Having an impact

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Talk I gave at the 20 under 20 Summit on 7/14/2012.

Talk I gave at the 20 under 20 Summit on 7/14/2012.

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  • 1. Having an Impact http://paulbohm.com/Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 2. In the bookSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 3. Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 4. Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 5. A magical bookSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 6. the first of its kindSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 7. was madeSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 8. was madeSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 9. to educate a duke’s daughter.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 10. But through a series of eventsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 11. was lostSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 12. and foundSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 13. Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 14. by Nell (a peasant girl)Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 15. This bookSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 16. explains the world in storiesSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 17. and when Nell’s life becomes too badSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 18. it urges her to leave on her ownSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 19. And as Nell grows up...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 20. ...the book...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 21. keeps teaching her...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 22. about the human body, ...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 23. ... turing machines ...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 24. and other wondrous things.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 25. And so she became pretty badass.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 26. And even changed the course of history.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 27. What made Nell special?Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 28. Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 29. Was it the book?Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 30. It turns out Many rich girls got the same book.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 31. But they didn’t change the worldSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 32. But they didn’t change the world (not even a little bit)Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 33. So was Nell a genius to begin with?Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 34. So was Nell a genius to begin with? Maybe. But statistically, she likely wouldn’t have had an impact without the book.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 35. The difference between Nell and the entitled rich girls Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich KidsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 36. The difference between Nell and the entitled rich girls Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich KidsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 37. The difference between Nell and the entitled rich girls Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich KidsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 38. Bad NewsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 39. You’re entitled and everyone tells you you are smartSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 40. You have more resourcesSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 41. and a better networkSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 42. than most people who’ve had an impact in the pastSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 43. Tell someone they are smart & they perform worse.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 44. Praise and Approval are addictive (like candy)Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 45. You already knowSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 46. Grades don’t measure ImpactSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 47. And Approval...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 48. ...even from those that you respectSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 49. Approval doesn’t measure ImpactSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 50. In factSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 51. counterintuitivelySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 52. being persistentSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 53. Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 54. is often easierSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 55. when faced with adversitySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 56. and solitude.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 57. In fact, many successful writersSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 58. chose not to talk about their work in progressSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 59. Because Praise for unfinished work = candy Which makes them less likely to do a good jobSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 60. ButSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 61. Persistence doesn’t measure Impact eitherSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 62. You still need opportunitySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 63. Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich Kids Nell had an impact, because she could and needed to.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 64. Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich Kids Many ? ? Many don’t have an impact because they can’tSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 65. Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich Kids Many ? ? You ? ? ? What about you?Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 66. YouSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 67. Being hereSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 68. Have the NetworkSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 69. And ResourcesSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 70. To Have An ImpactSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 71. Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich Kids Many ? ? You ? ? ? What about you?Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 72. Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich Kids Many ? ? You ? ? You have the opportunitySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 73. Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich Kids Many ? ? You ? ? { Your choiceSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 74. Your biggest riskSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 75. is measuring candySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 76. instead of impactSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 77. Turns you into...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 78. A dancing monkeySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 79. Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 80. The problem with being a dancing monkey is...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 81. Even when the audience claps, you’re still a dancing monkey.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 82. Opportunity Need for Approval Need for Impact Nell Rich Kids Many ? ? You ? ?Saturday, July 14, 12 { I realize that knowing...
  • 83. ...that you have opportunitySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 84. creates a lot of pressureSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 85. and expectationsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 86. = Measuring yourself by other people’s expectations is measuring candySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 87. Your only chance:Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 88. Measure ImpactSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 89. What do I mean with that?Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 90. Let me try to explain with a storySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 91. This is my Go boardSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 92. I’ve taught a lot of people to play GoSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 93. And as I saw a lot of people learn Go...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 94. I started to notice patternsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 95. Some learned faster...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 96. than others.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 97. And after a while...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 98. A pattern emergedSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 99. Those who learned faster...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 100. Focused more on playing... many many gamesSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 101. And less on thinking... (what are you thinking about? you just started learning! play more games!)Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 102. They didn’t care about being original and were willing to imitate better players (imitation is a very effective way to learn!)Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 103. And they played many more games, because losing was ok for themSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 104. That’s a huge deal!Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 105. OTOH I’ve played with peopleSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 106. who no doubt were smartSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 107. That thought about their FIRST MOVE in their FIRST GAME for TWO MINUTES That’s like a lot of the people I talk to, who want to figure out what to do with their life, without doing anything. Iteration is key!Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 108. Their hands were wet and shakingSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 109. That’s what happens when expectations...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 110. trick you into measuring candySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 111. True: Without opportunity no successSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 112. And part of the reason you have opportunity is because people THINK you are smartSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 113. Sure, play their game.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 114. Have them call you names like “prodigy” “genius” or “visionary” if it helps you succeed.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 115. Use socially constructed reality as a toolSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 116. But don’t start believing it yourself even for a secondSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 117. The moment you stop learning or doing things because they don’t LOOK smart...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 118. You’re just a dancing monkeySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 119. In fact, I can tell you for sure:Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 120. Somewhere out there...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 121. is NellSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 122. And she wasn’t invited hereSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 123. And no one thinks she’s smartSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 124. And she doesn’t care if she LOOKSSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 125. like a rhinoceros to youSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 126. ...or that you’re best pals with Peter ThielSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 127. She’ll work her ass offSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 128. And she WILL have an impactSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 129. Will you?Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 130. How do you know?Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 131. How can you know?Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 132. Measure your impactSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 133. . Look at progressSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 134. . . Not as a DotSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 135. . . . . . ButSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 136. . . . . . As A LineSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 137. Never trust other people’s opinionsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 138. Stop assuming that anyone else knows what they are doing!Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 139. That’s why measuring the candy doesn’t work!Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 140. Learn about your own biases andSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 141. study rationality in forms likeSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 142. Probability TheorySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 143. Game TheorySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 144. And why people cooperate at allSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 145. Then realize that all decisions that matter are undecidableSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 146. And train your intuition for solving such unsolvable problemsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 147. Maybe With GoSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 148. Or Texas Hold’emSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 149. And thenSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 150. Pick an ambitious goal (you can always change it later)Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 151. When your goal is to colonize mars...Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 152. Or building the nervous system to awaken the slumbering giant and turn humanity into the first superintelligence.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 153. Learning to build rocket enginesSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 154. studying graph theorySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 155. Or building a companySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 156. seem merely like minor distractions required to accomplish a larger plan.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 157. That plan is for you - not for sharing with others.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 158. If you told others, and they didn’t think you are crazy, it’s probably not ambitious enough!Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 159. What it is important for, is that you move towards something, and don’t just frantically jump between all interesting fields.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 160. Having and impact might even require years of studying or working on someone elses project to learn.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 161. But that’s just what I thinkSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 162. You can take an entirely different approach tooSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 163. I don’t know what I’m doing myself.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 164. We all look towards others to reassure us that what we’re doing is right.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 165. But since everyone else does the same, there are no real answers.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 166. I’m not trying to put you down or build you up - I just want to share my belief that I think impact matters more than impressions.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 167. Unlike most of you I probably would have never made it into the 20-under-20 or even hereSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 168. When I was fourteen, my parents talked me out of going to a technical school because they didn’t think I had what it takesSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 169. I didn’t win any awards, nor scholarships. I dropped out of school before it was cool. And I haven’t had a huge impact yet.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 170. I have had days where people thought I’m brilliant, and days where people thought I’m an idiot. And it’s all the same. That’s just the candy.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 171. What matters to me is: Just like Nell, I work my ass off every day, I try to measure my progress, I try not to worry what people think about me too much, and one day I WILL have an impact.Saturday, July 14, 12
  • 172. In SummarySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 173. Measure yourself against your own standardsSaturday, July 14, 12
  • 174. Ignore CandySaturday, July 14, 12
  • 175. And you’ll have an impact!Saturday, July 14, 12