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Fail Log

Check back often for stories and perspectives from Fail Safe speakers and organizers.

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Fail Log #2 - Paul Shoemaker's Journey to the Top

Updated: Aug 13, 2018

Leading up to Fail Safe, we're asking speakers and panelists to spill the beans about their lives, work, and experiences with failure. Read on and learn a little bit about who you'll be connecting with this October.


First up, we have Paul Shoemaker, a renowned innovator and public speaker who's brushed against failures of all shapes and sizes in a career that has taken him from his home state of Iowa onward to cities around the United States and now around the world.


When you hear the word "failure", what's the first thing that pops into your head?

  1. I want to know what you learned. If nothing, then #2 doesn't apply.

  2. You are one step closer to success or resolution


Tell us a little bit about yourself.


I'm a very simple guy. I'm from Iowa: a great place to grow up, but there's not a lot to keep you there. I got married when I was 21 — too early, but I picked the right girl. We are still going strong.


I have an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook 'em and Torchys Tacos!). I moved to Los Angeles for five years and became a product manager at Nestle. I loved LA in my 20s. "The Anything City". I moved to Boston for a year for a failed startup with a 3-month-old baby in tow. You do learn a lot from your failures, but it sucks when you're in the middle of them.


I then moved to Seattle and spent seven years at Microsoft. I made more money than I deserved and a LOT less than people think I made. I left there in 1998 to run Social Venture Partners — the best professional journey of my life. We're in 44 cities and 9 countries today.


I'm father to three sons and husband to one awesome life partner. Today at Paul Shoemaker, Inc. we don't have enough time to ever quit working our asses off. The world needs every one of us.


What's your go-to pick-up song?


What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?


Follow the money.


What's the best advice you've given to somebody else?


It's all about people. Give me five great people and $5 over one thousand average people and $1 billion every day of the week.


To learn more about paul, head over to his website at www.paulshoemaker.org or give him a follow on Twitter at @paulshoeSVP.


Connect with Paul and hear more about his story this October at Fail Safe. Register now.