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Achievement Curriculum: Module 1: Student Handout

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Martha Stewart
Multi-Media Lifestyle Entrepreneur

I'm always on the lookout for those good, simple solutions to everyday problems. And it's the energy that enables me to run around and do the things that I like to do. I don't need a lot of sleep. I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing. More important is the discovery. And I'm really trying to discover everyday good things.

[ Interview ] Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart: For me, an American Dream, if you read Theodore Dreiser, or you read other people who have written about what they consider the American Dream, it always has to do with monetary success, or poor boy makes good, or that kind of thing. To me that's not what it's all about. It's about, actually, when you get to be my age, having kind of a serenity about your life, and a good feeling about what you have done and what you can still do.

[ Interview ] Martha Stewart

Frederick W. Smith
Founder of Federal Express

Frederick Smith: I was very convinced that the idea was the central feature of the new economy. That without a system like this, it simply wasn't going to be able to work. So I was, in every sense of the word, a zealot. I mean, I felt very strongly that this needed to be done, that it was something that would be extremely useful to people and that it would make the economy and the society and the system work much better than it would work absent that.

[ Interview ] Frederick W. Smith

Frederick Smith: The reason I never lost confidence is because I never believed that the consequences of losing were as bad as some other people might have thought, you know? "Oh my goodness, I've lost my money!" or what have you. I mean, I just wasn't motivated along those lines. And I was very, very, very sure that what we were doing was extremely important and was destined to be successful. So that's the definition I think of an insane person, or a zealot. And most entrepreneurs, I think you would find, have that sort of green wire laid in there just a little bit cross-wise. And they begin to get focused on something, and they believe in the idea or themselves far beyond what they probably should.

[ Interview ] Frederick W. Smith

We decided a long time ago that percentages were not acceptable to our customers. In other words, 99 percent sounds great, unless you're the one percent who we don't deliver for. So we never talk about percentages. We built a management system which measures problems on an absolute basis. And the secret is, as traffic or volume increases, the number of complaints have to go down on an absolute basis. In other words, we've got to get better and better year after year.

It's not like we're carrying sand and gravel. You know, we're carrying chemotherapy drugs, and important manuscripts, and electronic parts, and pieces for airplanes that are grounded. So when we pick it up and say, "We're going to have it there early the next morning," I mean we have to deliver. There's nothing else to it. So putting the guarantee in place was much more important internally than it was externally. Because most of our customers -- based on the experience they've had with us -- they believe we'll do it. But it's when we said to all of the employees, "This is guaranteed. If we don't get it there, we don't get paid."

[ Interview ] Frederick W. Smith

Lawrence J. Ellison
Founder of Oracle

I think we should think of altruism -- giving -- as a strategy for happiness. Forget the morality of it all. "It's the right thing to do." Instead, think of it as something totally in your self-interest. If you can help others, you will feel great. The more you can help, the more intelligently you can help, the bigger lever you can get on the world to make it better, the better you will feel about yourself. The more joy you will experience. That is the road to bliss. That is the intelligent pursuit of happiness. That is what we should do. That is my argument for giving, not simply that it's the right and moral thing to do. It happens to also be that, but I don't find that as persuasive as that it is the road to happiness.

[ Interview ] Larry Ellison

This is America, people can change jobs, and people like to work with other intelligent and interesting people. They like to do interesting things. We have fantastic salary scales; I think we're the highest paying company in Silicon Valley. We have wonderful benefits, all of these things, but again, don't mistake any of that for altruism. That is in our interest, to retain our employees. Their job, my job, is to build better products than the competition, sell those products in the marketplace, and eventually supplant Microsoft and move from being number two to number one. That is our reason for being.

[ Interview ] Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison: There are an enormous number of people in the world who really want standard answers. They want everyone to wear their hair the same way, everyone to conduct business the same way, everyone to dress the same way, everyone to go to the same church. And if you wander out of these norms, people are highly critical, because this is threatening to them. They're living their life one way, and they believe that's the proper way to live their life. If you live your life a different way, and you answer questions differently, that makes them feel very uncomfortable. They say, "Well this person's different from what I am." Then they seem to go a little further, and they say, "This person's different and wrong, and I'm different and right." So people have been very, very critical, and people will be critical of you if you do things a little bit differently. It takes a certain amount of strength not to succumb to fashion.

[ Interview ] Larry Ellison

Grades 7-9

The Entrepreneurial Spirit
The video segments feature Martha Stewart, Frederick W. Smith and Lawrence J. Ellison, three classic examples of the entrepreneurial spirit. Each had a dream that they were not afraid to pursue, even when others laughed at them. Chose an entrepreneur and read their interview in the Gallery of Business. How do they differ from other business people? Use the Research Links to find out about other entrepreneurs in history, such as Madam C.J. Walker, who started her own line of hair care products in 1906 and was one of the first women in the United States to become a self-made millionaire. Compare and contrast three entrepreneurs, including one featured in the video segments. What was the event in their backgrounds that motivated them to make certain career choices? In her interview, for example, Martha Stewart says that she has always been "on the lookout for those good, simple solutions to everyday problems." If you were an entrepreneur, what sort of commodity or service would you provide? How would you market it? Make a business plan. Create a business card, website design, online banner ad and a PowerPoint presentation with which to attract prospective shareholders.

Hermes Radio Play
In addition to being the messenger of the gods, Hermes is also known as the Greek god of commerce and the market. His distinguishing characteristics are creativity, ingenuity, cunning and knowledge. Some might even say he was the first entrepreneur, having launched his career as a cattle rustler when he was one day old and coming up with the idea for the alphabet, the lyre, astronomy, boxing, measures, weights, the cultivation of the olive tree and gymnastics, among other things. Use the Resource Links to find out more about Hermes. Then, write a script for a three minute radio play in which Hermes appears as a modern day entrepreneur. Make sure to include some sort of conflict and resolution in your play, and since this is a radio drama, you will need to create sound effects. Direct fellow classmates as they read your script to get the dramatic effects you want. Finally, record your play and broadcast it for the class.

Grades 9-12

Starting A Business
What defines an entrepreneur? Martha Stewart, Frederick W. Smith and Lawrence J. Ellison, who are featured in the video segments, offer three classic examples of the entrepreneurial spirit. View the video segments. Next, read the entire interview of your favorite entrepreneur in the Gallery of Business. Come up with a comprehensive business plan for your own entrepreneurial venture. Imagine you have a fixed some of $25,000 to start with. Use the Resource Links to find out about how to start your own business, investigating the legal documents and tax responsibilities that a first time business owner needs to be aware of. How much will you need to spend to set up office space and/or purchase raw materials? What market are you targeting? How may current trends in the global market place affect your venture? Develop a management plan, a marketing plan and a detailed budget proposal for your business. Present your comprehensive business plan to the class as if they were your potential shareholders.

Entrepreneurs Past and Present
Chose one of the entrepreneurs featured in the video segments and read his or her entire interview in the Gallery of Business. Then, using the Research Links, find three more entrepreneurs, such as Madam C.J. Walker, who started her own line of hair care products in 1906 and was one of the first women in the United States to become a self-made millionaire. Compare and contrast your four entrepreneurs, charting their differences and similarities, as well as the events that lead them to make certain career choices. In her interview, for example, Martha Stewart says that she has always been "on the lookout for those good, simple solutions to everyday problems." Design business cards for your four entrepreneurs. Include name, type of business and a catchy motto and graphic that expresses what each business is about. Finally, chose your favorite historical entrepreneur and create a website design for him or her. How do you think this entrepreneur's products or services would be received in today's economy? Think of ways to update the business to make it more viable today and include these ideas in your website design.

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