You Can Do It! Inspiration and Lessons from an Inventor, Entrepreneur, & Sailor

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During his teenage and high school years, at the height of The Great Depression , he also helped manage his family's properties; he secured the first business bank loan for the family enterprise, by himself. Dashew did not feel he had the mathematic and mechanical aptitude required for architecture or engineering. Instead, he steered himself toward law, by working part-time in his father's office.

However, he eventually became disenchanted with the law and thrust himself into pursuit of a writing career by moving to New York City, where he lived for a short time with his grandmother and paternal aunts. He accepted a position as a sales representative after exaggerating his age on the job application. In his initial career position with Addressograph -Multigraph, makers of business addressing machinery, the first task Dashew set himself to was to change his business cards to read "Special Representative" because he disliked the reputation of "Sales".

Although Dashew had a distaste for selling product, he excelled at designing systems that helped customers find solutions for their business challenges, which employed his company's products. Within two years, he had made it into the top sales bracket Hundred Club as a lifetime member—the only employee or agency manager, and youngest, to maintain the standing for ten consecutive years.

He never had the opportunity to transfer to the Advertising Department.

The Ultimate Freedom!

In , he took a promotion from Addressograph-Multigraph to move to Grand Rapids, Michigan where he established a successful business machines sales agency. Shortly after marrying Martha Grossman in March , Dashew took an interest in sailboat ownership and cruising. In , he and his wife, Martha, outfitted a foot schooner , Constellation, and set sail with his young family. They sailed from the Great Lakes , up the St.

Learning About Entrepreneurs Can Help Break Stereotypes

Rather than return to his old company as a field agency head or central office manager when he returned from sailing, Dashew formed his own business machines company in Los Angeles, California. He started by importing calculators and moved into data automation, hoping to eventually to compete with his former employer. Dashew Business Machines produced a variety of machines that embossed identification tags for the military and other industrial uses, including imprinters, which, when combined with the unique embossing machines, formed the foundation for today's credit card industry. Dashew's work with Bank of America led to the creation of the BankAmericard , the first plastic bank credit card system.

Diners Club and other bank and credit card programs quickly followed.

“The Best Thing I Ever Did”

He also was an avid sailor, writer and photographer who late in life wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and the Huffington Post. Anything is possible with the right attitude and a dose of hard work.

The Ultimate Freedom!

A multimillionaire, Dashew and his late wife, Rita, had traveled the world and supported efforts to strengthen international ties and promote peace. Born Sept. His mother taught English to immigrants and became a leader in programs and services for the elderly.

Lesson 1: At the beginning of every great invention is your desire to solve a problem.

At age 15, Dashew started a business bottling and selling root beer. While still in high school he was put in charge of a family summer resort, where he learned to operate and repair machines.

He entered the job market at the height of the Great Depression. By the age of 35, he had sold enough Addessograph label makers and other business machines to buy a foot, two-masted schooner, the Constellation, which carried him and his young family on a 15,mile journey from Lake Michigan down the East Coast, across the West Indies and through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles.

Newspaper accounts of the month-long journey reported how his young son, Stephen, received his schooling in the open air as his baby sister, Leslie, amused herself in a playpen lashed to the deck.


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In , at the end of the voyage, the Dashews decided to stay in Los Angeles, where he launched Dashew Business Machines. The company helped to automate the credit card industry, which at the time relied on paper charge cards that would tear, fray and become difficult to read.


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  • I refuse to barter incentive for dole. I prefer the challenge of life to the guaranteed existence, the thrill of fulfillment to the state calm of Utopia. As the book title suggests, Stanley became a very successful inventor and entrepreneur, but he had always been an avid sailor.

    Shortly after marrying at age 21, he convinced his wife they should save money for a boat rather than rugs and drapes. At age 16, Dashew lied about his age to score a job at the Addressograph Company at the height of the Depression. He rapidly became a business success, and in the book tells you how you can do it, too. Dashew wanted to get to California because living in the Golden State would allow him to sail year-round. The chapters on that cruise 60 years ago, with lots of photos, is alone worth the price of the book.

    Such a cruise was so unusual at the time that, when Constellation arrived in California, it made the front page of the Los Angeles Times. When Dashew arrived in California, he was all set to resume his corporate career by taking over the lucrative Los Angeles agency of Addressograph-Multigraph. But citing "mental health" reasons, he decided against it. He thought a career in the corporate would would have driven him crazy. So at age 34, he went into business for himself.