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Ways I've Tried to
Change the World 

and Failed
My Name is
Steven Skoczen

and I am trying to change the world.
So I’ve tried.
It turns changing the
world is really hard.
So I fail at it a lot.
Here’s my mistakes.
Pick one you’re going
to skip.
Let’s get started.
UCSD
Use tech to give patients a voice.
failed because
Scale matters.
ebDB
Single repository for all the world's
ethnobotanical data.
Second System Syndrome is Real.
failed because
Olorien
Open-source scientific journal
software.
Sometimes there is no general case.
failed because
Cornell University
Environmental Engineering degree.
Expensive doesn’t mean valuable.
failed because
Cornell University
Environmental Engineering degree.
Sunk cost fallacy is real.
failed because
EPA P3 Research
Small-scale solar-thermal power.
Physics always wins.
failed because
SixLinks
Information and actions for all the
world's biggest environmental issues.
If you can't make money at it, stop.

I...
SixLinks
Information and actions for all the
world's biggest environmental issues.
Burnout is real.

Never work >60 hrs/wk...
SixLinks
Information and actions for all the
world's biggest environmental issues.
Meet your audience where they are, not
...
GoodCloud
Software for Small Non-profits.
Don't innovate everything.

Only solve one problem.
failed because
GoodCloud
Software for Small Non-profits.
A business must be good at everything.
failed because
GoodCloud
Software for Small Non-profits.
Marketing is more important than
product.
failed because
Wieden+Kennedy
The world's most powerful ad agency.

Nike, Coke, Old Spice, everything.
You can only move big things with ...
Coffeehous.es
Intellectual discourse among far-away
friends.
Good ideas are worthless.
failed because
Science for Humans
Communicating scientific research
through short, animated videos.
A man cannot serve two masters.
Or, yo...
That brings us to now.
BuddyUp
Ink and Feet
These feel like they’ll be
successes.
Just like the others did.
You never know.
The things that failure
slowly teaches.
Intention
Doesn’t count.
Empathy
Is the most important personal
skill you can develop.
Fear
Is the best compass

you will ever own.
Change
The world isn’t static. 

Neither are you. Change.
Sacrifice
Nothing is free.
Ego
Do you care enough about your
thing to improve yourself?
You will fail.
Learn how to fall, and how get
up.
That’s what I know.
Which thing are you
going to skip?
One more thing.
You can change the world.
–Margaret Atwood
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the ...
–Steve Jobs
“Everything around you that you call life was
made up by people that were no smarter than
you, and you can cha...
Tomorrow hasn’t
been written.
Write it.
Thanks for listening.
steven@inkandfeet.com
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Ways I've Tried to Change the World and Failed

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The things I've learned in 20 years of taking on big, world-changing projects - and failing.

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Ways I've Tried to Change the World and Failed

  1. 1. Ways I've Tried to Change the World 
 and Failed
  2. 2. My Name is Steven Skoczen and I am trying to change the world.
  3. 3. So I’ve tried.
  4. 4. It turns changing the world is really hard.
  5. 5. So I fail at it a lot.
  6. 6. Here’s my mistakes.
  7. 7. Pick one you’re going to skip.
  8. 8. Let’s get started.
  9. 9. UCSD Use tech to give patients a voice. failed because Scale matters.
  10. 10. ebDB Single repository for all the world's ethnobotanical data. Second System Syndrome is Real. failed because
  11. 11. Olorien Open-source scientific journal software. Sometimes there is no general case. failed because
  12. 12. Cornell University Environmental Engineering degree. Expensive doesn’t mean valuable. failed because
  13. 13. Cornell University Environmental Engineering degree. Sunk cost fallacy is real. failed because
  14. 14. EPA P3 Research Small-scale solar-thermal power. Physics always wins. failed because
  15. 15. SixLinks Information and actions for all the world's biggest environmental issues. If you can't make money at it, stop.
 It's a bad idea. failed because
  16. 16. SixLinks Information and actions for all the world's biggest environmental issues. Burnout is real.
 Never work >60 hrs/wk on anything. failed because
  17. 17. SixLinks Information and actions for all the world's biggest environmental issues. Meet your audience where they are, not where you want them to be. failed because
  18. 18. GoodCloud Software for Small Non-profits. Don't innovate everything.
 Only solve one problem. failed because
  19. 19. GoodCloud Software for Small Non-profits. A business must be good at everything. failed because
  20. 20. GoodCloud Software for Small Non-profits. Marketing is more important than product. failed because
  21. 21. Wieden+Kennedy The world's most powerful ad agency.
 Nike, Coke, Old Spice, everything. You can only move big things with help. failed because
  22. 22. Coffeehous.es Intellectual discourse among far-away friends. Good ideas are worthless. failed because
  23. 23. Science for Humans Communicating scientific research through short, animated videos. A man cannot serve two masters. Or, you have finite time. failed because
  24. 24. That brings us to now.
  25. 25. BuddyUp
  26. 26. Ink and Feet
  27. 27. These feel like they’ll be successes. Just like the others did.
  28. 28. You never know.
  29. 29. The things that failure slowly teaches.
  30. 30. Intention Doesn’t count.
  31. 31. Empathy Is the most important personal skill you can develop.
  32. 32. Fear Is the best compass
 you will ever own.
  33. 33. Change The world isn’t static. 
 Neither are you. Change.
  34. 34. Sacrifice Nothing is free.
  35. 35. Ego Do you care enough about your thing to improve yourself?
  36. 36. You will fail. Learn how to fall, and how get up.
  37. 37. That’s what I know.
  38. 38. Which thing are you going to skip?
  39. 39. One more thing.
  40. 40. You can change the world.
  41. 41. –Margaret Atwood “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does.”
  42. 42. –Steve Jobs “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.”
  43. 43. Tomorrow hasn’t been written.
  44. 44. Write it.
  45. 45. Thanks for listening. steven@inkandfeet.com

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