why he took his current position at BYU Hawaii--to have more time with family and live in a great place where they can have great experiences together.

He also has a second major priority in life, his students.  Teaching made Jason realize that there's a much bigger world that he can influence.  Plus, helping students accomplish great things has been rewarding.  He enjoys seeing them build businesses in their home countries/locations.

Jason says to pick 3-4 things that are important and stick to them.  If you do, it will lead to success and happiness.  For example, exercise, spend time with family, and do something that seems hard.  Jason's family has chosen to read together daily at 6:00 AM.  He said at first it was really difficult, but after 2 months, it was just something they did every day.

Throughout his career, Jason has learned from failure. When something fails, he says that you have two choices.  Double down and try to save it, or realize it's not going to work and cut your losses. The right choice may not always be apparent.

Jason was failing at his first position and knew there was a good chance of getting fired.  He entered assertiveness training and learned that he could just state what he needed and that people would respect it.  He was more successful because he had a failure and fixed the problem.

Another time, Jason was working on getting his Professional Engineer license in California. He already had the certification in Louisiana, but he had to take the exam again when he moved to California.  It was a long test-- 12 hrs/day for 2 days.  He got the results back and had failed by one point.  He then appealed for a higher score and they ended up lowering the score.  He took this as a sign that he needed to look at a different career path.

He thinks the world's perspective on entrepreneurship is totally wrong.  Most of us think of outgoing, charismatic, bigger-than-life people when we think of successful entrepreneurs.  Jason challenges that paradigm.  He said, “Entrepreneurship is the ability to find and recognize opportunities and take action.” It's not always glamorous and it's not an inborn skill. Anyone who wants to can learn this skill, and once it has been learned, there will be no stopping you.  Jason works with students from 70 different countries. Learning about entrepreneurship might not change the whole world, but it changes the student's world. In his class, students start a project, create a business model, and test it out in their home countries.  For example, recently a group of students from Tuvalu, Mexico, Tonga, Hawaii, and Idaho went to Tuvalu and set up hydroponics gardens and taught people to garden without soil.  Because of rising ocean water, the soil is salty and crops won't grow in salty soil.  Locals are now growing their own food that they previously had to import from Fiji.  Hydroponics is not glamorous, it's not an app, it's definitely not social media, but it works!  The group then went to Tonga to set up an eco-adventure tourism company.  Videos of these projects can be seen on the I Love BYU Hawaii Facebook group page.  Jason says the best way to learn is through a master/apprentice program, and the second best way is simulation, so his classes involve a lot of simulation work, too.

When asked what legacy he hopes to leave, Jason said he hopes people don't remember his name.  He doesn't want to leave a legacy.  “People do crazy dumb things in name of legacy,” according to Jason.  He does hope that his students begin thousands of start-ups and that those generate jobs and opportunities for many people.  He says that more people need to have the perspective of helping individuals instead of leaving a legacy of a 10 million-dollar building.

Three Truths to Live By
One: People need to think of their life as a simulation.  There's going to come a point where you see your decisions and the consequences of those decisions.  And you'll see what would have happened if you chose differently.  Choose wisely!

Two: Who really matters to you is more important than anything. People don't care about your success story or your money, but they do care if you care about them.

Three: This life goes by quickly. Most of us will be dead before we know it.  We should be doing everything we can to teach the rising generation.

Advice for Doctor Entrepreneurs
Jason says to think about differentiation.  What makes you different?  Is it true competitive advantage; is it sustainable? How do you make that known to people?
In the case of doctors, there is a huge opportunity to combine different fields. Answer these questions: who are my competitors and how am I different?  Then find a small market and dominate it.

Jason can be reached at JasonScottEarl.com or jasonscottearl@gmail.com.

Thank you for listening/watching!  Please follow Lance King and Healthcare Compliance Solutions Inc on Facebook @hcsiinc, listen to the Doctor Entrepreneur podcast, and/or watch more interviews on our YouTube Channel.  www.hcsiinc.com

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