Michael Simmons is an award-winning social entrepreneur, bestselling author, and contributor to publications like Forbes, Fortune, Inc., Entrepreneur, Time, Business Insider, and HBR.
Michael’s company, Empact, helps build the entrepreneurship ecosystem globally. Empact has held over 600 events at colleges, high schools, workforce development organizations, corporations, and Small Business Development centers in 7 countries. One of Empact’s signature programs is the Empact Showcase, the largest showcase of companies run by the country’s top young entrepreneurs with recognition events at the White House and United Nations. The Empact Summit brings together over 300+ invite-only college presidents & deans; senior government administration; elected representatives such as governors, congressmen, and senators; icon entrepreneurs such as the founders of AOL, Chobani, and USA Network; along with the country’s top entrepreneurship foundations and entrepreneurship support organizations. Michael has been recognized by President Obama for his work as a young leader in America.
Michael co-founded his first business, Princeton WebSolutions (PWS), when he was sixteen years old. PWS was later rated the #1 youth-run web development company in the nation by Youngbiz Magazine. In addition, Michael has been the winner of three entrepreneur of the year and was personally recognized for his entrepreneurial accomplishments by President Barack Obama. He and his company have been featured in five books and on the AOL Home Page, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, ABC, NBC, and CBS. Finally, in 2006, Michael was named by Business Week as one of the Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25 by Inc. as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30.
In middle & high school, I used to set aside time every night to think about the world and life. I had never heard of meditation. No one told me to think, but for some reason, it fulfilled me, and I haven’t stopped pondering ever since.
I think I may have seen every science fiction movie worth watching. I’ve spent hundreds of frustrated, unsuccessful hours of my life simply searching for a good sci-fi flick that I hadn’t seen yet or didn’t remember seeing. I love the wonder and possibilities of these movies and books.
I love learning. I like connecting to people and understanding them. I can ask questions to anyone for hours out of pure intrigue. Some think that I’m interrogating them. In reality, I just find them fascinating. I’ve read hundreds (perhaps thousands) of books. I lost track a long time ago. Barnes & Noble loves me except when they have to clean up after I’ve explored 10+ books and chosen the few that I’m going to purchase. One of my favorite experiences in life is to be exposed to a new body of work that completely recontextualizes how I see the world.
I’ve been humbled many different times in different ways, and I’m not afraid to share my failures and mishaps. It takes a lot of pointless energy to put on a front and only release the positive things about one’s life. Furthermore, it’s not even the best way to build connection or trust. So, I don’t mind sharing. It keeps me more honest anyway.
Wonder, introspection, curiosity, and humility give me a unique and deep perspective on life. More than anything, these traits have allowed me to be a world-class connector of ideas and people. I make introductions daily, and I love bringing people together in a spirit of mutual support. As a result, I’ve helped build a network of some of the most inspirational, purposeful people in the worlds of entrepreneurship, business, academia, non-profits, government, and philanthropy.
I believe I see patterns in life years and decades before many others do, and I know this perspective can save a lot of years and pain on the journey of purposeful people.
I am not for everyone. People who don’t want to go a level deeper in life generally humor me, but don’t get me, and they probably stopped reading this bio a few hundred words ago.
I’m a big believer in leading a blended life. That means my line between personal and business disappeared a long time ago. My wife and I are business partners. Our business is a platform to create wealth, grow as an individual, and make a large, lasting, positive difference in the world. We have two young children, and we work out of home so we get to spend lots of time with them. It’s not always easy to live this way, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
That’s me in a nutshell.
Connect with me on Google+ at +Michael Simmons