Brenthaven had the pleasure to host “Barefoot” Ted McDonald, founder of Luna Sandals and pioneer of Solowheel Seattle, at its last Entrepreneur Unplugged event. The room was filled with fans of barefoot running, the Solowheel, entrepreneurs looking for advice, and everyone in between. Throughout his talk, Ted spoke about his inspiration for going after his dream, what it means to be him to be an entrepreneur, and lessons learned along the way.
Ted believes entrepreneurship begins when you have a hankering inside of you and need to see it expressed in the world. He was inspired by Howard Thurman, who once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” He asked the audience, “What makes us come alive? What problem is it that we want to solve? We must have the courage to go and do that. That is the core of an entrepreneur.”
Self-experimentation is at the heart of Ted’s philosophy. He believes that everyone is unique and by being a self-experimenter, you have the opportunity to become an expert on yourself. By becoming an expert on yourself you can develop a strategy that makes you better in this world. One of Ted’s problems was that he wanted to learn how to run well. This prompted him to research the human body and its capacities which led him to the “barefoot running” theory, something he was doing growing up in California without even realizing. After investigating footwear in different cultures and natural selection in footwear, he went down to the canyons and became friends with Manuel Luna. This is where he learned how to make, wear and run in the sandals that would soon become his trademark sandal and start of Luna Sandals.
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