Advice for my younger self


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What I would tell my former self 20 years ago before entering the workforce.

Published in: Career, Business
  • Loved the slides. I felt that way myself, working at QCOM. I was always sure I had the best job in the place.
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  • 'get excited and make things', the perfect advice in one memorable, tweetable nugget.
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  • Very well done!
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  • Great job Babak!
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  • Love this.

    Over the past 3 years, I've noticed a drop in the number of students taking the risk to make things. What they don't know is how making things helps you learn -- often the things you didn't know you didn't know. I hope they watch this.
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  • This is great for those who have traveled for more than 2 weeks and want 2 more months.
  • This is great for those who have traveled for more than 2 weeks and want 2 more months.
  • Advice for my younger self

    1. 1. Mirror.
    2. 2. if this talk was about Qualcomm only place that has kept my attention 9+ years. ability to change the world, >1M activations a day. amount of talent here is intimidating. competitive pay. philanthropic. ethical. coolest CEO ever (I’ll tell you over a beer). America’s finest city.
    3. 3. I was asked by HR to share with incoming intern class what I would tell my former self 20 years ago as I started my journey into the working world.
    4. 4. views expressed are my own. tickets for this talk were free, you get what you pay for. exit doors are behind you, one on either side :-)
    5. 5. as graduation approaches, you will start looking for your first job.
    6. 6. you may not realize it, but you are actually starting a hopefully wonderful journey.
    7. 7. two things are guaranteed.
    8. 8. it is a long journey. 40 x 2000 = 80000 hours decisions you make the first 10000 will impact the next 10000 and so on…
    9. 9. getting lost can be scary without a map. there is no map.
    10. 10. but there are compasses. five of them.
    11. 11. choose carefully. many never pick. many don’t realize they have one, (me). don’t judge others by their choice. be honest with yourself when picking.
    12. 12. don’t play it safe by picking the one your parents chose. my dad picked #3 my mom picked #4 my brother + I picked #5
    13. 13. 1. I want to be rich. (my wife jokes with me about picking this one :-)
    14. 14. skip college, start the race at $0 not -$150K get a job, e.g. making $45K a year at Costco save every penny $10K down on fixer-upper in Palm Desert $20K more makes it move-in ready rent covers mortgage, even in downturn rinse + repeat buddy Mark has done it 15x lives comfortably
    15. 15. research on 500K people reveals magic number for “happiness” is $75,000/yr. assume $100K for CA. after that, no substantial increase. study showed mind gets bored with excess. secret is to
    16. 16. 2. I want to be a boss. higher the better.
    17. 17. join growing companies. work your ass off. focus on execution. tallest blade of grass often gets cut. focus on keeping your boss happy. stay while company’s growth pushes you up, leave when see it passing you.
    18. 18. 3. single focus is providing for family.
    19. 19. admirable. but remember, those who make half as much also have kids who worship them. junior college guarantees admission to UC. pay their tuition so they can exert free will when it’s time to pick their compass.
    20. 20. 4. I want to be of service to others.
    21. 21. Heaven. Fast Pass.
    22. 22. there is a 5th compass. it has served me well. it is the one I know best.
    23. 23. first, what is your definition of hell?
    24. 24. definition of hell? when you die and meet the person you could have become. compass #5 guides you away from this fate. how does it work? @thefrankmir
    25. 25. Get Excited + Make Things
    26. 26. Reality Check: it’s not in any job description. get excited + make things
    27. 27. Reality Check: you add it. if they don’t value your brilliance, leave. have faith. don’t flinch. get excited + make things
    28. 28. I didn’t pick #5 after MS CS UCLA ‘94. I planned on using my old one. get excited + make things
    29. 29. my compass then was same as yours now. get excited + make things
    30. 30. but I realized landscape had changed: school : I learn work : I + shareholders make money get excited + make things but that compass wasn’t working anymore. I thought it was broken. I thought I was broken.
    31. 31. I’m not saying don’t work hard, I’m saying work hard at getting excited first. I’m not saying don’t do your job, I’m saying do your job but also build other things you + company need. get excited + make things
    32. 32. I’m not saying it will be easy, I’m saying it will be worth it. get excited + make things
    33. 33. get excited + make things 5ers turn a job testing scanners to running VFX shots. what I learned by GE+MT: img processing customer service 3D animation 3D modeling starting a club creative eye storytelling shaders
    34. 34. when 5ers are asked to implement algorithms, they help redesign them. get excited + make things What I learned by GE+MT: Bad pixel cluster correction Digital signal processing Head mounted displays Low light photography Panoramic stitching Auto-white balance Gesture recognition Electromyography Presentation skills Power reduction Computer vision Image processing Red eye removal User experience Noise reduction Face detection Grip detection Touch screen Auto-focus Sensors Security Tablets SAR RT60 90 patents pending or granted
    35. 35. when their company asks for innovative ideas, 5ers build them an entire new process. get excited + make things what I improved by GE+MT: innovation management conflict resolution public speaking lateral thinking negotiation fund raising networking leadership branding writing grit Qualcomm’s FLUX has helped employees tap into their creative intelligence through regular, short, cozy, moderated brainstorming sessions. teams on 4 continents have captured 70+ patents pending systems, all during lunch breaks!
    36. 36. when 5ers see a wave, they grab a surfboard. get excited + make things Tried to create youTube-like site in ’99 (hint: bad idea!) what I improved by GE+MT: computer programming public speaking media relations raising money business plan networking web design trademarks marketing branding failure sales legal grit
    37. 37. when 5ers can’t find the ball they want for their son, they make it. get excited + make things what I learned by GE+MT: rapid prototyping break-up clauses 3D printing getting taken partnerships shark thank distribution networking web design trademarks kickstarter materials marketing branding tooling patents legal grit
    38. 38. get excited + make things
    39. 39. 5ers take their work seriously, but not themselves. get excited + make things
    40. 40. if not excited at times, don’t worry. get excited + make things
    41. 41. inspiration exists, but it must find you working. - Picasso get excited + make things
    42. 42. only after 40000 hours can I say #5 works: go on more exhilarating journeys. meet more interesting people. do things that will surprise even you. play anywhere since broad set of skills. and when your turn comes, you won’t feel it was all a whirlwind, you will say, “I am ready to go, I am tired.” get excited + make things
    43. 43. get excited + make things Few parting thoughts. . Decide, die on your feet or live on your knees? #1 measure of success? Grit. #1 measure of happiness? Balance. Attitude. Own, then celebrate your ”weaknesses”. Don’t say things you will later regret. “Follow your passion” is bullshit. GPA doesn’t matter if you can’t tell a joke. Their punishment is living with themselves. Don’t mess up the big decisions. Give back.
    44. 44. one last bit of advice. get excited + make things
    45. 45. don’t ever forget which monkey you are. get excited + make things
    46. 46. Qualcomm Intern Class of 2014, I wish you all a safe journey. for those who set sail, guided by #5, the one that will steer you away from meeting the person you could have become,
    47. 47. when you get to Heaven, may God hand you a mirror. Babak Forutanpour @babakf get excited + make things