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寄语MBA毕业生

2011-09-08  述古斋

    前几天,在美国科罗拉多大学博尔德分校(CU Boulder),我给一班即将毕业的MBA学生做了一次讲话。在他们毕业前的最后一堂课上,很多非常风趣的风险投资家和企业家作为客座讲师受邀参加。我们进行了长达数小时的问答互动交流,话题涵盖范围非常之广,大家都乐在其中(至少我自己很享受)。最后,任课教授让我给在座即将毕业的MBA学生们提点建议。我思考了片刻,然后简短地说了这样几点:

    试想一下,假如你现在已经45岁,回首自己过去15至20年的生活经历,你是否认为你的工作和生活充满意义?

    在现在这个阶段,请不要忧虑金钱。因为,你总会找到薪酬颇丰的工作。不要为自己的简历大为伤神。不要担心诸如“我是否正确地规划了自己未来五年的发展”之类的问题。我见过太多人,他们到了45岁的时候,挣足了钱,职业生涯颇为成功,但是却对自己的生活现状、居住地甚至现在的工作并不满意。你们可不要成为这样一群人。

    首先,请选出你希望开始打拼的地方。如果你想留在博尔德,就请弄清楚这里的生存法则;如果你想去纽约,可以很方便的搭乘美国联合航空(United Airlines)的航班,四小时就能抵达目的地——一毕业就立马动身。想去旧金山?飞机两小时就到了。果断前往,到了那儿再想该怎么办。千万不要光嘴上说“总有一天我会在那里生活”。无论你想去哪里打拼,想到就去做吧。对了,顺便插一句,蒙大拿州也是一个很酷的地方,还有奥斯汀、西雅图、迈阿密、华盛顿,还有全美至少95个其他城市,都很不错。

    接下来,选择一个愿意投身的行业。如果你从10岁起就梦想成为一名投资银行家或《财富》杂志美国1000强企业的顾问,那么你正是高盛(Goldman Sachs)或麦肯锡(McKinsey)在寻找的人才。如果你想成为一个企业家,那么在投资银行或咨询公司的工作经历对你来说毫无意义。现在就去创业吧。选择一个最能让你充满激情的行业——一个让你从一开始便站在高起点的行业(如软件、互联网、清洁技术等),然后对你真正关心的事务以及你希望解决的一系列问题做出选择。如果你没有技术背景,那么赶紧去找一位懂技术的合伙人来创业——在这所大学的校园里,技术人才成百上千。别老窝在这里,马上行动起来!

    最后,确定正视自己的生活。你们年轻有为、前途无量,生命还有大把时间可以利用。但是切忌“虚度光阴”,因为你永远都无法预知生命何时就会走到尽头。

    的确,这比我当时讲的更有说服力,但这就是我想表达的想法。而且我认为,这对于任何即将获得MBA学位的毕业生来说都适用。当年我从麻省理工学院斯隆商学院(MIT Sloan)获得理学硕士学位(1988年还没有设立MBA学位)毕业时,我就一直严格遵循这三条原则。但直到1995年我和艾米搬到博尔德后,我才认真考虑要在哪里生活。现在回想起来,我当时并没有一味想着挣钱(反而后来挣了很多),而是将全部精力用在创建一家软件公司(后来逐渐发展成为帮助打造软件/互联网公司)。生活中的每分每秒经历,起起落落、悲欢离合,我都认真度过。

    现在就去做重要的事情,只要你认为重要就行。这个世界需要你去这么做。你也会发现你的生活正发生着不可思议的变化,变得更有意义、更加幸福、更为充实。

    作为一名前期投资人和企业家,本文作者布拉德?菲尔德在相关领域已有二十多年资历。他在与人合伙创办Foundry Group之前,是Mobius风险投资公司的合伙创始人之一。而在早前,他创立了Intensity风险投资公司,为很多软件公司起步与运营提供支持。布拉德还是科技之星(TechStars)的合伙创始人之一。

    翻译:C.Z.

    I gave a talk yesterday to a class of soon-to-graduate MBA students at CU Boulder yesterday. It was their last class in the course that had been filled with a bunch of interesting VC and entrepreneurial guest lecturers. We did Q&A for several hours, covered a lot of ground, and had plenty of fun (or at least I did.) At the end, the professor asked if I had any final words of advice to the room full of MBAs who were about to graduate. I thought for a moment and then said an abbreviated version of the following.

    Imagine that you are 45 and are looking back on your last 15-20 years. Is your work, and life, full of meaning?

    Don't worry about money right now. You can always get a job that pays you plenty of money. Don't worry about your resume. Don't worry about "am I positioning myself the right way for something five years from now." I know way too many 45-year olds who have plenty of money, have done all the right career things, yet are unhappy with where they are in life, where they live, and what they do. Don't be that guy or gal.

    Start by choosing the place you want to make a life. If it's Boulder, figure out how to stay here. If it's New York, there's an easy United flight that gets you there in under four hours – take it the day after you graduate. San Francisco? That flight is only two hours long. Just go and figure it out when you get there. Don't talk about "I'm going to live there some day" – go get in the middle of wherever it is that you want to build a life. Oh, and Montana's a pretty cool place also, as is Austin, Seattle, Miami, DC, and at least 95 other cities in the United States.

    Next, choose a domain that you want to dedicate your life to. If you've dreamed of being an investment banker or consultant to Fortune 1000 companies since you were 10, then Goldman Sachs (GS) or McKinsey is looking for you. If you want to be an entrepreneur, working at an investment bank or consulting firm for a while is pointless. Be an entrepreneur starting now. Pick that domain that turns you on the most – start at a high level (e.g. software, Internet, clean tech) but then pick a thing that you really care about and a set of problems you want to solve. If you aren't technical, go find a technical co-founder right now – there are hundreds of them on this campus. Get your ass out of your chair and just get started.

    Finally, make sure you are living your life. You are young and hopefully have plenty of time on this planet. But don't wait because you never know when the lights are going to go out.

    Ok – that's more cogent than what I probably said in real time, but it's what I meant. And I think it applies to anyone about to graduate with an MBA. When I graduated from MIT Sloan with an SM (they didn't have MBAs back in 1988) I was already following three of these – I hadn't focused on where I wanted to live until 1995 when Amy and I moved to Boulder. But when I look back, I didn't care about money (and subsequently made plenty of it), I focused all of my energy on building a software company (which evolved into helping create software / Internet companies), and I lived my life every single moment – the ups, the downs, the dark depressed days, and the euphoric moments.

    Go do something important right now, whatever that is for you. The world needs it and your chances of living a meaningful, happy, and fulfilling life will increase dramatically.

    Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over twenty years. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures, a company that helped launch and operate software companies. Brad is also a co-founder of TechStars.




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