Post is part of my collection: EntreFEST 2015

Life Lessons in Entrepreneurship

-- John Pappajohn.

John Pappajohn is known by many as the most successful Iowan entrepreneur of all time. I first knew about John Pappajohn when I was a freshman in college where I was a part of the JPEC center (the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center). John Pappajohn has donated millions upon millions of dollars into Iowa and its Universities to pump out great facilities, faculty, and content to teach and help entrepreneurs here in Iowa.

I met Mr Pappajohn in person my sophomore year of college while I was at the JPEC center. He took a tour very quickly of the facility and shook the hands of all of the students in their office incubator spaces. He simply wanted to say hello and see the happiness that myself and the others in the space had because of what he has provided to us.

Then, when I went to the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute the summer before my junior year of college, I met some of Mr Pappajohn's faculty including the President of his company.

What I am trying to get at here is that even though John Pappajohn is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in history, myself along with many others do not know all that much about him personally but we are all touched by him day to day. He wakes up each and every day, goes to work, comes home, spends time with his wife and family and then goes to bed. He does not blog or tweet or have a podcast. Also, he is experienced in the high end medical industry. All of these reasons come together to reasons why I feel we do not hear much about Mr Pappajohn but yet, whenever we get a chance to meet him or hear something he has to say we go crazy over it!

It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to hear from him at EntreFEST. I have never heard him talk more then 5 minutes and it is tough to get much time to listen to what he has to say. The chance to sit down and listen to him speak for an hour was unbelievable.


John spoke most of the time about growing up. His memories he has growing up in his neighborhood, early entrepreneur days, working at his dad's grocery store, and lessons he learned along the way. A great story to listen to from beginning to end.

A key takeaway that I grabbed from what he had to say was his stance on success. This is something you can read a lot about and hear other entrepreneurs say but it was extra special hearing it from Mr Pappajohn. He said, "Success is when you feel good about something. You've done the best you can. I don't really care what others think."

This meant a lot to me. Others have said something like this before but coming from someone like him with all the experiences he has had, it meant a lot. Also the fact where he mentioned that it is our responsibility to work together to help those in need.

I am one of thousands of people who have been supported by John Pappajohn through all the hard work he puts into making the community strong here in Iowa. I thank him very very much! Thank you for coming to spent a moment of your time with us at EntreFEST!