Summly – What Every Student, Parent, and Grandparent should know!

You have to watch this video.  It’s Charlie Rose interviewing 17 year-old Nick D’Aloisio.  He is the young man who sold his application a.k.a. “app” – Summly to Yahoo for a rumored $30 million dollars.

There is so much to learn from this back and forth it is amazing.  In 16 minutes this young man tells you the future.  Mobile smart phones, learning to write code in his spare time, and creating apps for solving problems for yourself and others is the wave of the future.

Young people never seem to ask for career advice.  I do get an occasional MBA student asking to have a coffee now and again – by the way I don’t drink coffee.  I have been asked twice in the last four years for career advice and when I answer develop an “app” complete silence and a blank stare usually follow.  Everything in society today is changing at such speed it’s hard to catch your breath.  I see young people today lined up for commerce degrees and MBAs thinking of riches like past alumni.  Let me tell you a little secret.  Finance is so over.  Yes, you could have made a fortune in finance over the last 15 to 20 years when finance was the Wild West.  But finance blew up the world in 2008 and whole societies are now paying the price.  Would I go into finance today if I were a young person?  No way.  (See my blog post “Blowing Up the Financial Business”.)  I would write code.  “Apps” are the Wild West of today and for the foreseeable future.

OK, I get it – you don’t want to learn how to code.  You think it’s boring.  No problem.  Listen to Nick and learn how persistent he was emailing and trying to communicate with Apple’s App Store and his non reply letters they returned.

Then Nick moves into high gear, the piece de resistance of the video. Nick summarizes Steve Jobs words – “People never ask” and offers the famous anecdote of Steve calling Bill Hewlett at the age of 12 asking for spare parts.

Here is Steve’s actual quote,

“Most people never pick up the phone, most people never ask.  And that’s what separates, sometimes, the people that do things from the people that just dream about them.  You gotta act.  And you gotta be willing to fail…if you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”

Better still here are some video clips of Steve actually saying this and other inspirational things.

Rarely have I seen such wisdom.  Such simplicity.  The world is changing in terms of jobs, careers and technology this is true but good old-fashioned persistence and “asking” have never gone out of style either.

The future is so bright with people like Nick coming along.  Makes me wish I was 17 again, how about you?

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