Asked at 11:00 how he would advise people that aren’t necessarily going into high paying fields Buffet recommends people do what they love. He makes a few notable observations:
A market system does not pay as well in some activities as might seem appropriate given the value of those activities to society
Many people make a fundamental choice between doing something they love or doing something to make money
He can’t recall speaking with someone who spent their whole life doing something they loved and wished in old age they’d made more money instead
The day-to-day reality of how he lives his life really isn’t that different from how most people in the United States live, except for the notable example of traveling by private jet (listen to him explain it because he’s more convincing on this point that I expected)
Asked about Welfare and Social Security at 51:51 (2nd to last question), Buffet challenges the students to think of the world as a lottery they’re born into and to think about what rules it might be worth having in place to take care of the people who draw an unlucky ticket.
On Sunday Freakonomics published an interview with Mark Zuckerberg as part of the Freakonomics series on CEOs and the role of CEO. The Q&A provides broader perspective on the Facebook mission and aspects of how Zuckerberg thinks about connecting people, data, and running a company. It’s interesting to hear Zuckerberg discuss data privacy before the Cambridge Analytica information operations story (the interview was recorded last summer). The full transcript of the interview is posted on the Freakonomics website in addition to the audio.
A few of my favorite highlights:
Information that filters to us through friends is more influential than increased ability to access raw facts
Deciding [as a leader] to let people do things that you disagree with, because on principle you know it’s just going to free up more creativity
Openness and connectedness is not enough to bring people together, a different strategy is needed to achieve “more open, connected, and together”
If the objective is massive change, empowering people is the only way because doing it alone is impossible
Facebook runs multiple versions of the website at any given time to test the impact of new features
“To keep our society moving forward, we have a generational challenge — to not only create new jobs, but create a renewed sense of purpose… by taking on big meaningful projects together, by redefining equality so everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose, and by building community across the world.”
In just under 33 minutes, the founder of Facebook walks through his positive vision of the future and describes the generational challenge facing Millennials built upon three key ideas:
Big meaningful projects
Universal freedom to pursue purpose
Zuckerberg explains that innovation is incremental and the overnight success is a myth. Ideas develop through iteration.
“I know, you’re probably thinking: I don’t know how to build a dam, or get a million people involved in anything. But let me tell you a secret: no one does when they begin. Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started… Movies and pop culture get this all wrong. The idea of a single eureka moment is a dangerous lie.”
We often measure an idea against an imagined state of perfection rather than agains real-world alternatives available today.
“In our society, we often don’t do big things because we’re so afraid of making mistakes that we ignore all the things wrong today if we do nothing. The reality is, anything we do will have issues in the future. But that can’t keep us from starting.”
Three quotes on the Millennial generation:
Millennials are already one of the most charitable generations in history. In one year, three of four US millennials made a donation and seven out of ten raised money for charity. But it’s not just about money. You can also give time. I promise you, if you take an hour or two a week — that’s all it takes to give someone a hand, to help them reach their potential.
I taught them [a middle school Boys and Girls Club] lessons on product development and marketing, and they taught me what it’s like feeling targeted for your race and having a family member in prison.
… and when our generation says “everyone”, we mean everyone in the world.
Contrast Dr. Zuckerberg’s view of Millennials with the pessimistic view Simon Sinek has popularized across social media. Contrast Dr. Zuckerberg’s vision of a global community with the pessimistic and isolationist view of President Trump. You’ll quickly understand why I’m betting on the Millennial Generation, and proud to be a part of it.