Last night Becky and I had the pleasure of attending Babson’s Summer Reception in Newport.
Hosted by Mary and Thomas Gilbane, Jr., it was an opportunity for the entire Babson community in Rhode Island to get together and speak with Babson’s new President Stephen Spinelli MBA ‘92.
Spinelli as President makes this year for Babson—it’s 100th–even more special.
As you may know, Babson has played a special role in our family with Becky’s dad Richard Young ’63 (a former trustee), brother Matthew Young ’92, Becky ’94, and me ’94 all graduates of the college.
Seeing and hearing Spinelli talk about Babson was wonderful.
Spinelli basically said, “I work for you, the alumni because my job is to make your diploma more valuable.”
How refreshing it was to hear the words “value creation” in his talk.
So simple, yet incredibly powerful.
Spinelli was saying that because of his previous roles as head of the Entrepreneurship program at Babson, founder of Jiffy Lube, and President of Philadelphia University, he viewed the world through the lens of an entrepreneur. He made sure he created value.
Why is value creation important?
With so many leaders in ivory towers and C-suites focused on social issues, value creation often gets lost in the effort.
And when institutions get away from value creation, then what’s the point of their very existence?
Spinelli noted that this is the 36th year that Babson has been ranked #1 in the country in entrepreneurship, and he said—only half jokingly—the pressure is on to make it to 37.
But, he noted, if he focuses on creating value, then the ranking should take care of itself.
Spinelli emphasized that if you focus on value creation in your life’s work, then a lot of life’s other problems take care of themselves.
A great example was when one of his former students, whom Spinelli kept in touch with after the student graduated from Babson, called to chat.
Spinelli asked the student some questions about how his start-up business was going.
“Do you have proprietary technology?” Spinelli asked.
“Do you have a distribution channel in place?”
“Do you have a customer that would refer your product?”
“No, not yet.”
“Well,” Spinelli said, “I’m not sure I see your vision.”
“Steve,” the student said, “I didn’t call to talk about the business, I called to ask you for an investment; a check.”
Having written a check to the student (not a very large one Spinelli admitted) the student called several months later.
“Steve, it’s 6 am Seattle time, and I’m leaving Jeff Bezos’ office. He just wrote a check for $1.3 billion to buy my company.”
Who knew a doorbell camera called Doorbot would turn into a thing called Ring?
As it turns out, when you focus on creating value as Jamie Siminoff ’99 founder of Ring did, it’s a sure way to find out.
It takes more than luck to create a company like Ring or to become President of Babson College.
Congratulations Dr. Spinelli.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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