The 39-year-old tech supervisor has constructed 5 firms, however his ambition has a value
Only 39 years old, Ben Lamm is building his fifth company, Hypergiant, a Texas-based company that develops artificial intelligence products for companies like NASA, GE Power, Apple and Twitter.
When Lamm was at Amy & # 39; s Ice Cream in Austin a few years ago, he vividly recalls a moment of jealousy of the clerk who served him ice cream.
"That person was very happy … It was one of those places where you put things in the ice cream and they said, 'This is a great choice," Lamm told CNBC. "And they were really happy in that moment and I remember thinking at that moment, "Man, I'm kind of jealous of it." "
As an entrepreneur and technologist, Lamm always lives in the future. This often makes it difficult for him to be satisfied in the present moment.
"It is more than just a longing for tomorrow, like the longing to drive this company, these people, the market or society into the future," Lamm told CNBC. "I feel like it's a burden sometimes."
A "nice burden," he says and works on himself as he thinks. He knows he is sitting in a place with enormous privileges. At the same time, also because of his privilege, he feels a constant weight in order to achieve more, faster and with greater effect.
"I feel like I have a lot of character flaws and a lot of problems. At the same time, I think I have some skills that I think can add value to others, businesses and society, and hopefully the world and so on." think it would be a tragedy not to use them, "he says.
His decade-long sprint against himself took its toll. In January, Lamm contracted a virus in his heart that, along with the coronavirus pandemic, forced him to restrict travel and business meetings. The breakneck pace at which he lived and worked made him vulnerable by wearing down his immune system. It also put him at high risk for Covid-19, much like the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions, forcing him into virtual isolation.
From December, Lamm will be physically rescued from the virus. And he takes better care of himself these days, sleeping at least seven and a half hours a night, and adding meditation and diary to his routine.
The grind: further, faster, harder
Lamm's 20s and 30s were largely a whirlwind of business building and selling.
As Senior Baylor University, he started his first company, an e-learning software solutions company called Simply Interactive. A college professor, James Moshinskie, helped Lamm get an internship at the biotechnology company Genentech, which also became his first client.
Ben Lamm when he was in college.
Photo courtesy of Ben Lamm
"My balance has risen in my last year," says Lamm. "My grades fell because I worked a lot, but in the end I finished," he says.
Agile Interactive, another e-learning company, acquired Simply Interactive at the age of 29. He then founded and sold three other companies – Chaotic Moon Studios, which developed mobile software; Team Chaos, a digital game company; and Conversable, an AI-powered conversational messaging company – all aged 37.
Lamm wouldn't say how much he had made, but a businessman familiar with the terms of Lamm's deals confirmed to CNBC that Lamm has seen total revenue north of two hundred million dollars with the combined sales of his first four companies.
But it comes at a price. "I would travel to work about six days a week," says Lamm.
In January 2020, for example, Lamm was in Austin, Dallas, Tokyo, Las Vegas, New York, Boston, Colorado Springs and Aspen.
Since then, travel has almost come to a standstill. He also gave up alcohol and caffeine and went largely vegan, he says. But that doesn't mean that he necessarily has less work. He controls his spaceship as best he can from his home offices in Austin and Dallas, Texas.
To be present is work, just like movement
Lamm also traveled a lot as a child.
His parents separated when he was five years old, and he was largely raised by his mother, Lori Armes, and grandmother, Marye Nella Armes (everyone calls her Gigi, he says) across Texas and in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
In the summer he traveled with his father Bobby Lamm, who is involved in international business and commerce. By the age of 9, Ben Lamm had visited more than 50 countries.
"The dichotomy of my childhood was that it was kind of weird when you looked at wealth," Ben Lamm told CNBC. "I had a very bourgeois, totally typical American upbringing, but then on some of my international trips with my father I would see extreme poverty and then I would see extreme wealth."
Now, from his place as a successful serial entrepreneur, Lamm has to make an effort to feel satisfied.
He has to work on doing something that makes him happy for at least an hour a day – like sitting by a pool or body of water, or sitting outside by the fire – because if he doesn't make an effort, he knows he'll be doing it will be consumed by its journey until tomorrow. "I won't find that joy," he says.
Lamm recently came across a quote from the French mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal: "The misery of all men is due to the fact that they cannot sit alone in a room."
This is a paradox for Lamb. "I don't have this silence in me."
He thinks if he tried to be quiet, start a business, sell it, and retire, "I would forever wrestle not to use what I believed to be my ability to run a business or create or create a market. " Create jobs – or technologies that have a positive impact on others. I could never do that. "
"One heart to change the world"
Two professionals who know Lamm agree that he works more like a rocket shot out of a bottle.
John McKinley was the chief technology officer for AOL, Newscorp, Merrill Lynch and GE Capital and is referred to by Lamm as "a longtime friend and mentor to me." He speaks brightly about Lamm's work ethic and diplomacy, but also mentions that Lamm has a hard time softening his intensity.
"My biggest concern for Ben is making sure he has a good work-life balance. He's so hardworking and has been doing this for all of the time I've known him," says McKinley. "I just want to make sure he has gas in the tank at the end of the day."
Ben Lamm (L) and Andrew Busey co-founded Conversable, a Dallas-based conversational intelligence platform startup that was acquired by LivePerson in 2018.
Photo courtesy of Ben Lamm
Trey Bowles, a Dallas co-entrepreneur and friend of Ben, repeated a similar sentiment.
Lamm has "a constant eagerness to get to the point you want to go" and an "absurd optimism" about building businesses to turn that vision into reality.
"He's struggling with what we all struggle with. If you're an entrepreneur, that's all," says Bowles. "The amount of work entrepreneurs do – and Ben is no exception – often steals the abundance we can experience in our lives, wherever that is," says Bowles.
Lamm has goals that go beyond his own work as an entrepreneur.
He has already invested directly in 25 start-ups and in funds that invest in start-ups, and wants to earn enough money himself to continue investing in the next generation of scientific innovations. The startups that Lamm has invested range from genomics to artificial intelligence, green tech, biomedical engineering, ocean sciences and robotics.
"When you look at what Bill and Melinda Gates have done, it's unbelievable – unbelievable. I don't know that two people have done more for the planet than they did for the world," says Lamm. What better use is it to use your gifts to leave the earth better than you found it? "
If it sounds like a big ambition, it may be, but it's real, says Bowles. "He's got such a heart for changing the world, and I know that sounds clichéd, but he really does," Bowles told CNBC.