My name is Morgan Aldous, a twentysomething currently living in my hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah.
As a teenager in high school, I had a hard time fitting the mold that was placed on me. I was supposed to be a star student because I could eloquently defend a position in class discussion, and did a good job on projects and the occasional essay if the prompt piqued my interest- but I was graded mostly on boring homework I didn’t do, instead.
After narrowly graduating high school, I spent a few years traveling around the Pacific Northwest, living with kind families for a few months at a time. This experience was incredibly valuable, mostly because of the people I met and worked with. One of these- Mr. H- gave me a complete paradigm shift. This guy was very simple based on appearances. He had a modest home in a small town on the Columbia River where he tended his chickens and helped his son build a home on a nearby lot. What you couldn’t tell just by looking at him, though, was that Mr. H was an incredibly successful entrepreneur, his project at the time was building up a pet cremation business of all things. One day, while visiting his crematorium, I got up the courage to ask him how much this project had made. “Seven thousand dollars,” came his reply.
“Only seven thousand dollars this year? Well, it is a relatively new business. I’m sure it will pick up.”
“No, no. Seven thousand dollars last week.”
I was floored. That was a lot more money than I expected for such a humble, quirky man. He told me that when he first started, he would drive to every veterinary clinic he could find, walk in, and make his pitch. Most of them he had to try several times before he scored a contract- most vets were already happy with their current service. He learned to differentiate himself and explain how his service was a better value.
Creating and selling value- that was the real business Mr. H was in, I came to learn. He was an expert at it. The theory and practice of ‘roasting puppy dogs’ as he put it in his trademark morbid humor, came second. To illustrate this point, he took me into his garage and had me pick up a heavy crate. “That’s about 70 pounds of copper scrap I bought at a garage sale for 10 bucks. That’s what it was worth to the guy that sold it, but I know it’s worth about 4 dollars a pound to some scrap metal guys in Portland. Not a bad profit, I’d say.”
“Mr. H, can I work for you?”
“You don’t want to work for me. Work for yourself by creating value for others.”
And that was a breakthrough moment for me. Soon after, I moved on to another city. After traveling for several more months, I returned to Utah and enrolled in college as an economics major. I was bound and determined to learn how value is created. I also somehow developed a competing vision of going to law school and becoming an attorney.
My college career was great. I made the Dean’s List every semester, had a successful debate career, was selected as one of two student leaders for the Honors Program, and on and on. In fall semester of my junior year, though, I realized that I definitely didn’t want to practice law, and had learned very little about value creation. After wrestling with this for a while, I decided not to return for spring semester.
I took a sales job for a few months before finally applying to the Praxis program, a nine month entrepreneurship intensive that will give me real-world value creation knowledge and experience through a rigorous curriculum and apprenticeship with successful entrepreneurs. This site will be a place for me to share my projects related to the program, how I am adding value to the company I will be placed in, and my career after completing the program.
Thanks for joining me on this exciting journey!