It’s speaking gig season, and this is a post about why what we’re doing matters.
Before going there, I want to hammer home a point. Last week, I had the privilege to speak at Facebook’s EMEA HQ during the Dublin Web Summit on scaling culture, while our CEO Jeremy Hitchcock spoke at the actual summit on PRISM & Internet Security. Both talks were big milestones for both of our careers, but more importantly, for our company. The value can not be understated.
The one constant revolving around any talk on any topic is the effect on or by the people involved. Too often, product or funding or executives or acquisitions get all the news, but it’s the community of people affiliated with a company or topic like culture or security that don’t get enough limelight or airtime.
Who benefits? Who caused it? Who built it? Who sold it? Who made it happen? It’s important that each and every person affiliated with a brand realizes his or her importance. Without the people, no talk would be possible for guys like me. So, thanks for that. Being a company executive isn’t about me — it’s about you.
A few months back, I was told by our talented summer intern Jules Nagle that she wanted me to be a guest speaker at Stetson University in Deland, FL, to talk to their Family Business Enterprise degree students.
I had never heard of such a major either, but it turns out Stetson is renowned for it and only one of two universities that offer the program.
Once I spoke with its innovative head Peter Begalla, he invited me down and I accepted.
So what is the Family Business Enterprise program?
It’s when a family business anchors generations of careers with the family eye, always staying true to its legacy and roots. It manifests in many ways, in many companies, and with many family members. (That’s my editorialized definition!) Of course, I questioned my relevance and credibility, a theme at Facebook’s 500 person Dublin office as well.
“Who, me?“, I thought. Neither Dyn or my past employer were my family business. But before I could politely decline, I was adamantly told that I was exactly what the major was all about.
My talk, entitled ‘Living Legacy: Indian Head, York Family, Dyn, New Hampshire‘, could not be more rich in passion, deep ambition, entrepreneurial drive, and the realization that my work and career could really make a multi-generational impact on the world.
This past summer, my grandfather wrote me a letter from the grave. It spoke to me, I gave a speech about it, and I got asked to speak at Stetson. The final line of my talk went something like this:
“Look around you: at your family, your colleagues, your friends, your community (local and Internet), your customers, the next generation. We are in control of our own destiny. What legacy will you leave?”
Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you. Let’s make our grandparents and their grandparents proud.