Source | Hbr.org | BY:Dan Schulman
About a decade ago, when I was the CEO of Virgin Mobile, a colleague and I accepted an unusual challenge: Spend 24 hours living on the street in New York City as a homeless person would, with no money or credit cards, no cell phones, and just the clothes on our backs. Virgin had been supporting a charity for homeless youth, and during an employee event someone from the charity told us that the only way we could learn about the importance of its work was to experience the lives of the people it was serving. I agreed to do it. It was one of those experiences you never forget. We panhandled, and I wasn’t very good at it—it took me six hours to solicit enough money to buy a little food. Most people looked right past me, as if I were invisible. We spent a lot of time trying to find a safe place to sleep—we kept getting kicked out of places, and eventually we ended up in a skateboard park. I lived like that for only 24 hours, which of course is nothing—and it was during the summer, so the weather wasn’t terrible—but it was enough to give me a large dose of empathy for people who have to live on the street.