At the age of 16, he escaped persecution and made his way to America as a refugee. At 28, he secured a billion-dollar IPO. Today, he’s redefining what it means to be an entrepreneur by building a new model of capitalism.
In the summer of 1987, Payam Zamani fled Iran. As a member of the Baha’i Faith, he had already survived years of religious persecution at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. Taking the only path available to him, he escaped to Pakistan through the Emptiness Desert: a harrowing five-day trek through one of the hottest, driest, and most hostile regions on the planet.
Twelve years later, he and his brother set records when the company they founded hit a $1.2 billion valuation on Wall Street. He was rich—on paper. But in the wake of yet another Wall Street meltdown, he learned the hard way that modern capitalism can be harmful to the human soul.
In 2015, Payam set the example he wanted to see by merging his business acumen with his spiritual beliefs and founding a new company—One Planet Group—this time without letting Wall Street or the venture capital world dictate the terms. Today, One Planet Group is proving that it’s not only possible but necessary to build strong businesses while taking care of our employees, customers, communities, and the planet.
Crossing the Desert gives readers an intimate look at how the paths we choose, the values we embrace, and the systems we decide to participate in (or not) can make or break us, not only financially, but spiritually. Payam’s story is a timely reminder that enduring and embracing life’s most difficult journeys can lead us to a brighter future—not only for ourselves, but for the people around us, and even the world.