Parker Powers, Dallas Top 100 CEO, multiple time startup founder & RealCo Seed Fund Program Mentor, is a true mentor. Parker shares his invaluable guidance and support with budding entrepreneurs and seasoned startup veterans, whenever possible.
I recently had the amazing opportunity to expand my network to include Parker. Unlike any other connection I have made, Parker quickly took me under his wing, via LinkedIn messaging at that, and my life is clearly changed for the better as a result. Below is just a glimpse of the outstanding person that is Parker Powers.
What was your greatest life accomplishment? What did you learn in the process of achieving it?
You asked in the past tense, I believe my greatest professional accomplishment is always ahead of me. This is what continues to drive me, knowing that I can be a better version of myself tomorrow and create something impactful that I am very proud…. that’s what keeps me pushing forward.
This is probably not the typical response, but for someone like myself who was the sole parent to a child for almost a decade, this is my truth. My marriage has been my greatest accomplishment and responsible for most of the biggest professional successes I’ve had in my life. It is definitely responsible for the global impact Bernadette Powers and I have been able to make as a team.
Whether that’s employing people in multiple countries within our companies in the past, or more importantly, (using what Sir Richard Branson has personally taught us about using business as a force for good), in buying the freedom of underage females slaves throughout the world to starting a non-profit to combat human trafficking, an attitude shared by MergeVR CEO Andrew Trickett.
I don’t mean the act of marriage being the accomplishment, but the person I chose – we make an unstoppable team. Neither of us had much success in life until we worked together and in almost no time everything changed.
A work/life balance can be very difficult, especially for very driven entrepreneurial-minded people, and having a significant other that is like-minded, and believes in you allows you to create exponential impact. Having a spouse that supports you doing crazy things like sleeping behind prison walls guarded by a teenager with an AK-47 in Africa because what it does for others is empowering.
What was your biggest failure? How do you cope with failure or setbacks?
When I was in my younger 20’s I owned HummerH2.com and struck a deal with the official accessories manufacturer for Hummer to become the online exclusive dealer of Hummer accessories moving forward. General Motors had just purchased AM General who manufactured Hummer and was about to go from selling 700 vehicles a year to 40,700 vehicles a year.
Two months before I officially launched, the three owners of the accessory manufacturer sold out for a fortune to General Motors. My biggest failure was not having a mentor, strategic coach or smarter people around me to see me succeed. I should have immediately taken that signed exclusive contract and sold at least part of it to a company… that contract I had was worth millions.
When they were bought out, my deal died with them… for a while, it seemed like so did a piece of me. Later on, I did sell the domain for a 28,600% return – but it was not the millions I had planned on making after all the work I had put in.
How do I cope with failure and setbacks? I honestly always believe that there is going to be a happy ending to my story no matter what, and the same goes for you. Matt Reedy, USAA Innovation Director, couldn’t agree more.
What keeps you up at night?
Hopelessness. I hate hopelessness, and the idea that there are 30M slaves in the world today, more today than ever in history. Many of them are young girls padlocked in brothels in India, Uganda, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, etc. This is what lead us to create a non-profit to combat the evils of slavery that still remain in society.
What is the advice you would give the Pre-Career version of yourself?
Done is better than perfect, execute on your idea. Perfection is a myth, only a temporary current state of what you think something should be. It is unobtainable, plain and simple. Just do it, and improve on it every day and you will be light years ahead of most everyone else that has the “shiny object syndrome”. Exercise every morning, meditate, your mental and physical well-being is tied to your happiness and wealth and if you are looking for a career in, for example, Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering, just go ahead and follow your dreams.
What advice do you have to give the next generation of business leaders?
If you always try to be the least intelligent person in the room (by surrounding yourself with smarter people), in a short time you will find you will probably be the most intelligent person in the room. Read and write every single day – seek out to learn from those with more experience, wisdom, and knowledge in all areas of life, including business whether in person or through reading. Realize that you think differently than most people, therefore surround yourself with like-minded people, join meetups, mastermind, entrepreneur groups or the depression will become real. For this reason is why we have created invitation-only entrepreneur groups, meet-ups, and mastermind. In all I do, I know we use many plastics and plastic engineered products so I want to learn a lot about Plastic Engineering Education in general as well.
Books/podcasts/other education sources you recommend:
“Screw Business As Usual” – by Sir Richard Branson. He gave me this book the first time I was invited to stay at his home on Necker Island, it’s a great read.
“#BreakInto VC” – by Bradley Miles. As an entrepreneur, you may not ever choose to leverage debt to launch or grow a company. But you’re going to be surrounded by venture capitalists, learn their language and ecosystem, life will be easier and make more sense.
“Trust Me, I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator” – by Ryan Holiday. I’ve had the opportunity to have Ryan consult me on matters related to publishing, and media manipulation. He knows his stuff and is a sharp guy. By the way, YouTube “Trust Me I’m Lying Book Trailer” and you will see what I mean… most compelling promo for a book ever.