While other preteens were exchanging Pokemon cards, Emerson Spartz started MuggleNet.com at the mere age of 12 in 1999. He wasn't just a kid fooling around on the Internet — the website grew to be the go-to Harry Potter fansite, which at its peak drew in nine million monthly visitors. Now he's 23, and already a veteran in the field of new media with seven websites under his belt . . . and counting. Read all about his magical journey in this latest installment of my dream job series: In His or Her Shoes.
SavvySugar: How did this all start?
Emerson Spartz: My story starts back in 1999 about one month after I started homeschooling. I suddenly found myself with more free time than I knew what to do with. So I found one of those free webpage makers, and I started playing around with it. Then I decided to make a Harry Potter website because I just read the third book, and I was totally obsessed. So in the beginning, it was really just messing around with the different features of the webpage editor, but I very quickly decided that I wanted to build the biggest and best Harry Potter website on the Internet and I started putting in a lot of hours producing it. So that's where it started and I built MuggleNet over the years — the number one most visited Harry Potter website. At its peak it was doing about nine million unique monthly visitors, and it was one of the top one thousand websites on the Internet.
Failure doesn't have to crush you, it can even make you stronger. It's OK to fail as long as you learn from it, CEO of VMware Diane Greene said last night at a Women 2.0 event. It's a line that I've heard from many powerful women: don't be afraid of failure. In fact, the queen of fantasy, J.K. Rowling, said in a Harvard commencement speech two years ago that "rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." You're only selling yourself short if you play safe your whole life because you're too afraid of making a mistake.
It's refreshing to hear this, because we've all been taught that failure is a dirty word, and we're mostly driven by our fear of doing something wrong. In fact, even science agrees with this — research from MIT says that we learn more from succeeding rather than failing. However, I don't think that's true for every scenario, and I think it's ultimately up to us to reap the benefits and learn from our failures. Sugar readers seemed to agree with this, and 76 percent of them said on a TrèsSugar survey that they have learned more from their mistakes than their wins.
You don't have to be a CEO of a company or a billionaire author to make mistakes; it's something that everyone inevitably experiences in their life. It can be a time when you're stretched at work with too many meetings or are struggling to graduate from school. Or maybe you're feeling overwhelmed by a massive credit card debt. Just take a deep breath and take a page from these power women — pick yourself up and get going, and see these blunders as a learning experience.
Looks like there's a long way for us to climb. With the exception of single young ladies, our gender is "worth less" on Wall Street, a traditionally male-dominated industry. According to government data analyzed by Bloomberg, women in that industry earned 58.8 cents to every dollar men made in 2007. More dishearteningly, recent research showed that although 85 percent of PR workers are women, men make up 80 percent of the top management. Despite the fact that we're seeing more women graduate from universities than men, there are still major advances that need to be made. Too few women are in executive-level positions; only 13 CEOs among the Fortune 500 companies are female.
Some researchers attribute this gender gap to child-bearing factors — do you agree with that?
- Michael Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.: $71,795,744
- Eugene Isenberg, Nabors Industries Ltd.: $79,333,079
- Mark Papa, EOG Resources, Inc.: $90,471,784
- Bob Simpson, XTO Energy Inc.: $103,485,972
- Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake Energy Corp.: $114,286,867
See the rest of the list, including the absolutely ridiculous number one earner's compensation, when you read more
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki explained, "From time to time, White House guests are asked to reimburse for their meals in order to ensure there is no conflict or appearance of a conflict. That is consistent with our tough ethics rules, and we will continue the practice when appropriate."
Just like the many celebrities who started their careers in less-than-glamorous jobs, the CEOs of some of the largest corporations had to work their way up to rollin'-in-it status. It would be awesome to say your job is, oh, just running Yahoo or Microsoft, but you can't exactly step out of college and fill a CEO's shoes. How much do you know about CEOs' first jobs? Take the quiz!
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Big things are happening in big business. In one swoop, two history making events occurred and each of them is pretty remarkable. Anne Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox, has selected Ursula Burns as her successor and will officially transition on July 1. It's the first Fortune 500 woman-to-woman CEO hand-off, and Ursula's new role will make her the first African-American female CEO in the Fortune 500.
The two have been called "Xerox's Dynamic Duo" and worked together since 2001 when Mulcahy was appointed CEO, and the pair is credited with saving the company from bankruptcy. Burns will now take the reigns as chief, but Mulcahy will stay on as chairman. These two are role models as individuals and as a team — I hope more women will start supporting each other in the climb to the top, instead of bullying one another in the workplace.
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America's largest corporations make up the Fortune 500, and the overwhelming majority of these companies have male CEOs. But that doesn't mean you have to be a guy to be the big boss. Fifteen women have worked their way to the top of their game and earned the title of CEO. Do you know which Fortune 500 companies are run by women?
America's CEO: 5 Presidential Perks Over the past couple of weeks, President Obama has made a big stink over the extravagant salaries and perks enjoyed by corporate executives. Maybe it's time to take a look at some of the perks the US awards its CEO, besides letting him work from home.