Walter was born on December 5, 1901 and grew up in Missouri like your typical American boy. He dropped out of school at age 16 to join the army, but was rejected because he was underage. He joined the Red Cross instead and was sent to France to drive an ambulance for a year. He returned in 1919 and did some work here and there before venturing out to open his own business. Within three years, he had overextended himself with debt and was forced to declare bankruptcy at the young age of 22. But that didn’t stop Walter.
He and his brother pooled their money, relocated to California together, and went back in business. They soon acquired contracts, selling their projects for $1,500 each. A few years later, however, Walter found out that the same buyer for those $1,500 projects stole the rights of the projects, along with all of his employees, except for 1. But that didn’t stop Walter.
The Great Depression followed, but surprisingly didn’t affect his business. In 1937, his business amassed $1.49 million. With business booming, he expanded in 1939. In 1941, his employees went on strike and many of them resigned. But that didn’t stop Walter.
He and his business struggled through until 1950 before it started really getting noticed again. In 1955, he expanded his enterprise and at his grand opening, had several mishaps. First, were the counterfeit tickets to get in, then a traffic jam and shortage of food, then a gas leak, then a chunk of a window crashed on the head of one of the invited distinguished guests. It must have been disastrous. Not quite – it was a huge success and generated income tenfold the cost. His business flourished and thrived until his death in 1965. But that didn’t stop Walter. His business still thrives today.
Walter Elias “Walt” Disney changed the world because of his fortitude, his belief of being an innovator, and the courage to pursue his dreams. What did he know about rice milling? Absolutely nothing! What can we learn from this great animator about the rice business? Innovation! Ask yourself “What would the world be like without the magic of Walt Disney?” Then ask yourself “What is the world missing without the magic of my identity preserved rice?” Walt Disney innovated the animation and theme park industry. How are you going to innovate the rice industry?
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney