GOOD

How Our Headphones Start-Up Helped 10,000 People Hear for the First Time

A year ago, LSTN Headphones was still just a concept. All we had was a website with pictures of prototypes of our headphones up for pre-sale and an idea that we could change lives through the power of music—with our business.

A year ago, LSTN Headphones was still just a concept. All we had was a website with pictures of prototypes of our headphones up for pre-sale and an idea that we could change lives through the power of music—with our business. Since then, we've learned some valuable lessons about starting a business and what it takes to succeed.


Pick a project or idea you're passionate about.

Can you imagine a world without sound? As a music lover, I couldn't imagine never discovering a new artist, never hearing my favorite album, or never going to my first concert. Music is the soundtrack to my life and it's shaped who I am today. I went from being a kid growing up in Flint, MI, learning how to play guitar, to working with some of the biggest artists in the world at major labels in LA.

Set yourself apart from the pack with a clear vision.

When we were first starting out, everyone thought we were crazy to enter a market that seemingly every rapper and electronics company in the world had already set foot in. The problem was that although the headphone market is massive, none of the existing brands were making headphones we wanted to buy. In addition to great sound quality, we set out to create headphones that were beautifully designed and environmentally friendly.

Consider your social values.

When we looked at that massive market, we didn't see another company making headphones that sounded good, looked good—and were doing good. So we set forth on a mission: we'd produce great headphones made from reclaimed wood and, for every pair sold, LSTN would help restore hearing to a person in need through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. We make direct contributions to Starkey with each purchase of our headphones.

Remember that success comes in two forms when your business aims to help people.

Running a startup is not for the faint of heart—very little sleep, a lot of travel, no money, constant roller coaster emotions. I recently returned from a trip to Peru, where I got to experience the joy of seeing people receive the gift of hearing—and be exposed to music—for the first time. When I saw the faces that lit up when children connected and communicated with their families, I lost it. It was truly life-changing. It trumped being able to quit my corporate job to do LSTN full-time. It trumped the feeling of getting our product into Whole Foods. It trumped everything we had accomplished to that point because to even change one person's life through our business proved it was working. On that trip, we helped fit 10,000 people in various cities and villages throughout Peru with hearing aids. We made a short video about our journey that you can see below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTBTkldU6M4&feature=youtu.be

Articles

Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





Culture
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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Politics

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

Health