I had the pleasure of attending SXSWi this year on behalf of Rackspace. I’ve participated in SXSWi activities in previous years but this year I wasn’t working the booths or the parties, rather, I was attending sessions and keynotes. As I prepared my schedule with which sessions I was going to attend, I initially looked past Biz Stone’s (founder of Twitter) keynote. I was in on a keynote from Ray Kurzweil and overheard that Biz Stone was next up in the same auditorium. I stuck around and waited for Biz and I’m glad I did. Different from the other keynote speakers, he took more of a personal approach. He walked us through his journey to get where he’s at today.
There were 5 lessons he went over which I’ve mentioned below. In addition, I have added my comments for each.
“Change is not a triumph of technology, it’s a triumph of humanity.”
With the vast growth of online platforms, people are provided infinite amounts of opportunity to make a difference in the world we live in. People are able to communicate tragedies happening in real time that would have never been exposed to the masses without the use of social online platforms like Twitter. We’re able to make a much larger impact on the world than ever before. Technology is simply a tool you can use to help you get there.
“Opportunities can be manufactured.”
We have the opportunity pave our own pathway. But in order to do that, we have to be passionate about something. It’s easy to wake up everyday, go through the motions, and complain about your job or your life and how there aren’t any opportunities for you. Define what you’re passionate about and envision the path that would take you there. The path may not exist today but if you think outside of the walls you’re contained in today, you can find a door that can take you where you want to be.
“Creativity is a renewable resource.”
If you were to paint a picture today, and painted the same picture some time after that, your pictures won’t come out exactly the same. Creativity lives within your state of emotions. I think often times, we don’t allow ourselves the time to be creative. We’re constantly fulfilling expectations in regards to job and household duties. We have to allow ourselves the time to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm new ideas. The possibilities are endless.
“To succeed spectacularly, be ready to fail spectacularly.”
Success isn’t guaranteed and any entrepreneur would know that. If we allow the negative feeling of failure to overcome us, we can never move on to the next opportunity. We can either look back and think, “what if?” or we can look forward and activate on what we learned.
“There is compound interest in altruism.”
This really touched home for me. Being a part of a cause helps us fulfill our purpose in life. Biz spoke about how in the past, he always donated to a cause, like many of us do today. It’s just something that many of us do. It’s taking that next step forward and being a part of the cause that can really make a difference in the world and help create that domino effect. A simple act of kindness you do for one person, can touch more than just that one person’s life over time. I think this is what life is about.
The very last thing that Biz quoted was that we have the opportunity to “transform the definition of capitalism.”
“We can change the world, build a business, make money and have fun while doing it.”
A big thanks to Biz for a well done keynote full of lifelong advice.