At 19, Adam Guild may downplay his achievements but he is having an undeniable impact on some of the top restaurants across the country.
It has not always been easy for him, nor is he some sort of a child prodigy. He has overcome countless struggles and persevered through painful challenges, such as depression, near-obesity and loneliness throughout his life.
And, succeed he has. He has already built and sold two tech companies with more than 10,000,000 users and writes for publications such as Forbesand our very own Modern Restaurant Management.
This is his story of success through perseverance, pain and grit.
Loneliness Became the Mother of Invention
When Adam was in sixth grade, there were days when pain was a constant. He was lonely and with few friends. “I was lost. Without purpose,” he says.
He went through his days, longing for a way to connect with his fellow students. He realized he was different, but to a middle schooler, being different is not always prized – it is often source of pain. As a result, Adam just wanted to fit in. He viewed being different as being ‘less than’ the other students.
“I had very few real friends and it was difficult for me to naturally connect with people,” he says.
At the same time, he noticed his classmates were eager to visit a hot new website called Facebook. There was just one problem, though. None of them were allowed to join Facebook, which enforces a minimum age of 13 years old. And their parents wouldn’t let them on either.
So, Guild saw an opportunity to connect with his peers. He scrambled to find open source services so that he could develop a Facebook-like platform. He quickly learned and created what he called Centipedes Connect, complete with the basic profile and messaging services of Facebook; however, he built it specifically as a (safer) platform for his sixth-grade class.
He shared it with his classmates, and within 24 hours of the platform’s launch, most of his 60 classmates were on it. “I saw building Centipedes Connect as a way to connect with my peers and escape feeling alone,” he says.
Unfortunately, Centipedes Connect and Adam’s sense of connection was short-lived. Within a few weeks, the vice principal called him and his mother into the principal’s office.
“It ended because my elementary school’s vice principal, forced me to shut it down because it was a security issue to have our entire class connected on an open social network online. [It was either that] or face expulsion,” Adam says.
The incident was devastating to Adam, but it taught him a valuable lesson: Launching Centipedes Connect showed him that his self-worth was not in the hands of others. “It started to put the power of how I felt about myself back into my hands,” he says. "Once you realize you can shape your outlook and how you feel about yourself, you immediately unlock the power to live a life on your terms.”
Rejection Became A Blessing in Disguise
While Adam recognized that he could alter how he felt about himself, life continued to present challenges for him to overcome. For one, his parents divorced, and it was brutal. He became depressed, had no friends, and was relentlessly bullied. He began stress-eating, gained weight and neared obesity. That began a cycle of negative feelings that only compounded. Due to his hopelessness, he could not focus on school work and his grades suffered. That meant that he was unable to gain acceptance into the prestigious Los Angeles school that he wanted to attend. That only made him feel worse.
Once you realize you can shape your outlook and how you feel about yourself, you immediately unlock the power to live a life on your terms.
“I had been conditioned to believe that getting in there was absolutely vital to living a successful life – that getting in there was an indicator of intelligence and that not being able to [get in] started the cycle of a life of failure,” Adam says. “And I had just failed at that.”
In retrospect, Adam realizes that not being accepted into the school was a blessing in disguise, because he believes it would have taught him to be a conformist. And, he has illustrated that he is anything but that. Yet, at the time, he believed he was destined to live a failed life.
Dejected, Adam again poured himself into his projects. They were an escape from the feelings of sadness and helplessness. Pristine Technologies, a holding company for his consumer technology, cryptocurrency and gaming projects, was created. One of those projects helped facilitate and create multiplayer experiences for Minecraft. It ultimately devolved into a commercialization agreement with Microsoft, eventually reaching millions of users, and was acquired.
“It was launched at the darkest time in my life and working on it was my solace in a world which was otherwise filled with pain,” Adam says. “Its role, both as a source of pleasure and as an escape of pain, built serious obsession and was probably why it succeeded.”
At the time, it was one of the only things going right in his life. And that built an obsession within him. He built the company into a team of over 50 people and reached more than 10,000,000 users when it was at its peak. However, he says not many people outside of his online life knew much about what he been was doing with his time.
“So initially almost everyone was skeptical of me because, to them, I looked like a friendless loser who spent way too much time on my computer. But they were finally kind of impressed when they realized I was earning a six-figure income at 15 years old, which they figured out by noticing the constant stream of payment notifications on my phone,” he says. “At that point, I cared a bit less about what they thought of me.”
Grit and Perseverance Are the Ultimate Gifts
With Adam’s growing self-confidence, and his success with Pristine Technologies, he began to let go of some of the negativity that had filled his mind. He realized that he was more in control of his life than he had realized, and slowly, his depression was dissipating. He began to make changes in his life, working to overcome the sadness and lose the extra weight.
Still, there were tensions in life that weighed on him, but he was focused upon working to overcome them. He absorbed himself into his next project: Helping his mother attract customers to her Los Angeles dog grooming store. “My mother took the brave initiative of pursuing her lifelong dream of opening up her own business,” he says. “She invested a year of her time and her life savings in creating an amazing customer experience and business model. Despite her hard work, though, it was really difficult for her to get new customers initially.”
So, she went to Adam, desperate for help. “She knew that I was achieving great marketing results on my various consumer technology projects, and she asked me to help her.”
Adam’s work in the gaming and technology worlds had spoken for itself – and her request was acknowledgement of that success. He agreed to help her attract new customers online to her grooming salon. “Within three months, she reached her three-year annual revenue rate projections and – to this day – she is booked every day at full capacity with double the team that she initially planned to have.”
Placepull works by converting the thousands of people searching for restaurants in every city into new customers for their partners. It currently has more than 200 locations across the United States and has driven an additional $657,797 in estimated revenue for its restaurant partners.
It is through the experience of helping his mother that Adam was compelled to start his latest venture, Placepull, as a way to help bring restaurants more customers. “Once I understood the impact that I could have on her life as a business owner, I realized that there were thousands more I could help and I became thrilled at the idea [of doing so],” he says.
Just as Adam helped his mother, a small business owner, he is showing his desire to assist others whom he calls heroes of their communities – the restauranteurs who put their blood, sweat and tears into their businesses. And in the process, he and his team are helping restaurants succeed by using the marketing technology that worked to attract millions of users to his past projects.
They’ve built a technology which, at the time of this writing, drives an additional $657,797 in estimated revenue to the restaurants they’ve worked with. It works by converting the thousands of people searching for restaurants in every city into new customers for their partners. Speaking of their partners, Adam’s customers currently have over 200 locations across the United States
But, Adam downplays his success and is much more at ease talking about the challenges he has yet to face in life than he is discussing the past.
All of the adversity he has faced in his life has taught him grit, humility, and perseverance. It has also taught him empathy for others, and has helped him understand people on a much deeper level.
Adam’s come a long way from the sixth-grader struggling to fit in and find himself. Yes, his life has included sadness, loneliness and hopelessness, created and compounded by his parent’s brutal divorce and the resulting depression, near-obesity, and the bullying he endured. But, what he – and they — may not have realized was that all of that pain and rejection was only creating within him grit, perseverance, and desperation to improve – empowering him to succeed in spite of the pain. The millions of users he has attracted to his businesses and the great results his marketing efforts have brought countless restaurants speak for themselves.
And, to think, Adam is just getting started …
If you want to connect with Adam, feel free to add him on LinkedIn.