What I Learned In Utah

It’s a great big country with a vast number of people who may not see things the same way those in L.A. and NYC do. I rode the lift with fiftysomethings who’d never left the state and had great-grandchildren, they lived for their families.

Not everybody has money. It would be so great if the incomes of the wealthy trickled down to those with less, because then those without could spend and boost the economy. That’s right, the American economy is driven by consumer spending. And I saw more straight skis and aged boots worn on the feet of those who deserve better, if only they could afford it.

There’s a thin layer of super-intelligent, super-educated upscale 25-50 year olds living a lifestyle that most are unaware of and couldn’t fathom if they encountered it.

The spoils go to those who pay their dues. For all the stories of the success of college dropouts, there are many more tales of those who went to a good school and a top-notch graduate school and not only got ahead, but are running our country. I’m not saying you cannot make it from a state school, but so many who did then went on to Harvard Business School, or Columbia. Or to an Ivy undergrad and then a state school for business, law or medicine. Life is a long hard slog and if you give up early, don’t bother to get an education, chances are you’re not going to win later, and you’re certainly going to suffer in income. The spoils go to those who stick it out. If you’re eager to get out into the world as opposed to being educated…the joke’s probably gonna be on you.

And this was always true, but not as much as now. Today’s best and brightest know how tough the world is and want to buy insurance to make sure they get ahead, and that’s what education is. Not partying your ass off but getting good grades and networking nonpareil. If you take time off after college to find yourself you’re already being left behind. And it’s your choice, but don’t complain when you hit forty and are left behind.

The wealthy are willing to risk. A friend told me he was willing to lose his two million dollar investment, he didn’t want to, but not all startups succeed. If you’re protecting your assets and afraid of risk you’re gonna get nowhere, the wealthy make big bets.

The successful see the world as their oyster, have confidence that they can change the game, that they’re just as competent as the established movers and shakers.

Today’s younger generation respects its parents. It’s very different from the baby boomer ethos where our parents were clueless and we were doing our best to extract ourselves from their clutches. Parents are heroes, people you look up to, and you’re doing your best to please them, oftentimes doing exactly what they tell you to do.

The winners search for the real story. They don’t stop at the surface. Truth is a labyrinth, an onion, an orange that is peeled. If you stay engaged and listen long enough you might just find out that silent people are in power whilst those bragging have a minimal impact.

It comes down to money. Getting those with it, who have expertise, to commit. And once they do…they ultimately hold all the cards.

Trump truth appeals to the young wealthy, whose success is based on truth. I heard eagerness for Trump to confront Hillary with Bill’s peccadilloes in a debate. In a duplicitous country where image is everything and fakery rules the younger generation with cash and influence and those burdened by modern economics are dealing with reality every damn day, they want to see it evidenced on the political stage. They don’t care that Trump might not have any power if he wins, they want to see things shaken up. Yes, the tech entrepreneurs are all about shaking things up.

Change comes from outside. I know, this is well-documented. But whenever an entrenched player at the corporation tells you about his or her new idea…tune out. The future will be made by those presently not in the business, who are not burdened with any preconceptions, who are not worried about protecting the traditional players. It started with Napster, it’s only gonna get worse.

Stimulation is the essence of life. Sure, some want to do drugs and check out, but they’re missing out. We want to be engaged, in conversation, physical activity, we want to feel alive. And you never feel as alive as you do when you meet new people, who stimulate you and make you look at the world in a different way.

You can’t get to the top from the bottom. Being born with a silver spoon in your mouth helps, but not as much as knowing the right people. Life comes down to who you know. And I’m not saying to jettison your friends who are nice and supportive, I’m just saying if you want to win in business you’ve got to know those who are winning already.

The truly rich might want to hang with other truly rich, but not in numbers. They want exclusivity and privacy. A place where their children can be safe. And so many of the young movers and shakers have families.

The pivot is everything. I met many lawyers who no longer practice law as well as those who’ve turned their companies into something else.

Entrepreneurship is not something you can learn, it’s innate, some people think big and are risk-takers, others are not.

The winners are always thinking about money, that’s how they frame every opportunity, it’s what they learned in business school. If you’re jealous of their cash, you should go to business school too. Even if you don’t start a company, you’ll meet people who can give you a job.

The business people can’t be artists and the artists can’t be business people. But they’re chasing each other’s tails. As much risk as a business person might take, they don’t know how to let go of preconceptions, to truly jump off the cliff because they feel like it. They’ve invested too much in their education, they’re so busy winning they can’t risk losing, not at life. As for artists, once they start telling you about their app and other tech plays tune out, they can’t compete with the big boys. But artists can encapsulate emotions in their work and speak truth to power. In an era where we need the artistic voice most most artists have capitulated.

Time has moved on. Classic rock is in the rearview mirror. For many, Mariah Carey embodies the superstar paradigm. Boomers may have fostered change, they may be a huge part of the population, but their time is nearly done.

Winners try to help you as well as themselves. They ask questions and are always networking. If a winner doesn’t ask you for your Twitter handle or to friend you on Facebook or for your e-mail address, you’re a loser, you’ve got to change your style, you’re doing something wrong, learn how to stop selling and be warm and caring, that draws people to you.

Most people have no idea what’s going on. They think they do, they’ll tell you they do, but they don’t. You can learn a lot on the internet, but you learn most by traveling and actually meeting people. Because people will surprise you. They tend not to be what they appear. Gossip and fame are diversions from reality, they keep you from focusing on the non-sexy who run this country.

Artists are equal to business people, maybe not in money, but even more in power, but you must be true to yourself, you must speak the truth, you must explore the uncomfortable, you must show your warts, you must be unafraid of people and the world. If you’re worried about alienating potential fans, you’re doing it wrong. It’s about bonding those who care to you, and you can only do this by being honest and transparent. Artists can impact this world, if they stop kissing the butts of those with money and have some self-respect…and do what they do at an elite level without compromise, knowing that money is a benefit, but not the main goal in making art.

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