One of the amazing things about going to a big research institutions is the amount of lectures and various speakers the university brings in. This past term, I have been able to bask in the amazing wisdom of Giancarlo Esposito, Shawn Johnson to many incredible professors from different universities and various political figures. This week’s Well-Wisher post is dedicated to a speaker who has truly inspired me because of his approach.
Alexis Ohanian (Co-Founder of Reddit)
**Quick shout out to the University’s The Technology Entrepreneur Center for hosting this amazing event. Y’all rock.**
Looking back, I am so grateful that I decided to go to. Before the event, somewhere in between deciding to go and finding someone to go with, remember thinking to myself, “In ten years, will I regret not going?” Somehow, the answer was always yes. I should probably preface with, I do not like doing certain things by myself. Before college I was “independent”, but now I have realize that somethings are just a million times more fun with others … AKA the socially acceptable reasoning I tell others. I just don’t like eating lunch by myself in the dining hall, walking to class by myself if I don’t have to, going to University events by myself, and working out by myself. Nothing too crazy.
Anyways, my gut just told me I had to go. Also there was T-SHIRT GUN. That was definitely the other deciding factor. Can’t even lie. Update: I did not catch a shirt.
From Grumpy Cat to waffles, Ohanian’s talk was upbeat, inspirational and humorous; just enough of each to keep my shrinking attention span engaged. I even had my handy dandy notepad out and took notes. Yup. Too School For Cool? He not only reflected on his life, but also included other moving stories of entrepreneurship and success. The three people he highlighted were 14-year-old fashion designer May Shea Penn, 79-year-old musician Lester Chambers, and (awesome) photographer behind ‘Humans of New York’ Brandon Stanton. Their stories will inspire and move you.
The three big pieces of advice that stuck with me:
1. Playing at zero lives remaining.
2. Life is not a paint by number. We are all figuring it out. Anyone who says they have everything figured out is either lying or delusional.
3. Do not pay any attention to your competition. The moment you pay attention to your competition you stop innovating and start copying. Instead, listen to your customers and users.
ie Grumpy Cat is competing against every cat in the entire world, but doesn’t let that bother him.
He is currently on a 200+ college book tour and will be making stops all over the country. If he is going to be at your school, drop whatever you were going to do and be there. If you aren’t in college and are looking for a good book to read, buy his book! It is a quick read and extremely informative. It is a little under a week later and I am still blown away. I have told almost everyone about the talk and have given his advice to a number of people.
All the information you need can be found here: http://withouttheirpermission.com/
Mr. Ohanian, from the bottom of my heart thank you. Thank you so much.