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Day 6: Nine Talks That Will Change You

Day 6: Nine Talks That Will Change You

The most amazing thing about the internet is the access it gives us to people and information. From my office in Washougal, Washington, I can listen to some of the smartest people on the planet share their stories. I can engage with people I’ve never met and access an almost unlimited amount of information.

Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders ProgramOf the endless possibilities, one of my favorite resources is the Stanford University Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series. Since 2005, I’ve listened to their weekly podcast (while school is in session) and am consistently impressed by the diversity and quality of speakers they are able to attract. One week it could be the CEO of an up and coming tech company, and then be followed by the leader of a non-profit fund. Past speakers include people like Mark Zuckerberg in 2007 (back when it was still called ‘The Facebook’ and they had just launched their photo sharing feature), Steve Young (the former San Francisco 49’s quarterback), Evan Williams (the co-founder of Twitter…before he co-founded Twitter), and William McDonough (Architect, author, and one of Time Magazine’s ‘Hero for the Planet’), among many others.

Over the years, I’ve listened to countless hours of brilliant insight because of this series; I’ve listened to talks while running, on the way to work, road trips, and in lieu of television or radio.

Interestingly, the podcasts I’ve enjoyed the least (you can still learn something) have been from venture capitalists, politicians, and really ‘successful’ CEO’s. There’s something off-putting (to me) about a canned speech or those lacking authenticity. My favorite talks were by the speakers who revealed their shortcomings and how they learned from adversity; the ones that offered experience and thought process over instruction.

At the risk of excluding many worthy talks, in no particular order I offer nine of my favorite talks for your consideration. Give them a listen and let me know what you think.

william mcdonough

William Mcdonough

jensen huang

Jensen Huang

guy kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki

tom kelley

Tom Kelly

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey

David Heinemeier Hansson

DHH

shia agassi

Shai Agassi

vinod khosla

Vinod Khosla

tim o reilly

Tim O’Reilly



I’m looking forward to upcoming talk by Sal Khan and learning more about what he’s doing at the Khan Academy, where their mission is to provide a world-class education for anyone anywhere.

Where do you like to go for information?

Day 4: Ignorance is Voluntary Misfortune – My Favorite Quote

Day 4: Ignorance is Voluntary Misfortune – My Favorite Quote

How to choose?

I collect quotes, so I anticipated selecting a single favorite might be more difficult than it turned out to be. In order to narrow the range of initial possibilities from my spreadsheet, I wanted to select a quote that applied to a broad range of circumstances. As soon as I set that one criteria in my mind…I knew immediately what my quote was.

Ignorance is voluntary misfortune.

Ignorance is voluntary misfortune.

Short and sweet.

Misfortune is defined as simply being bad luck,  and why should we suffer unnecessary misfortune as a result of self imposed ignorance?  This quote reminds us that through our own efforts to become more informed, we can avoid, or at least mitigate bad things from happening.

The implication is that we have a choice.  Ignorance or understanding.  Through education (not to be confused with schooling, but that’s another post) we can turn what may have been voluntary misfortune into opportunity.  Or, as Seneca the Younger put it:

The important distinction is that we have a choice. Ignorance or understanding. Through education (not to be confused with schooling, but that’s another post) we can turn what may have been voluntary misfortune into opportunity. Or, as Seneca the Younger put it:

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.

This is my favorite quote because it reminds me of how important being informed is. Ignorance may be bliss for a while, but it can also end in misfortune.

What is your favorite quote?  Please share it in the comments.