What's the great thing you are meant to do in life?
I started this company with one single purpose: to do many little things that would allow others to do the GREAT things they are meant to do.
I want you to meet David, an 8 year old in rural America. Thanks to money raised from OO.com, he's now able to continue learning despite budget cuts removing all technology in his public school classroom.
Join me in thanking Steve, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. By simply shopping here as he normally does, he was able to help David.
There are hundreds of thousands of other children like David we've helped, read more: Funded Classroom Projects
There are hundreds of thousands of other people like Steve, sharing with their friends the good they're doing: Donors List
OO.com was built to give every child an opportunity...to do the great things they're meant to do. Helping a child get educated is the greatest gift, the greatest opportunity we can GIVE them. Simply choose a category, shop as you do normally. GIVE more to others when you GET more for yourself.
WHY I STARTED - NextJump Origins
I started Next Jump, the company behind OO.com, back in my college dorm room in 1994. I went through school on financial aid, and building a company wasn't to go from rags to riches, but instead it was to maintain a long distance relationship with my high school sweetheart. We grew through the first dot-com bubble to 150 employees. And more importantly, survived the dot-com bust shrinking down to 4 employees in January 2002. We became profitable that same year, continued investing aggressively when no one else was, in particular building one of the strongest engineering teams on the East Coast. Today we are the top destination for engineers from the top 5 engineering schools on the East Coast. With hundreds of Next Jumpers (majority engineers) we have made significant investments to build the very best technology. We service over 70% of the Fortune 1000 companies, putting us in a position to aggregate the buying power of millions of people in the U.S. to bring the absolute best in pricing, selection, added services, experiences and value-added benefits to you via OO.com.
WHY WE EXIST TODAY - Our Beliefs
Two questions I am asked a lot are:
(1) Why are you so focused on culture and the people of your Company?
(2) What drives you/ Where does your passion come from?
(1) Our Culture & People
We believe our Company is a vehicle to do good. We believe in using the power of business to dramatically impact the world in a positive way. A company is a collection of people, who want to be here for each other and for a common cause. As our Company has become more successful, our army of do-gooders continues to grow, and our ability to do good has grown with it. As the Avengers say: Alone we can do good, Together we can do great.
Every company talks about their people as their most important asset. At its core, how engaged you are in your job and how much energy you give to a company - it's all voluntary. We believe taking care of your people is taking care of business.
This is WHY we obsess about our people. We live the example.
(2) Our beliefs, our drive, our passion...our WHY
The reason why we exist is to help people fill the little gaps that hold them back, so that they can truly succeed. To put it simply, our strengths (little gaps) can be used to help others in need (big gaps), which in turn will help them truly succeed.
Why we exist as a company is inspired in large part by the many struggles my Dad faced. My Dad is the most famous corn scientist in the world - referred to in the Encyclopedia Britannica as the Father of Corn. We spent 17 years growing up in West Africa, Nigeria, where my Dad's life mission has to been to end world hunger. He's been recruited endlessly by renewable energy companies as corn is used to produce ethanol, however his belief has always been: "the rich need electricity, the poor need to eat" and never deviated from his life mission.
He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize 3x. He always believed the Nobel prize would be a mega-phone to spread his cause. Growing up, people would always tell me your Dad is the most famous person I know, yet he always felt he hadn't truly succeeded - he never won the Nobel prize. And he also knew exactly why - his presentation skills. South Korean by descendent, he was never a strong presenter (written or verbal) - handicapped by a stutter, speaking too fast and grammatical mistakes... all held him back. I was a carbon copy of my dad - having a stutter, speaking too fast, fear of public speaking and a poor writer.
However, growing up, being the oldest of 3 children, I would spend late nights correcting hundreds of pages of scientific papers on simple grammatical errors. At age 14, Christmas eve, I was at his office until 5am correcting papers. There was a one page article sitting on his desk talking of how Dr. Kim was one of the greatest scientists the world had ever seen. But by the end of it, it said that he would never succeed because he doesn't know how to present his work. It was hard to read as a 14 year old. Many people had offered to write his Nobel Peace prize applications, however, wanted half the credit for his 30 years of research - his principles were too high and never said "yes".
10 years goes by and after starting my Company in college, I end up pitching to over 1,000 individual investors and raising over $15 million at age 24. Out of necessity, I somehow learned to present. As I signed the closing documents for fund raising, I had a moment of realization that God had put me on this planet having the skills to close my father's BIG GAP in presentation. It had become a LITTLE GAP for me. I attempted to leave the Company I had founded in order to help my Dad by twice putting a CEO in place. It never worked out and before I knew it, we hit the dotcom bust and shrunk down to 4 people.
Next thing I knew, 10 years went by and as I turned 34, my Dad got terribly sick. He had a stroke, got diabetes, his health and levels of energy deteriorated. In this same window, I met a billionaire who said he only bought art from living artists. He believed in putting fuel behind those who can do more with it. The conversation made my heart heavy thinking that a Nobel prize may now be a trophy on a mantle. My Dad is still alive today, working as hard as he ever has.
However, this made me think about the number of people that exist in this world, doing things far greater than most of us ever will. Yet how they are unable to succeed because they need help raising money, getting introductions, or can't present. These BIG GAPS hold them back from truly succeeding. Yet as our Company gets stronger and stronger, many of these are LITTLE GAPS that we can help fill. We live this example... any employee in our Company could give you countless examples (#1 Christmas gift for each child of every cleaning/building/mail person in all our offices, LoveDay, SA500, etc).
When I look at the amazing talent in our Company, every employee was given a gift of great education. In every success story, education is at the foundation of creating opportunities to succeed. Many of us take this for granted, however for many children, simply having the bad luck of being born in the wrong city, the wrong country has made education a BIG GAP in their lives. For us fortunate ones to come together, to help fill the little gaps that hold people back, so that they can truly succeed and provide education to children in need - this is what OO.com stands for. ONE = ONE, with a goal to educate every child in the world. We know this is an audacious goal. We know we can't do this alone. We started by building the very best technology to make GIVING BACK easy. We plan to share this technology (open source) so every commerce site could also join this cause. In return, we believe GIVING is the new form of MARKETING. Align your business metrics to supporting a good cause and customers will reward you. Please join us in this great cause and help us spread the word.
What little we can do is so significant in helping others do the great things they are meant to do. Thank you for joining us in this noble pursuit.
Founder & CEO