I had been reading Keith Ferrazzi's Never Eat Alone for several months now, slowly making progress through it on my Kindle for iPhone while waiting in line, doing errands, etc. I finally finished it last week and am happy to report my biggest takeaways from the book.
Overall, the book is pretty famous and has been around for a while. I feel that many of its core lessons have spread widely and are now much of the foundation in a lot of the networking literature and how-to guides out there (including what is taught at UCLA Anderson and its career center). This is a good thing, as much of the philosophy in the book makes sense.
The overall lesson is that success in business and in life revolves around relationships, and one can improve one's skills in relationship building and maintaining through discipline and practice.
Here are my personal biggest takeaways from the book:
The book was definitely enjoyable, easy to read, and useful, and I look forward to trying out some of its recommendations soon.
I'm now trying to get through my backlog of blog post topics, so please bear with me. I hope this content is still useful and relevant.
On January 18, I had the pleasure of hearing Elon Musk speak at a Phi Beta Kappa lecture held at UCLA. As the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, he had a lot of interesting perspectives and way of thinking about his work. I could tell he was a super technical, geeky guy who knew pretty much everything about the engineering efforts in both companies as well as the high-level strategy, which I respected.
He described his three main areas of interest over time:
He described his main goal for SpaceX right now as building a reusable vehicle in order to prepare for interplanetary life and exploration of stars. Right now, transport is very expensive and must be rebuilt for every mission; imagine if you had to buy a new car for every trip you made. The only way to make it economical is to have reusability.
In regards to Tesla, he thinks all vehicles and planes will go electric at some point soon. He described a 3 step strategy for the car company:
What I was most impressed with was his ability to be so involved and familiar with everything in two different ventures; I would have loved to hear from him about he manages his time and attention and how he is able to be a contributing, leading CEO of two quite massive endeavors at once. When I find myself caught in the middle of multiple attractive projects, each of which I could spend unbounded time on, I am often wondering how to best do that, and if that even makes sense (parallel versus serial entrepreneurship).
The third parallel activity he described briefly was Solarcity, which is aiming to create sustainable production of energy through solar technology; they are already apparently enjoying quite good market share. In Solarcity, he does not have a day-to-day role (which he was thankful for), as opposed to SpaceX and Tesla. Regarding Solarcity, he said that our society must have sustainable production and consumption of electricity; Tesla represents sustainable consumption, and Solarcity represents sustainable production.
Overall, it was a fun talk, especially the videos of SpaceX launches that he showed us. I could tell how proud he was of what both companies have achieved and very impressed by his track record and strategy as an entrepreneur.
Last night, I give a short speech about lighting design at "Pecha Kucha SPARK" in Santa Monica.
This event was a series of 6 minute speeches given by a diverse group of presenters from the fields of lighting, architecture, design, and technology.
As I'm not a lighting professional, I did it mostly for fun and for the chance to practice speaking in public about one of my hobbies since high school. My speech was titled, "Rock Concert Lighting and the Meaning of Life," and you can watch it below.