At the inaugural Colorado STEM Summit, Thomas Friedman Shared
Five Ways To Thrive In A Hyper-Connected World
1. Think Like a Hungry Immigrant
In a tip of his hat to Sheryl Sandberg, Friedman advises both men and women to "Lean In" and embrace this new, dynamic world of hyper-connectivity. He urges audiences to think similarly to new immigrants by being "paranoid optimists". He calls them paranoid in the sense of knowing the challenges and the threats that exist out there in the world. They're optimistic in the sense that they've already seen how circumstances can improve, and they're always keeping their eyes out for further opportunities for improvement.
2. Think Like An Artisan
Inspired by the Steve Jobs biography, Friedman says you should do your work every day with so much pride and extra effort that you'd want to carve your initials into it, as an artisan would. The idea is to not produce an overly commoditized product/service, but rather to create your own unique value-added brand.
3. Always Be in Beta
Be a work in progress and iterate quickly in the style of Silicon Valley startups. Always be re-learning and re-engineering. He credits LinkedIn's founder Reid Hoffman with saying, "for entrepreneurs, finished is an F-word... We are all works in progress. Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more, grow more in our lives and careers. You will need to adapt and evolve forever – that’s permanent beta."
4. Be Persistent and Curious
Friedman gave the model PQ + CQ > IQ to show that one's curiosity combined with one's persistence, is greater than one's intelligence alone. While the entrepreneurial STEM world is full of bright students, the desire to learn and the grit to stay the course matter even more than raw smarts.
5. Think Like a Perkins Server
In Friedman's hometown of Minneapolis, a waitress at the local Perkins became an unexpected source of inspiration... by serving him extra fruit. While he says she didn't control much in this world, she did have control over the fruit ladle. And by giving him extra fruit, she ended up earning a hefty tip. Friedman advises others to learn three lessons from this savvy purveyor of pancakes: (a) be relentlessly entrepreneurial, (b) change whatever you have control over, and (c) find that new business or opportunity.