If money, tech, and extracurricular opportunities are what’s critical to kids success, why is the teen suicide rate climbing fastest in high-income, suburban, mostly white schools (along with elite colleges and among entrepreneurs, also mostly white males).
Is there more to education than providing workers to Facebook, Google, and the rest of techdom — who will be needed only until AI is trained to write code?
There definitely is more and it was elegantly summed up by Malcolm Forbes.
Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.
I think if you’re going to look forward to figure out where you’re going, it’s good to know where you’ve been and to look back as well.
But you are also privileged young men. And if you weren’t privileged when you came here, you are privileged now because you have been here. My advice is: Don’t act like it (emphasis mine).
The only way we will change our hero leaders from the shallow ideologues of today is by changing education.
A new breed of heroes requires different skills, such as deep thinking, critical thinking, empathy and the entire range of so-called soft skills.
Ideology, no matter the flavor or parameters, just won’t cut it.
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.
Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
Last week we started looking at our heroes — first as cowboys and then why/how they needed to change. It’s a timely subject, especially considering the attitudes/actions of so many of our current ones — from Donald Trump to Travis Kalanick and all those inbetween.
“The higher you go in an organization, the more those around you are going to tell you that you are right. The higher reaches of organizations–which includes government, too, in case you slept through the past eight years–are largely absent of critical thought. … There is also evidence, including some wonderful studies by business school professor Don Hambrick at Penn State, that shows the corroding effects of ego. Leaders filled with hubris are more likely to overpay for acquisitions and engage in other risky strategies. Leaders ought to cultivate humility.” He ends by advising not to hold your breath waiting for this to change.”
I think much of Dan’s advice is good, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for the advice to be taken.
I think that power corrupts those susceptible to it, not all those who have it; there are enough examples of powerful people who didn’t succumb to keep me convinced.
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
I wrote this post back in 2009 and since then the number of narcissistic leaders in all walks has exploded. It’s literally a global epidemic, with tech leading (pun intended) the way, although the current crop of politicians is still out front. Read other Golden Oldies here.
“Leaders tend to be narcissistic, but you don’t have to be a narcissist to be a leader.” –Amy Brunell, assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University’s Newark campus.
“…narcissistic behavior is a “trait predicting charismatic leadership. People who are charismatic and charming… They think they’re entitled to it. They think they’re smarter than other people and they can get away with it.” –W. Keith Campbell, head of the psychology department at the University of Georgia in Athens.
Narcissism isn’t necessarily bad, but it is growing. When psychiatrists deemed it a bonafide personality disorder in the 1980’s it affected 1% of the population; in 2008 the number stood at around 6.2%.
Most politicians are narcissists, as are many media personalities (neither is surprising), but it seems that more and more business leaders fall in that category also.
There are 7 component traits that are measured.
Although I have no proof, I bet that most, if not all, Wall Street honchos would score fairly high on these traits.
“A study published in December in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people who score high in these traits are more likely to be leaders, but these individuals don’t necessarily perform any better and potentially may become destructive leaders.”
So much for the much-ballyhooed ‘charismatic leader’.
A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read allIf the Shoe Fits posts here
As an entrepreneur, the constant stress around money in vs. money can at times be overwhelming and deeply emotional. Anxiety/angst/anguish/fear-and-loathing, and all synonyms thereof, best describe the feelings swirling in and around the entrepreneurial community these days when the subject of money, AKA funding, comes up — although not so much if you are one of the “chosen”, i.e. connected/entitled.
Bambi Roizen, Vator Founder and Managing Partner of Vator Investment Club, actually sees more money available. (Here is the video and full transcript of her talk at Splash one year ago. The quote is edited for clarity.)
There were about 20 post seed venture funds; now my friend Paul Martino counts probably 200 and there’re going to be a lot more funds. If you think that there’s going to be a crunch, don’t worry about it. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more funds coming to fill that void. I think there’s going to be a lot more specialized funds. (…) I think that’s we’re actually going to see local funds. Local funds investing in local businesses.
Because remember, this is the opening up of title 3 to the average investor. (…) It’s so hard sometimes to look at companies, because they’re so good at telling stories these days. I knew that was going to happen — you’re such great storytellers, you have to be, because you have to sell your vision. But it makes it really hard for investors to know what to invest in, so they’re going to invest in everyone, right? Money is available.
I asked KG what he thought from his perch as a serial entrepreneur who has raised funds in very different economies and attitudes over the years.
“What she says is interesting. However, what we’re seeing is the financialization of the startup/entrepreneurship industry, with the consequence that financial investors will get involved earlier, take larger stakes and leave less for the entrepreneur and the team.
One could say that it is good that capital may become easier to access (if this is true), but the cost of that capital is also increasing since there are now two layers of return that has to be provided much earlier than before — that to the VC and also to the VC’s LPs.
In other words, entrepreneurs are coming earlier into the VC model where only a few outsized returns matter and the majority of companies are pushed/allowed to fail.”
Many VCs treat startups the same way commercial agriculture treats seedlings — once they get to a certain size they are thinned in order to concentrate resources on fewer plants that will yield a larger harvest.
“This may actually be negative for a whole host of companies that have no way of maturing before being put under the pressure of the VC return machine.”
However, newly emergent investors may bring change to the game. Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel have invested together since 2013 and have started a new fund with their own money.
“There’s a huge gap across the generations in terms of how people look at the whole question of time and commitment and what that means,” said Stewart D. Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project and the author of “Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family.”
They crave transparently, have little patience with corporate games and vote with their feet when stymied.
“People are just more disaffected now with that kind of lifestyle and want to have a greater sense of control,” Mr. Friedman said. “Where companies don’t provide that sense of meaning and purpose, their brand as employer is weakened. They’re not going to be able to compete for the best and the brightest.”
aMillenial-style entitlement is even invading the hallowed halls of Wall Street.
“The longstanding tradition of 100-hour work weeks, that’s not going to be easy to change, but I applaud these efforts,” Mr. Friedman said. “The young people, after two years in an analyst program at a bank on Wall Street, they’re burnt out, they’re saying ‘I don’t want to live like this.’”
Given the attitude, you can expect careers, from medicine to finance, that have historically included long hours, total immersion, high stress and total commitment to change and the changes will be wrenching.
What it means to business, both large and small, is a willingness to provide meaningful work as opposed to just a paycheck—no matter how fat.
Please join me Friday for a first person look at this change and another view on what’s driving it.
“There is a lot wrong with the way we work… (…) But ultimately the primary culprit is us.”
Following that came an essay on busyness to which I really related. Busy seems to be the new black, but you may want to consider varying your wardrobe.
They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.
Now take a look at why living optimistically (not touchy-feely everything is wonderful) has real health benefits and the follow-up real-world example.
“…optimism is not about being positive so much as it is about being motivated and persistent.”
Years ago I wrote Being “Special” Can Ruin Your Children’s Lives and then watched as Millennials graduated college and entered the workforce with no clue that there was more to it than showing up and trying. In a high school commencement speech the speaker told students that they were neither special nor exceptional, but that did not change their value (you can see the entire speech here).
I wonder if there is any room for the ordinary any more, for the child or teenager — or adult —…who will be a good citizen but won’t set the world on fire.
— we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement,” he told the students and parents. “We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole.”
Personally, I believe there is not only plenty of room, but also great need.
We are of enormous value in our own world as well as the world at large.
I know this sounds like a joke, but it really happened.
The comments below were part of a larger discussion regarding role, responsibilities and expectations.
The discussion was at the request of a boss as a final effort to turn a new hire around before the end of his probationary period.
It takes a lot to get to me, but 40 minutes into the conversation the words I uttered were pure sarcasm.
I said, “The world does not revolve around you.”
His response was real, honest and sincere.
After ten seconds of silence he said, “Oh.”
I said, “You as you are special to your parents, your love and some friends. Beyond that you must earn special status through your actions with each individual you meet and in every new situation throughout your life.”
This time the silence lasted closer to 20 seconds.