Samuel F. Poirier is a young entrepreneur that was named a Thiel Fellow. Samuel founded his first company at the age of 14, importing minerals to Montreal. Later, at age 18, he went and created the first debit card for Bitcoin. He also created an analytics platform for VR companies called Retinad to see how users were interacting with their products. He has now moved onto a secret project that he has all of us keen about.
In this interview with Samuel Poirier, I dug deeper into what were the challenges that he faced growing up and what advice he has for other entrepreneurs looking to start their own ventures.
What experiences growing up shaped you into the entrepreneur that you are today?
I’ve actually given this a good amount of thought in the last few years. The long version of the answer is quite complicated but I think it can be brought down to a few key points. I think one of them is the fact that I was a very curious as a child, and that I had parents who really supported and nurtured that sense of wonder.
“Starting extremely young is one of the best investments I’ve made in my life.”
Failing 1-2 times when you’re super young can teach you incredible lessons and you will be well beyond your years if you’re able to learn from them and recover quickly. When I was 19, I was the co-founder of the world’s first debit card for Bitcoin. My company had merged with Mt.Gox, which was the largest Bitcoin company on the planet at the time. One day, in March 2014, we learnt that our new parent company got hacked and lost close to half a billion dollars in customer deposits.
In 24 hours we went from having an awesome business to being bankrupt and dragged in one of worst public tech showdowns of the decade, which was 0 fun. I think that event reduced my fear of starting new projects, as I thought I had seen the worst and was able to survive it.
Who were your biggest influences?
I have several, but for the last 10 years, my number one has been Elon Musk, because of SpaceX. I’m also a big fan of Robert Bigelow, John D. Rockefeller, Napoleon, Jeff Bezos, etc.
What are you working on?
Haha for now this shall remain a secret!
What’s your best tip for entrepreneurs?
It’s cliché, but being relentless and never never never giving up. Fight until your last breath.
Any particular software tools you like?
I think a lot of tools are overhyped. I do 85% of my work with my emails and excel. I must admit being a big fan of Zoominfo and SimilarWeb however.
How should an entrepreneur network?
I would recommend to anyone who’s ambitious to list all his/her idols, and try to contact all of them. Try to find some which are more accessible, buy them dinner, and learn from them. I send about 5-10 cold emails per week to people I admire or people I think can teach me something I want to learn. Most of them won’t answer, but that’s ok. Odds are that by doing this, in the long run, 5-10 people out of the hundreds you met will have changed your life completely.
Where do you see yourself later on?
I try not to reveal too much when asked these kinds of questions. My goal isn’t to be mysterious, it’s more that most people will think I’m insane. And there are so many unknowns that whatever I say will probably result in me being wrong with my predictions. All I will say is that I will do everything in my power to reach my objectives, however ambitious they might be.
I’ve been obsessed by space exploration and colonisation all my life. I hope to one day to have the resources to carry out some ideas I have in that sector.