In our world the most important quality to have, and the strongest most powerful emotion to have, is kindness.
Chairman of the board and CEO of Braidy Industries Inc., Craig Bouchard, seems to have the Midas touch with every business enterprise he has ever encountered. Now, his goal is to change the economic face of Ashland Kentucky.
In 1975, Craig received a Bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University, where he continued his studies, receiving a Master’s degree in Economics in 1977 and an Honorary Doctorate of Science. He continued his education at the University of Chicago, receiving an MBA in 1980.
Upon the completion of his academic career, Craig started his career on Wall Street performing derivative trading. He went on to build three multi-million-dollar companies: Real Industry, Inc., Shale-Inland, and Esmark Inc. Esmark was the highest appreciating stock on the NASDAQ during the entire year of 2008.
Now, Craig is focusing his efforts on the opening of Braidy Industries, an aluminum manufacturing facility currently being built in Ashland Kentucky. This facility will have state-of-the-art technology, housing the most sophisticated robotics and artificial intelligence ever build into the manufacturing industry. It will produce the strongest known aluminum alloy in the world, manufactured at the lowest cost of production ever possible. Additionally, Braidy Industries will create billions of dollars in shareholder value and provide 1,500 jobs.
Not only has Craig found success through his various entrepreneurial ventures, he has also found success as a writer, earning a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. In 2013 he released “The Caterpillar Way”, a book that provides lessons in leadership, growth and shareholder value. In 2014 Craig released a children’s book titled “The Adventures of Ai”, which was translated into Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic, as well as transformed into a video game. Profit made from this book was donated to 18 charities for children around the world.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea for Braidy Industries came to me three years ago when I realized the demand for aluminum in the automotive industry was growing. I knew that with new technology we could make something great, to serve the needs of various industries.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I get very little sleep, waking up extremely early to fit in all my tasks. Typically I respond to about 300 emails a day, and have about 30 phone calls a day. I speak with customers, managers, investors, and employees daily. As the CEO, I set the strategy for the company. I motivate them. I pay them incredibly well so that they can all become wealthy. Then we go out and kill every competitor. That is my job!
How do you bring ideas to life?
You act immediately. You cannot lose momentum. You hire great people and give them very specific jobs to do. Then, you pay them well and give them plenty of incentives so that they continue to do well. Building loyalty is important.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The world has become very divisive in politics, in business, and in social media. There is a trend of people being sick of that. There is a brightness in the world to become less divisive. People are choosing to be wiser, calmer, and to make progress. I am really excited about that. Everything else can be extremely distracting when you are trying to make a great product and grow a business.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am very straightforward and don’t beat around the bush. This makes everything a lot easier. I don’t waste time sweating the small stuff.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Try to remain young and don’t get old.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
In our world the most important quality to have, and the strongest most powerful emotion to have, is kindness. So, if you want to be the most powerful person you have to be kind. If you walk around the streets you may not see people behaving that way. But you have to rise above it. I know most people will not agree with me on that, but I know it to be true.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
It is very important for entrepreneurs and large companies to know how to allocate capital. It is the most important performance metric. I would say in a large corporation with 500 people managing those metrics at least 450 do not know what they are doing. They do not allocate capital properly. I allocate capital extremely well. We don’t make any purchases without 20% per annual cash ROI. When we allocate capital well, our investors will do well. One of my companies has a public stock and it was the highest appreciating stock in the United States on all exchanges. These kinds of things turn into real money and real returns for sure.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The strategy is to have a very clear vision of what you want to accomplish and go to an absolutely straight line to the finish. People get distracted by many things. Distractions can come from something very human or hiring the wrong people or taking on the wrong customers. The strategy is very simple. Have a clear vision and go straight there.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Never let the fear of failing stop you from pursuing an idea or venture that you strongly believe in. If you don’t believe in it, perfect the idea or move on. Past failures don’t matter. It’s about what you are doing and what you are going to do.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There is a change in the world of material science. Over the past 40 years, the specific strength (relative to the weight) has improved across the alloy spectrum by approximately 40%. If you take the strength of an alloyed it has increased in strength of about 1% per year. In the material science, changes to the strength of the alloy is about to increase by about 500% over the next 12 months. That is just as important as the internet revolution or the genetics and science revolution. Everything in every industry revolves around this change. If you want to be a winner understand that this trend that is evolving right now is when you get in the middle of the cash flow. In essence, that is what we are trying to do. You can call it a “light-weighting” industrial revolution.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Recently took my daughter to visit several countries in Asia. I bought her several learning tools so that she would be familiar with each country. It was a great experience that we will both cherish forever.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The software is less important to us right now. However, we are building our own software. Within two years from now, we are going to have the most robust leading-edge software to manage artificial intelligence. The software will also incorporate blockchain metrics. We are going to have the most sophisticated robotics and artificial intelligence ever build into manufacturing. We will be the leading edge for the internet of other
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The autobiography of Sadaharu Oh is incredibly inspiring. It’s about a person who went from average to great as a baseball player.
What is your favorite quote?
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
- There is a brightness in the world to become less divisive. People are choosing to be wiser, calmer, and to make progress.
- In our world the most important quality to have, and the strongest most powerful emotion to have, is Kindness.
- Never let the fear of failing stop you from pursuing an idea or venture that you strongly believe in.
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