Jim Estill gives entrepreneurs their inspiration for 2016

techtoronto

“I’m CEO at Danby, which actually isn’t even a tech company. We sell wine coolers and bar fridges, and my goal is to inspire you long-term.”

Jim Estill’s introduction at the most recent TechToronto was an interesting one for a crowd accustomed to looking for inspiration from tech darlings like Shopify and Hootsuite. But once he shared his impressive experience — he is the author of marketing book 0 to $2 billion, based on his experience growing a company to do just that — Estill showed why he could roll with the best of them. After his company found success, Estill pursued angel investing, and was also a founding director of RIM. Throughout his career he’s invested in 150 companies — of those, 25 were sold.

“I’m not good at focusing. I’m good at failure. Fail often, fail fast, and fail cheap.”
– Jim Estill

Estill said that his key to success isn’t a “secret sauce.” Instead, Estill offered that it’s the little things that count. “I’m not good at focusing. I’m good at failure. Fail often, fail fast, and fail cheap,” he said. “That has made me highly successful. The key is to fail cheap.” Noting that entrepreneurs aren’t good at managing downside risk that leads to failure, Estill argued that they need to think more about what happens when a business plan isn’t going to work.

Estill also reiterated that giving back is important, a motto he lives by, sponsoring 50 Syrian families.

“It’s the right thing to do and someone has to lead, and the government wasn’t doing it and they weren’t doing it fast enough. It’s not as tough as everyone thinks,” Estill said. “I set it up like a business where I am the director of housing.”

To end off his talk, Estill said that money wasn’t necessarily a deterrent in his sponsoring of Syrian refugees, and that once an entrepreneur is successful, it’s most important to do two things: invest in as many tech startups as he has, and give back wherever it’s needed. “Don’t be afraid to give back even if there’s a bit of controversy.”

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor. Follow her on Twitter @jessicagalangg or send her pitches to jessica.galang@betakit.com.