At 19, Adam Guild may be downplaying his accomplishments, but he’s had an undeniable impact on some of the best restaurants in the country.
It hasn’t always been easy for him, nor is he some sort of child prodigy. He overcame countless struggles and persevered through painful challenges, such as depression, near-obesity, and loneliness throughout his life.
And, he succeeded. He’s already built and sold two tech companies with over 10,000,000 users and written for publications like Forbes and our own Modern Restaurant Management.
This is his story of success through perseverance, pain and courage.
Loneliness became the mother of invention
When Adam was in sixth grade, there were days when pain was a constant. He was alone and had few friends. “I was lost. Aimless,” he says.
He spent his days looking for a way to connect with his comrades. He realized he was different, but for a middle schooler, being different isn’t always appreciated – it’s often a source of pain. As a result, Adam just wanted to fit in. He considered being different to be “less” than other students.
“I had very few real friends and it was hard for me to naturally connect with people,” he says.
At the same time, he noticed that his classmates were eager to visit a new website called Facebook. There was just one problem, however. None of them were allowed to join Facebook, which imposes a minimum age of 13. And their parents wouldn’t let them either.
Thus, Guild saw an opportunity to connect with its peers. He rushed to find open source services so he could develop a Facebook-like platform. He quickly learned and created what he called Centipedes Connect, complete with basic Facebook profile and messaging services; however, he built it specifically as a (safer) platform for his sixth grade class.
He shared it with his classmates, and within 24 hours of launching the platform, most of his 60 classmates were there. “I saw creating Centipedes Connect as a way to connect with my peers and escape feelings of loneliness,” he says.
Unfortunately, Centipedes Connect and Adam’s sense of connection were short-lived. Within weeks, the vice principal called him and his mother into the principal’s office.
“It ended because the deputy head of my primary school forced me to shut it down because it was a security issue to have our whole class logged into an open online social network. [It was either that] or face eviction,” Adam says.
The incident was devastating for Adam, but it taught him a valuable lesson: launching Centipedes Connect showed him that his self-esteem was not in the hands of others. “It started to put the power of how I felt about myself back in my hands,” he says. “Once you realize you can shape your outlook and how you feel about yourself, you immediately unlock the power to live a life on your terms.”
Rejection has become a blessing in disguise
While Adam recognized that he could change how he felt about himself, life continued to present him with challenges to overcome. For one, his parents divorced, and it was brutal. He became depressed, had no friends and was bullied relentlessly. He began to eat under stress, gained weight and approached obesity. This started a cycle of negative feelings that only got worse. Due to his desperation, he could not concentrate on his schoolwork and his grades suffered. This meant that he was unable to be accepted into the prestigious Los Angeles school he wanted to attend. This only worsened his state of mind.
Once you realize that you can shape your outlook and how you feel about yourself, you immediately unlock the power to live a life on your terms.
“I had been conditioned to believe that entering it was absolutely vital to living a successful life – that entering it was an indicator of intelligence and that not being able to [get in] began the cycle of a lifetime of failure,” says Adam. “And I had just failed at that.”
In retrospect, Adam realizes that not being accepted into school was a blessing in disguise, as he believes it would have taught him to be a conformist. And, he illustrated that he is anything but. Yet at the time, he believed he was destined to live a failed life.
Dejected, Adam once again invested himself in his projects. They were an escape from feelings of sadness and helplessness. Pristine Technologies, a holding company for its consumer technology, cryptocurrency and gaming projects, was created. One such project helped facilitate and create multiplayer experiences for Minecraft. It eventually turned into a marketing deal with Microsoft, eventually reaching millions of users, and was acquired.
“It was launched at the darkest time of my life and working on it has been my solace in an otherwise pain-filled world,” Adam says. “His role as both a source of pleasure and an escape from pain created a serious obsession and that’s probably why he succeeded.”
At the time, it was one of the only things going well in his life. And that built an obsession in him. He built the company into a team of over 50 people and reached over 10,000,000 users at its peak. However, he says few people outside of his online life knew much about what he was doing with his time.
“So at first almost everyone was skeptical of me because to them I looked like a friendless loser who spent way too much time on my computer. But eventually they were pretty impressed when they realized that I was making a six-figure income by age 15, which they understood by noticing the constant stream of payment notifications on my phone,” he says. “At that point, I cared a little less about what they thought of me.”
Courage and perseverance are the ultimate gifts
With Adam’s growing self-confidence and his success with Pristine Technologies, he began to let go of some of the negativity that had invaded his mind. He realized he had more control of his life than he had imagined, and slowly his depression was dissipating. He started making changes in his life, striving to overcome the sadness and lose the extra weight.
Still, there were tensions in life that weighed on him, but he was focused on working to overcome them. He became absorbed in his next project: helping his mother attract customers to her Los Angeles dog grooming store. “My mother took the courageous initiative to pursue her lifelong dream of opening her own business,” he says. “She invested a year of her time and savings in creating an amazing customer experience and business model. Despite her hard work, it was very difficult for her to get new clients initially.
So she went to Adam, desperate for help. “She knew I was getting great marketing results on my various consumer technology projects, and she asked me to help her.”
Adam’s work in the worlds of gaming and technology had spoken for itself – and his claim was recognition of that success. He agreed to help her attract new online customers to her grooming salon. “Within three months, it reached its three-year annual revenue rate projections and – to date – is booked every day at full capacity with double the team it originally planned to have.”
Placepull works by converting the thousands of people searching for restaurants in every city into new customers for their partners. It currently has over 200 locations across the United States and has generated an additional $657,797 in estimated revenue for its restaurant partners.
It was through the experience of helping his mother that Adam was compelled to start his latest business, Placepull, to help restaurants attract more customers. “Once I understood the impact I could have on his life as a business owner, I realized there were thousands of others I could help and became thrilled to the idea [of doing so],” he says.
Just as Adam helped his mother, a small business owner, he shows his desire to help others whom he calls the heroes of their communities – the restaurateurs who put their blood, sweat and tears into their businesses. . And in the process, he and his team are helping restaurants succeed by using marketing technology that has successfully attracted millions of users to his past projects.
They’ve developed technology that, at the time of this writing, is generating an additional $657,797 in estimated revenue for the restaurants they’ve worked with. It works by converting the thousands of people searching for restaurants in each city into new customers for their partners. Speaking of their partners, Adam’s customers currently have over 200 locations across the United States.
But, Adam downplays his success and is much more comfortable talking about the challenges he still faces in life than discussing the past.
All the adversity he faced in his life taught him courage, humility and perseverance. It also taught him empathy for others and helped him understand people on a much deeper level.
Adam has come a long way from being a sixth-grader who struggles to fit in and find himself. Yes, his life has included sadness, loneliness, and despair, created and compounded by his parents’ abrupt divorce and the depression, near-obesity, and bullying he has endured. But, what he – and they – may not have realized is that all that pain and rejection was only creating in him courage, perseverance and desperation to better himself – him allowing you to succeed despite the pain. The millions of users he has attracted to his businesses and the great results his marketing efforts have brought to countless restaurants speak for themselves.
And, to say that Adam is just getting started…
If you’d like to connect with Adam, feel free to add him on LinkedIn.