Twenty one years ago, a four-year-old boy resolved that he would buy McDonald’s for everyone in the world one day after his parents treated him to a meal at the Golden Arches but did not order anything for themselves.
William Lam, a BYU graduate, lived in Hong Kong for 12 years before moving to the United States, attending school, serving a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, graduating from BYU and co-founding a business worth $5 million today. His experience at McDonald’s set the trajectory for his next few years and ultimately the rest of his life as a doer and a dreamer.
Lam’s mother encouraged him to be successful so that one day he could help those who are less fortunate — a dream he still envisions everyday.
Garrett Aida, Lam’s business partner and friend, said, “One thing he does amazingly well is nearly everyday he visualizes what he wants.”
At the age of 25, Lam is a co-founder of a company called Dark Energy, a power solutions company whose current product is revolutionizing the way consumers charge their electronic products.
Aida co-founded Dark Energy with Lam. Two years ago, they set a business goal to make $5 million in some form, and they have reached that goal. Lam still actively pursues his dreams and is now over online marketing, public relations and sales at Dark Energy.
“Moving forward, we have set goals that even millionaires would look at us and think we are crazy,” Lam said. “We want to prove to the world that us, being nobody from the beginning, if we can do it, everyone deserves the chance to achieve their dreams.”
That vision did not come all at once for Lam. It was a journey involving faith, courage and hard work.
Jordan Garn, Lam’s business partner and friend, said, “He has really contagious enthusiasm (and) really good work ethic.”
After Lam’s time in China, he decided he would study abroad in the United States. Getting to the States came with its own set of challenges.
“When I was 15, I met the missionaries (in Hong Kong),” Lam said. “I thought they were crazy. I was going to be an exchange student a year after in Massachusetts. Somehow my host family didn’t work out and then a new one signed up — and they were Mormons.”
Before Lam’s arrival to the States, he determined that he would not attend the LDS Church. Once he arrived, his perspective changed.
“I was like, I’m going to be a part of this family,” Lam said. “I’m going to learn the culture, I’m going to go to church with them.”
After that resolve, Lam attended seminary and made several good friends who were members of the LDS Church. Lam says it was his host mom, though, who impressed him the most.
“The way she treated me, I had never felt so much love from anyone but my own parents, and she was even kinder at times than my own mom was to me,” Lam said. “I was like, how is it that she is able to do this? And I understood that it was because she lived the gospel — to the core.”
His host mother molded Lam’s desire to one day marry a woman who loved the same way with whom he could raise a family. Lam decided that he needed to get an unbiased view of how Mormons live their lives. With that in mind, Lam began his education at BYU–Idaho, saying, “There’s not a better place to spy on the Mormons.”
“There I really felt that a lot of people in the church … live this lifestyle,” Lam said. “(People) that are kind and have this charity toward others. That moment was like a revelation. It’s not all about wealth, it’s not all about money, it’s about this religion.”
He joined the Church at age 18 after his first semester at BYU–Idaho. Over 300 people attended his baptism. After joining the Church, Lam decided to serve a full-time mission in an effort to live the lifestyle he was part of now.
“I thought, if I do this, I can really home in on the principles and doctrines,” Lam said. “It was in the mission that I realized that I had entrepreneurial skills.”
These experiences and newly learned talents carried over after Lam’s mission. After an experience and answer to prayer attending a United Nations conference, he learned a valuable lesson.
“The Lord taught me, if I place him first, then whatever I do, even my wildest dreams could come true,” Lam said. “After that, I actively started pursuing ideas and started thinking how I could start a business.”
Lam said the fear of failure haunts him everyday, but the courage he feels overpowers that fear.
“Failure is only feedback,” Lam said. “From the time we are young the world tells us we aren’t good enough — that we can’t achieve our dreams. First, we have to cast away the limit and free ourselves. Then, we have to dream and dream big.”