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10 SKILLS That Will Pay Off Forever

when you think about focusing right you think well focusing is is saying yes no focusing is about saying no focusing is about saying no and you've got to say no no no and when you say no you piss off people and they go talk to the san jose mercury and they write a shitty article about you you know and it's really a pisser because you want to be nice you don't want to tell the san jose mercury the person is telling you this you know just was asked to leave or this or that is that so you take the lumps and apples been taking their share of lumps for the last six months in a very unfair way and it's been taking them you know like a like an adult and i'm proud of that and there's more to come i'm sure there's more to coming some of these i read these articles about some of these people that have left i know some of these people they haven't done anything in seven years and you know they leave and it's like you know it it's like the company's gonna fall apart the next day and and so you know i think there'll be stories like that that come and go but focus is about saying no and the result of that focus is going to be some really great products where the total is much greater than the sum of the parts i made a decision when the computers started to become omnipresent and so that would have been about 1993 that i was going to spend a year and that was the first year that i was teaching in boston pretty much doing nothing but figuring out how intel 486 has worked and it meant there was a lot of other things that i had to put on hold but i did become a competent computer user and i was i'm pretty fast but you know my son it's just annoying as hell to watch him on the computer and on the phone because and my graduate students as well because they're so much faster than me that it's not even funny and i'm not really accustomed to being slower than someone else in the room and so now if i had children now the one thing i would bloody well make sure that they knew was how to use a computer how to program man because if you're smart and you can use a computer you are so much smarter than you are if you're just smart that it's not even funny you know when you talk to people you see this in silicon valley all the time you talk to people who are expert computer users they are so bloody powerful it is just beyond belief so and that that's going to do nothing but expand right because moore's law is not dead and computers are doubling in power every 18 months and and so and who the hell knows where that's going to go but you can't have a standard education and expect to have an extraordinary life it's not going to happen the one breakthrough for all leaders is constant never-ending improvement and that means educating yourself and continuing to develop even greater emotional mastery because that's what affects whether you execute enough the opportunity for self-education is there we have to change our psychology from i'm going to do what everybody else does and i'm mad because it doesn't work anymore to the reality is this is the greatest time to be alive if you're growing you're learning you're educating and you're developing valuable skills it's like if you go to work for mcdonald's i don't know i think the average i read recently is 7.75 an hour in the united states working for mcdonald's the skill sets the value you provide can be taught to anyone in about 20 minutes instead of complaining you got to say where are the skill sets valued in the marketplace and how do i work harder on myself than anything else because if i become more valuable then i will be able to give more do more and change more when i interviewed warren buffett has the most important investment he ever made in his life you know what he said it was i was thinking all the companies he'd done you know he said tony going to dale carnegie said what he goes because by developing myself that's the most important investment those skill sets learning how to persuade learning how to speak learning and influence all my ideas would have died on my lips if i hadn't be able to influence and i learned it from that little course most valuable thing ever did in my life you said when i started microsoft i didn't think of it as all that risky i mean i was so excited about what we were doing it's true i could have gone bankrupt but you know i had a set of skills that were highly employable and in fact my parents were still willing to let me go back to harvard and finish my education if i wanted to you've always got a job with maybelline and the only the thing that was scary to me wasn't quitting and starting the company it was when i started hiring my friends and they expected to be paid and and then we had customers who went bankrupt customers that i'd counted on to come through and so then i got this incredibly conservative approach that i wanted to have enough money in the bank to pay a year's worth of payroll uh even if we didn't get any any payments coming in and you know i'm almost uh true to that the whole time we have about 10 billion now which is is pretty much enough for the next year anyway you know i if you're going to start a company it takes so much energy that you know you it better overcome your your feeling of risk i don't think that you necessarily if you're going to start a company should do it at the start of your career i think there's a lot to be said for working for a company learning how they do things you know if you're young it's hard to go lease premises they they made that hard for me you couldn't rent a car when you were under 25 at the time so i was always taking taxis to go see customers and the people with you know people say we're gonna go have a discussion in the bar well i can go to the bar and but you know that's fun because i'll tell you when people are first skeptical and they go this kid doesn't know anything then when you show them you've really got a good product and you know something they actually tend to go overboard and they think whoa you know they know a lot let's really do an incredible amount with these people so our youth at least in this country was a huge asset for us once we reached a certain threshold it is hard it's hard to hire old older people um because they'll be a little bit conservative about whether they should come and take the risk and it took three or four years before we could go out to the normal sort of employment pool but those those problems that come with starting the firm you better think of those as as part of the the pleasure part of the the challenge that that is part of the the excitement you must find a way to serve [Music] martin luther king said that not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service now we live in a world where everybody wants to be famous and where we admire people for just being famous we think being known brings us value the truth is all of that will fade in time in three years you won't be

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