As we near 2000, the spectrum of twentysomething iconography has shifted from cliché-laden labels and imagery to a focus on the astounding amount of power America's youth possesses. Slackerdom has become passé as an increasing number of young trailblazers infiltrate Silicon Valley to work atop makeshift desks and morph their Internet ventures into the next big thing.
Then you have today's rarity: those who build a $145 million company first and then delve into the Net for "evolutionary" purposes. Meet Michael Rubin, 27, who did just that. Formerly president and CEO of athletic and outdoor-footwear manufacturing company Global Sports Inc. in the Philadelphia suburb King of Prussia, Rubin recently decided to go e-commerce with a new sporting-goods company--Global Sports Interactive--effectively taking a stake in a much, much larger picture.
Rubin's a fast-talking, no-frills, get-to-the-point kind of guy, and because he's been an entrepreneur since the time he should've been playing with Hot Wheels, it's no wonder he's good at the game. Rather than recount a schoolyard tale or the time he finally got $1 for a lost tooth, Rubin remembers age 8 as the year his entrepreneurial nature took shape. "I always had a passion for business growing up, whether it was selling stationery or shoveling driveways with 10 kids working for me," he says. Entrepreneurship became a consuming hobby for Rubin--and his interest in it occasionally worried his psychiatrist mother and veterinarian father. Rubin's embrace of the mover-and-shaker mentality and his strong desire to earn a buck seemed somewhat peculiar at such a young age.
When asked if his solicitations (like the time he tried to sell baseball cards to his friends' dads at summer camp) ever landed his parents in hot water, Rubin responds, "I don't think I ever got my parents in trouble, but I always created stories to be told and situations to be dealt with." Ah, yes--the many situations. . . .