Life at Singularity University is different. A hectic schedule and the constant information overload are certainly part of that difference, but arguably not the most important part. It is really the people you are sharing this experience with. They constitute the backbone of the SU experience uniqueness.
Going through life —40 years in my case— one gets exposed to a sufficiently large number of people and social situations of all types to be able to classify and rank certain personality traits. This information is then more or less consciously arranged in mental categories that shape a person’s worldview. Well, I can honestly say that SU blows away a good number these coordinates.
Let’s examine some personality traits. Generosity is an important one. In any given group you tend to find your Ms. Generous, your Mr. So-and-so and then a whole bunch of people truly devoted to not getting dragged into any ‘problem’ outside of their very strict remit, whatever that may be.
At SU pretty much everyone belongs to the first category. Never in my professional career I have across a group of individuals so predisposed to helping each other out. Pretty much everyone is included, I would say. Examples abound. From an individual peer-to-peer teach-in sacrificing the little time available to relax when classes end, to faculty members always open to answering questions and suggesting ways forward to address any issue raised.
This leads me to agility, which is another important trait. I prefer to focus on mental agility than on intelligence because I find it to be a more concrete and easier to define concept. Again, from past experience, we all tend to have our mind maps on how people can be quicker or slower in processing information conveyed and making suggestions from its analysis. Anyone at SU will amaze you with how oriented they are to finding solutions as soon as any problem is put on the table, day in and day, in truly astonishing form.
And then there is strength. Some of the world’s most reputed investors frequently highlight that success is not in the idea inasmuch as in its execution. It is the ‘how’ over ‘what’ issue. I have also found this to be a really special thing here at SU. A responsible commitment, more or less linked to an optimistic view of the world and one’s capabilities, to really try hard and give it one’s best shot.
Only time will tell, but I am absolutely convinced that regardless of the —highly probable— number of project and business failures that we will face as an alumni class, resilience will trump despair and those of us temporarily labeled as failed entrepreneurs will try again and again, with renewed energies even, until all planets align in the entrepreneurship constellation and we are finally able to have the impact in society that we now dream and talk about pretty much in every conversation.
[To be continued...]