Below is a transcript of a speech I gave on August 27, 2012 to NYU Stern’s 600+ incoming freshmen and transfers. I’ll post the video when I get it…if the quality is halfway decent.
It’s exciting to see all these bright shining faces. You’ll look nothing like this after your first all-nighter studying for your finance final. You’ll wake up covered in highlighter wondering why you were highlighting your iPad in the first place. You’ll run into class late, give some lame excuse, and think about what you’ll tell your parents as you doodle skeletons where the essays should go. I remember those days well.
Today, I’d like to share with you three lessons I wish I got before I started college. Luckily all you have to do is stop texting for five minutes to benefit from my mistakes.
This is a re-post of my original article on Harvard Business Review
I’ve often fantasized about hurling my laptop over Niagara Falls, then grilling a fresh salmon to celebrate my sensory liberation. I’d become a Maker. I’d build a sailboat to circle the globe. I’d live off the sea, fending off killer whales and Somali pirates. I’m not alone in yearning to resuscitate my flabby Tweeting muscles. As I’ve written before, there’s plenty of evidence that people who make a tangible product, use their senses, and help others are happier than mere office dwellers. But let’s face it, Microsoft won’t pay you to conquer the Amazon or extract salmon roe. Offices are where the work is. Which explains why I’m here — with you — writing about making things instead of weatherproofing my pirate-repelling catapult. But there is a glimmer of hope for us Clickers, Copy/Pasters, Conference-Callers, and Collators. In this digital office world, happiness can — and must — be simulated.
This week’s episode of Ideafaktory Radio is the first of a three part series with Forbes contributor and Social Enterprise guru Mark Fidelman. This wasn’t even meant to be recorded! Mark deviously taped our private conversation on his iPhone and captured the two of us brawling over the future of apps, among other issues that keep geeks up at night. In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Why you don’t need to motivate people who work at MTV
- Why only rich, hot people should go into journalism
- How successful apps get pimped
- Why Twitter and Facebook might be #JumpingTheShark #LOL #OMG
- Why I don’t care that apps are dying as Mark nurses app developers back to health, like Mother Theresa.
- How competition cleanses everything except financial services
Coming soon: Gregory Essau, a home builder turned sustainable economy missionary.
The first episode of the Ideafaktory Podcast is the best one ever. It’s a great conversation between Steve Faktor and Dan Lyons (aka the original “Fake Steve Jobs“, aka “Real Dan Lyons). Dan has written for Forbes, Newsweek and many publications that begged me not to use their names!
This episode is all about social media fame as job security. You’ll learn:
- What crazy thing Dan wrote that made me reach out to him in the first place
- How Dan escaped being an anonymous drone by blogging…as the end of print media loomed
- Why you need to be a star
- All about the brilliant, but seedy underbelly of monetizing influence
- Why you should never get out of your jammies
- Why immigrant parents don’t care if you can spell
Enjoy. Comment below and subscribe to this weekly podcast at ideafaktory.com.
Awesome intro music by The Walkers
As a journalism student at NYU, I remember my immigrant dad interrogating me suspiciously about a profession he couldn’t possibly understand. He asked me the kinds of questions you’d expect from an engineer who just risked everything to drag his family out of the Soviet Union. “How will you make money?” he’d ask in his thick Russian accent. “What kind of (stupid) job is writing?” He would have been more proud if I majored in mink skinning or Zamboni maintenance. Slowly, he chipped away at me until I gave up my journalistic dream. For the past 10 years, it seemed like my dad’s fresh-off-the-boat wisdom paid off. I was having a successful career in business while the field of paid journalism looked like Courtney Love circa 5 a.m. – a hot mess.