Once the youngest executive vice president at Disney, and now a “dragon” on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, Lane Merrifield spent most of his childhood afraid. Knowing he didn’t want this fear to run his life, he chose to start facing it, one step at a time. He credits this experience as building the foundation of his entrepreneurial success because it taught him how to take chances, face risks, and trust himself.
Describing himself as “deathly afraid” as a kid — Lane slept on his siblings floor until his early teens, refused to go to sleepaway camp because he was afraid to be alone, was scared of the dark, etc. He knew he had to make a change, and as a teenager started taking those brave steps.
“It’s not necessarily about the end result, as much as it was just taking the first step. I used to, even as a kid, count how many steps it would take to get into that video store and back out again. What’s it going to take for me to just get out of the car, and then once I’m out of the car now I’m just going to walk into that video store. Now once I’m in that video store, I’m going to look up but I’m going to find the children’s section and I’m going to hang out there for a bit. It was always about, what’s that next step.”
It was this philosophy that gave Lane the confidence to begin his entrepreneurial journey. He is now known as the founder of the incredibly successful Club Penguin — the largest children’s social network — but that all started because he, and his business partner, had the courage to leave the security of their regular 9-5 job and try something new. He pushed through everything that stood in his way — one step at a time — and ended up selling Club Penguin to Disney for $350 million and turning it into a billion-dollar brand.
He sees this fear in many of the entrepreneurs that he meets on Dragon’s Den, entrepreneurs who are making excuses because they’re afraid. This fear stalls innovation, Lane says, and he wants to help fellow entrepreneurs learn how to push through whatever is standing in their way just as he did.
Watch the clip below to hear more from Lane:
In addition to being a “dragon” on Dragons’ Den, Lane Merrifield is also the founder of Wheelhouse, an organization that invests in and supports early-stage tech companies and entrepreneurs through mentorship, access to capital, and connections to global business networks.
In his talks, he infuses his core passions of creativity and storytelling to share his extraordinary journey and innovative business strategies that turned him into a “dragon”.
Interested in learning more about Lane and what he can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].