Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Review. There are some gems in hislessons learned list.
“When public speaking, pause frequently. Pause before you say something in a new way, pause after you have said something you believe is important, and pause as a relief to let listeners absorb details.”
“You will be judged on how well you treat those who can do nothing for you.”
“When you are stuck, explain your problem to others. Often simply laying out a problem will present a solution. Make “explaining the problem” part of your troubleshooting process.”
Through a mentoring program with the nonprofit StartOut, I’m working with a firecracker named Steve.
StartOut is the national nonprofit that creates great leaders by empowering LGBTQ entrepreneurs.
I’m telling you this cat Steve is on fire. He’s pulling together the biggest deals for a big San Francisco tech company. We meet by phone every two weeks and have never met in person. He’s all business and I appreciate that in the exchange. But he is intense.
He’s also full of young me-ness, so I know where he’s coming from. Having been a young star myself, the world doesn’t always welcome you and your big sense of self.
So it was no surprise that he has a nemesis. This asshole takes credit for his work, tries to undermine him and makes it generally unpleasant to work there. Those kind of downer people can really take the wind out of your sails. And you can’t always turn those situations around. If you can, your heart may be out of it by then. So, we’re agreed that he’s moving on.
He’s interviewing at all the usual mega-unicorns and they quickly see a talent they could use. He’s got this covered. Steve is confident, has the numbers to prove his value and I imagine presents well. You should see his polished LinkedIn profile picture.
And still a Google search on him shows little about his expertise. What will his next advocate find out about him beyond a good interview? Why is he exceptional? He has to change that by writing about what he does.
He’s working on a case study on his big win at the company. My challenge for him was to write another story anonymized with more about the process. Why are you the best at this? Break it out into … more
You’ll get further in work and life with a savvy someone nearby
The Mell Brothers invited me to their wonderland of an art studio in Phoenix when I was 19. They were part of a community of open-minded artists that made the otherwise bland city tolerable to a young artist like me. I was eager to meet anybody who would confirm that the path I was taking was all right.
They had an airbrush-work area, which was of special interest to me at the time. They meticulously showed me the various techniques and flourishes possible with the propelled ink that I was trying to master on my own. I’ll never forget that time and while I haven’t picked up an airbrush in a while, I remember how the experience informed the next painting and then the next, and also my ideas of how my life could be molded as a professional doing what I loved.They were very generous with their time. They lent me books on hand-lettering and gave me and my friends supplies to do our thing.
I only hope now that I was considerate of their time; that I produced art that showed promise for their investment in me.They were one chapter in a long list of people who took an interest in me and have given me the threads of influence that I now can see have formed me and my work. They didn’t come knocking on my door. I was really out there — driven and curious to meet anybody who would teach me and help me find my way.
Get a mentor
We’re all around you
If you’re new to the scene, to your vocation or just clarifying your interests, seek out those people who likely could help you in your path and have a level of integrity