Having an Impact                              http://paulbohm.com/Saturday, July 14, 12
In the bookSaturday, July 14, 12
Saturday, July 14, 12
Saturday, July 14, 12
A magical bookSaturday, July 14, 12
the first of its kindSaturday, July 14, 12
was madeSaturday, July 14, 12
was madeSaturday, July 14, 12
to educate a duke’s                             daughter.Saturday, July 14, 12
But through a series                         of eventsSaturday, July 14, 12
was lostSaturday, July 14, 12
and foundSaturday, July 14, 12
Saturday, July 14, 12
by Nell                         (a peasant girl)Saturday, July 14, 12
This bookSaturday, July 14, 12
explains the world                            in storiesSaturday, July 14, 12
and when Nell’s life                         becomes too badSaturday, July 14, 12
it urges her to leave                             on her ownSaturday, July 14, 12
And as Nell grows up...Saturday, July 14, 12
...the book...Saturday, July 14, 12
keeps teaching her...Saturday, July 14, 12
about the human body, ...Saturday, July 14, 12
... turing machines ...Saturday, July 14, 12
and other wondrous                          things.Saturday, July 14, 12
And so she became                          pretty badass.Saturday, July 14, 12
And even changed                the course of history.Saturday, July 14, 12
What made Nell                          special?Saturday, July 14, 12
Saturday, July 14, 12
Was it the book?Saturday, July 14, 12
It turns out                        Many rich girls got                         the same book.Saturday, July 14, 12
But they didn’t                        change the worldSaturday, July 14, 12
But they didn’t                        change the world                           (not even a little bit)Saturday, July 14...
So was Nell a genius                           to begin with?Saturday, July 14, 12
So was Nell a genius                           to begin with?                        Maybe. But statistically, she        ...
The difference between Nell and the                                        entitled rich girls                            ...
The difference between Nell and the                                        entitled rich girls                            ...
The difference between Nell and the                                        entitled rich girls                            ...
Bad NewsSaturday, July 14, 12
You’re entitled and                        everyone tells you                          you are smartSaturday, July 14, 12
You have more                          resourcesSaturday, July 14, 12
and a better                          networkSaturday, July 14, 12
than most people who’ve                  had an impact in the pastSaturday, July 14, 12
Tell someone they are smart &                              they perform worse.Saturday, July 14, 12
Praise and Approval                      are addictive                         (like candy)Saturday, July 14, 12
You already knowSaturday, July 14, 12
Grades   don’t measure   ImpactSaturday, July 14, 12
And Approval...Saturday, July 14, 12
...even from those                         that you respectSaturday, July 14, 12
Approval   doesn’t measure   ImpactSaturday, July 14, 12
In factSaturday, July 14, 12
counterintuitivelySaturday, July 14, 12
being persistentSaturday, July 14, 12
Saturday, July 14, 12
is often easierSaturday, July 14, 12
when faced with                          adversitySaturday, July 14, 12
and solitude.Saturday, July 14, 12
In fact, many                        successful writersSaturday, July 14, 12
chose not to talk about                 their work in progressSaturday, July 14, 12
Because                    Praise for                    unfinished                      work                             ...
ButSaturday, July 14, 12
Persistence   doesn’t measure   Impact                                         eitherSaturday, July 14, 12
You still need                         opportunitySaturday, July 14, 12
Opportunity   Need for Approval   Need for Impact                        Nell              Rich Kids             Nell had ...
Opportunity   Need for Approval   Need for Impact                        Nell              Rich Kids                   Man...
Opportunity   Need for Approval   Need for Impact                        Nell              Rich Kids                   Man...
YouSaturday, July 14, 12
Being hereSaturday, July 14, 12
Have the NetworkSaturday, July 14, 12
And ResourcesSaturday, July 14, 12
To Have An ImpactSaturday, July 14, 12
Opportunity   Need for Approval   Need for Impact                        Nell              Rich Kids                   Man...
Opportunity   Need for Approval   Need for Impact                        Nell              Rich Kids                   Man...
Opportunity   Need for Approval   Need for Impact                        Nell              Rich Kids                   Man...
Your biggest riskSaturday, July 14, 12
is measuring candySaturday, July 14, 12
instead of impactSaturday, July 14, 12
Turns you into...Saturday, July 14, 12
A dancing                         monkeySaturday, July 14, 12
Saturday, July 14, 12
The problem with being         a dancing monkey is...Saturday, July 14, 12
Even when the          audience claps, you’re          still a dancing monkey.Saturday, July 14, 12
Opportunity   Need for Approval   Need for Impact                        Nell              Rich Kids                   Man...
...that you have                           opportunitySaturday, July 14, 12
creates a lot of pressureSaturday, July 14, 12
and expectationsSaturday, July 14, 12
=                        Measuring yourself by other                         people’s expectations is                     ...
Your only chance:Saturday, July 14, 12
Measure ImpactSaturday, July 14, 12
What do I mean with that?Saturday, July 14, 12
Let me try to explain                            with a storySaturday, July 14, 12
This is my Go boardSaturday, July 14, 12
I’ve taught a lot of people to play GoSaturday, July 14, 12
And as I saw a lot of                         people learn Go...Saturday, July 14, 12
I started to notice                             patternsSaturday, July 14, 12
Some learned                          faster...Saturday, July 14, 12
than others.Saturday, July 14, 12
And after a while...Saturday, July 14, 12
A pattern emergedSaturday, July 14, 12
Those who learned                             faster...Saturday, July 14, 12
Focused more on                           playing...                           many many gamesSaturday, July 14, 12
And less on                             thinking...                           (what are you thinking about?               ...
They didn’t care about being                        original and were willing to                           imitate better ...
And they played many more                    games, because losing was ok                              for themSaturday, J...
That’s a huge deal!Saturday, July 14, 12
OTOH I’ve played                          with peopleSaturday, July 14, 12
who no doubt were                             smartSaturday, July 14, 12
That thought about their                        FIRST MOVE in their FIRST                         GAME for TWO MINUTES    ...
Their hands were wet                            and shakingSaturday, July 14, 12
That’s what happens                  when expectations...Saturday, July 14, 12
trick you into                        measuring candySaturday, July 14, 12
True: Without                  opportunity no successSaturday, July 14, 12
And part of the reason you                        have opportunity is because                        people THINK you are ...
Sure, play their                            game.Saturday, July 14, 12
Have them call you names like                 “prodigy” “genius” or “visionary”                      if it helps you succe...
Use socially constructed                      reality as a toolSaturday, July 14, 12
But don’t start                        believing it yourself                              even for a secondSaturday, July ...
The moment you stop learning                   or doing things because they                       don’t LOOK smart...Satur...
You’re just a                        dancing monkeySaturday, July 14, 12
In fact, I can tell you                          for sure:Saturday, July 14, 12
Somewhere out                           there...Saturday, July 14, 12
is NellSaturday, July 14, 12
And she wasn’t                         invited hereSaturday, July 14, 12
And no one thinks                          she’s smartSaturday, July 14, 12
And she doesn’t care                     if she LOOKSSaturday, July 14, 12
like a rhinoceros to youSaturday, July 14, 12
...or that you’re best pals                              with Peter ThielSaturday, July 14, 12
She’ll work her ass offSaturday, July 14, 12
And she WILL have                            an impactSaturday, July 14, 12
Will you?Saturday, July 14, 12
How do you know?Saturday, July 14, 12
How can you know?Saturday, July 14, 12
Measure your impactSaturday, July 14, 12
.                        Look at progressSaturday, July 14, 12
. .                        Not as a DotSaturday, July 14, 12
. .   .                        . .                           ButSaturday, July 14, 12
. .      .                        . .                         As A LineSaturday, July 14, 12
Never trust other                        people’s opinionsSaturday, July 14, 12
Stop assuming that anyone                         else knows what they are                                  doing!Saturday...
That’s why measuring                  the candy doesn’t work!Saturday, July 14, 12
Learn about your                         own biases andSaturday, July 14, 12
study rationality in                            forms likeSaturday, July 14, 12
Probability TheorySaturday, July 14, 12
Game TheorySaturday, July 14, 12
And why people                        cooperate at allSaturday, July 14, 12
Then realize that all                    decisions that matter are                           undecidableSaturday, July 14,...
And train your intuition for                         solving such unsolvable                                 problemsSatur...
Maybe With GoSaturday, July 14, 12
Or Texas Hold’emSaturday, July 14, 12
And thenSaturday, July 14, 12
Pick an ambitious                               goal                         (you can always change it later)Saturday, Jul...
When your goal is to                    colonize mars...Saturday, July 14, 12
Or building the nervous system to                   awaken the slumbering giant and turn                          humanity...
Learning to build                         rocket enginesSaturday, July 14, 12
studying graph                            theorySaturday, July 14, 12
Or building a                          companySaturday, July 14, 12
seem merely like minor                         distractions required to                        accomplish a larger plan.Sa...
That plan is for you - not                  for sharing with others.Saturday, July 14, 12
If you told others, and they                   didn’t think you are crazy, it’s                  probably not ambitious en...
What it is important for, is that you                        move towards something, and don’t                         jus...
Having and impact might even                   require years of studying or working                    on someone elses pr...
But that’s just what                              I thinkSaturday, July 14, 12
You can take an entirely                  different approach tooSaturday, July 14, 12
I don’t know what                         I’m doing myself.Saturday, July 14, 12
We all look towards others to                        reassure us that what we’re                                doing is r...
But since everyone else does                         the same, there are no real                                  answers....
I’m not trying to put you down or build                    you up - I just want to share my belief                   that ...
Unlike most of you I probably                  would have never made it into                  the 20-under-20 or even here...
When I was fourteen, my parents                     talked me out of going to a technical                    school becaus...
I didn’t win any awards, nor                     scholarships. I dropped out of school                    before it was co...
I have had days where people thought                     I’m brilliant, and days where people                      thought...
What matters to me is: Just like Nell, I work my                   ass off every day, I try to measure my progress,       ...
In SummarySaturday, July 14, 12
Measure yourself against                    your own standardsSaturday, July 14, 12
Ignore CandySaturday, July 14, 12
And you’ll have an                             impact!Saturday, July 14, 12
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Having an impact

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

Published in: Technology

Having an impact

  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

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