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Things I've Learned by Andrew Porter


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I gave this presentation to the graduating class of 2014 at Regis High School, my alma mater.

Founded in 1914 by an anonymous benefactor and supported by the generosity of her family, its alumni and friends, Regis High School offers a tuition free Jesuit college preparatory education to young men from the New York metropolitan area who demonstrate superior intellectual and leadership potential.

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Things I've Learned by Andrew Porter

  1. 1. Presentation to the GraduatingClass of 2014 Regis High School Andrew Charles Porter Proud Regis Grad Co-Founder and Co-CEO investOrbit andWGC Systems
  2. 2.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the presenter and do not necessarily reflect the views ofWGC Holdings Ltd. or its subsidiaries.  Lessons that blew my mind may be obvious to you. Choose your platitudes wisely!
  3. 3.  The American Dream  Hogwarts  Elaborate selection process  Secret body of ancient and arcane knowledge  Owls  No Emma Watson  No special snowflakes here. Use this to your advantage out in the world.  “If you need to stay up all night to finish the paper, you stay up all night.” – my Freshman English teacher, the year many of you were born (!!!)  Regians need to AIM HIGH. Seriously.  John Kuhner on Princeton Sorry.
  4. 4.  CULTURE MATTERS.  Culture makes people behave differently  Respect it  About face  Hierarchy
  5. 5.  AUDENTES FORTUNA IUVAT  Did I have any special passion for Asia before I began my career? No. But that’s where the jobs were in 2003, and where so much of the world’s future will be decided.
  6. 6.  No matter what you do, it’s about people.  Build strong, authentic relationships around the world.  Help people with no anticipation of reward.  In other words, be a mensch!
  7. 7.  Nobody does it on their own.  It’s who you know. This is not cynical. Quite the opposite. It’s who you make the effort to get to know as a person.  Ask for help. I am bad at this.
  8. 8.  Believe in the power of narrative  Narrative is what sells tech companies. It’s also whatYOU are selling about yourself. It’s a story, a trajectory, a coherent path that points to incredible possibilities.  Don’t be afraid to change your personal narrative (within reason, and sometimes without it)!
  9. 9.  Choose your own tribe. This “new tribalism” is one of the greatest things about the world we live in.  You may find you have more values in common with someone from thousands of miles away in entirely different circumstances than with your first cousin back home.
  10. 10. Resourcefulness is one of the greatest traits “Your job is to find a way” – my first boss
  11. 11.  Work, listen, read, think, pay attention and then. . .  Find a problem and devise a solution, not vice-versa  Know enough to be dangerous!
  12. 12. There are two kinds of startups in the world 1. 20 year-olds building social/mobile/daily deal/insert buzzword 2. People who have spent 10 years in a business, have learned what sucks about it, and start a company with a mission to fix it I am a big believer in the latter camp. It’s about the mission, about improving the world.
  13. 13. Find your mission. This kid found his. Find SomethingWorth Fighting For
  14. 14. Building a Product  If you can’t describe it in simple terms, you’re not building a good product.  investOrbit
  15. 15. There are only four ways to make money on the internet. 1. Charge people a subscription fee to use something ( 2. Take a percentage or referral fee from transactions (PayPal) 3. Build a community of users, and get advertisers to pay you to access the members of the community (Facebook, Google) –YOU are the product. 4. Sell an actual, physical good (Amazon)
  16. 16. Money is the ability to ensure the future of the things and people you care about. No more, no less.
  17. 17.  Wisdom comes with experience. So have more experiences.  Phronesis (φρόνησις): Classical Greek for “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em”  Adapt. Respect other ways of doing things. And yet. . . never, never, never lose your moral compass. It may be the only thing that guides you home.
  18. 18. People only ever remember three things from a presentation. Here are my three. 1. Aim REALLY high, Regians. Trust me. 2. Build strong relationships with good people without regard for immediate benefit 3. Find something worth fighting for. A problem in need of a solution, not vice-versa.