Remember that one Kendrick Lamar song?

“Almost all wonderful experiences while travelling… they’re the entrance ticket to the Circus of Novel Experience. During these conversations, my job is to ask the right questions, show humility and interest, and smile enough to show I have all my teeth. If I’m lucky, this will convince the person I’m hinged. That it’s safe to invite me somewhere.”

— Adam Fletcher, Tuk-Tuk for Two

It’s safe to say the invitations abound.

And if our conversations are any sign of what’s to come, humility will remain at the forefront.

Entrepreneurs worldwide continue to welcome our team, trust we’re “hinged,” and share their humble perspectives without hesitation.

As we explore the world of entrepreneurship together, I’ll commit to doing my job as the leader of Mergerous: to ask the right questions, show humility and interest, and smile enough to show I have all my teeth (even if they’re crooked).

Here’s what we came across during our travels this week.

In today's email:

  • Featured founder: Emily Stone is working with rural communities to build a global enterprise… all in the name of chocolate!

  • Becoming better: How to cultivate your humble superpower for the modern age

  • Think like a global entrepreneur: Leading with kindness for the win

  • Watchlist: Yep — we did it. But these stories were too good to pass up.

Emily Stone’s sweet enterprise and humble leadership

Emily Stone’s humility and understanding of direct partnerships have led her to become a trailblazer in chocolate. Under her direction, Maya Mountain Cacao and Cacao Verapaz are not just brand names — they’re movements that have transformed rural economies, emphasizing the true value of every smallholder farmer.

Uncommon Cacao has bridged the gap between over 5,000 farmers and 250 global chocolate makers. The venture spans continents, promising a delicious treat for its customers and a sustainable future for rural farmers seeking fair compensation for their wares.

The difference with others before her is that it’s a business born from genuine partnership and ethical choices (not just profitable ones). Her story busts the myth that success comes only from aggressive competition. By putting humanity and people's livelihoods first, the business has elevated an entire industry.

💪 Becoming better

Cultivate humility with these insider tips:

Zig when others zag

Uruguay’s Jose “Pepe” Mujica was once dubbed the “world’s poorest president.” After many hardships, he was elected to the top office, eschewed the presidential palace, and donated 90% of his salary to charity.

Grounded by origins

Ritesh Agarwal of OYO Rooms transformed budget accommodations in India, always emphasizing the empowerment of small hotel owners, just as his family had run a small enterprise. Despite OYO's success, he remains true to his humble beginnings. He advises, “Start small, nail it, and then make it big.”

Humility as an untapped resource

We live in a world where business is often touted as aggressive and dog-eat-dog, but humility is an under-appreciated business skill.

Gratitude for growth

Why not try a daily gratitude practice like Vishen Lakhiani to build resilience and broaden your worldview?

🎭 Think like a global entrepreneur

Think, build, grow. Three essential pillars of entrepreneurship. For every newsletter issue, we dive deep into a specific topic under one of these pillars:

  1. Think (e.g., productivity and problem-solving skills)

  2. Build (e.g., building teams and products)

  3. Grow (e.g., growing revenue and market share)

Question to ponder: How can humility shape your entrepreneurial journey and lead to more meaningful success?

A few resources to spark your introspection:

Familiarize yourself with UNESCO’s guidance for Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS)

Denmark is often cited as the “most humble” country. Read about Janteloven.

CIPE, through its Mujer Empresaria program at Corali, has been working with budding female entrepreneurs in Guatemala. Watch their inspiring stories of cottage industry success.

Leading with kindness doesn’t have to hinder your business’s success. Just check out these businesses born from altruism.

Have a suggestion for an upcoming topic? Drop us a line at [email protected].

🔎 Watchlist

Did you notice that we jumped on the AI bandwagon recently (I know, I know)? But despite the clickbait headlines and “ChatGPT is dead, man” Twit — oops, I mean X — threads, there’s still a ton of exciting stuff in the space.

Last week, we cheered on Angelina Sevostyanova as she celebrated the launch of her game-changing legal startup, Legal Data AI. And Dima Maslennikov helped us understand how to use AI to master the startup pitch.

Until next time,

Nolan Bulger

Founder, Mergerous Media Co.