Morristown-Beard School graduate Jamie Siminoff ’95, founder and CEO of Ring video doorbell systems and a veteran of the TV show “Shark Tank,” returned to campus on Friday, May 10th to speak to students about entrepreneurship and the power of perseverance.
Although he walked away from “Shark Tank” without a deal, Siminoff has transformed Ring into the industry leader in the home security market. In February of 2018, Ring was acquired by Amazon for more than $1 billion — the second largest Amazon acquisition after Whole Foods.
“The best part of my visit to MBS today was that although the School has changed and evolved, the feeling on campus felt the same,” said Siminoff. “It’s exciting to be back. This place has done a lot of special things for a lot of kids.”
During his tour of campus, Siminoff enjoyed visiting with many of his former teachers including Rich Timek, who taught his architecture class.
“That was incredible for me, the stuff that we did in (Mr. Timek’s) class. He was a really special teacher,” said Siminoff. “For the final architecture project, we had to build a model, and that was probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. To this day, I am so proud of that project – it was so meaningful. I actually saw photos of my it today when I visited Mr. Timek’s room.”
Siminoff also enjoyed getting a tour of the School’s new Center for Innovation & Design (CID) which is slated to open in the fall. The CID — a cutting-edge facility designed to inspire self-directed “design thinking” for the 21st century — surely would have been a favorite resource for Siminoff, who has always enjoyed tinkering and building things.
“My passion has always been building stuff, and Mr. Timek fueled that passion and really helped me get started,” said Siminoff.
In a Q&A session with students, Siminoff fielded a range of questions including how he started his company, his favorite memories of MBS, and how he coped with rejection on “Shark Tank.” “Being on “Shark Tank” was like being in the Olympics, so to walk away without a deal was devastating,” he said, adding with a smile, “Now we’re the biggest company to ever appear on ‘Shark Tank,’ so that makes it a little bit easier.”
When asked about advice for young entrepreneurs, Siminoff said he typically doesn’t believe in giving broad advice since everyone’s situation is different. He did, however, say that the most important thing is to follow your heart. “Money is a very bad form of motivation; it’s very short-term. The most successful people I’ve met are people who are following their passion while trying to do something better for the world,” said Siminoff.