In a world where fast-paced technologies are redefining products, services, and even human behavior, it's hard to keep up. Few break through with innovations that make a lasting impact. This one did, but how?

We all read about entrepreneurs whose startups scale to global powerhouses with impressive impact. But we also know they’re the minority. According to most research, startup failure rates range between 50-70% between the five- and ten-year mark. So when we read those classic stories of entrepreneur’s who go from humble beginnings to far-reaching success, dreaming about one day being one of them, we can’t help but wonder, “How’d they do it?” And more importantly, what can we learn from them?

I spoke with Paul Doherty, CEO of The Digit Group, to learn from his example of soaring to global impact. Part real-estate development, part technology, part autonomous transportation, part architectural firm, and part virtual-reality theme park designer (yup), The Digit Group is a composite of Doherty’s career from kitchen remodeler in Queens, NY, to architect and home builder, to global powerhouse building smart cities in places like China, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The Digit Group is playing a key building role in Saudi’s $500 billion city NEOM, in China’s Smart Cities’ “Hollywood of virtual reality,” and in Australia’s plan to expand with new Smart Cities toward their continent’s center. Scroll Paul’s social media photos and you’ll see him alongside the likes of world leaders, global titans of business, and technology’s biggest thought leaders.

His company, the Digit Group, (TDG) has grown from around 20 full-time employees, to over the coming months managing $120 billion in projects with more than 2,800 people working with and for them around the world. I asked him what lessons he felt other entrepreneurs could gain from his firm’s impressive rise, and he offered three insights he feels are universal to any dream of global impact.

Keep the bigger story in focus. Says Doherty, “You always have to remember that you are part of a bigger story for someone else. We live in a fragmenting world – socially, digitally, and industrially. When an entrepreneur can see the larger story to which they are contributing, and help others see it too, they add tremendous value .” Paul shared the story of presenting to Australia’s parliament about TDG’s pitch to help them with Smart Cities, and being surprised by the initial resistance. When he realized that Australia’s internal struggle to cooperate across their ‘states’ could hinder their ability to see a vision for solving their urban population crisis, he worked with them to reposition the work into a larger story of national security and economic prosperity.

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