Pilzer Delivers Keynote University Speeches
Advice for college students is now relevant for everyone
Two of my speaking clients have posted recent keynote speeches online—speeches that contain entrepreneurial details of the six companies I founded versus just my traditional economic subjects. You can view these 51-minute speeches in their entirely or in focused 1-3 minute excerpts.
When it comes to managing your career, everything is changing so fast that today’s heresy is tomorrow’s dogma. It is now ancient history when my advice to graduating college students was to join a large company, like I joined Citibank at age 22, or a newly emerging industry, like “Plastics” in the 1967 movie The Graduate, and plan on sticking with that choice for the rest of your life.
The focus of all education today should be to increase your skills at learning new things, and choose your job, and your industry, by how much you learn every day. Today the person who learns new things the fastest succeeds the most.
Sadly, more than half of the population in our incredibly prosperous nation are experiencing serious economic pain. But this time their pain is mostly not determined by the place of their birth, the religion of their parents, or the color of their skin. Individual economic success today is mostly determined by where you, and your employer, are sitting on the rapidly changing technological curve.
Every year our U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continues to rise and rise, although millions of people drop out of the labor force by either retiring early or being underemployed. This is why average GDP per working American rose straight through the last recession even as total GDP declined. Moreover, people today who are correctly employed, or who own the right entrepreneurial business, are prospering like never, ever, ever before.
Think for a moment how rich the people who get the economy right today actually earn. Each billion dollars of net worth represents one thousand million dollars. There are now 536 billionaires in the U.S. and most of them aren’t worth just one billion dollars—they average being worth $5-10 billion each with the top 10 in the U.S. being worth $33 billion to $80 billion each. That’s 33,000 to 80,000 million dollars owned by each of them. And virtually all of them today are self-made from humble origins.
In public, for most of my career I’ve been a economist—writing books, teaching students, advising clients, and giving speeches. But in private, I’ve been an entrepreneur and the founder of six companies. Today, when I leave the speaking podium and enter the classroom, I find that my students want the hear from “Paul the entrepreneur” vs “Professor Pilzer the economist.”
I hope you’ll peruse the two 51-minute speeches that are now publicly posted, and that you enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoyed delivering them. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts.
01:26 You Learn the Most from Your Mistakes
03:29 Business Opportunity exists when you are an unhappy customer
01:38 My children’s education becomes most important
01:49 Graduating in the bottom third of a public high school
04:37 Seeing God in Economics
04:01 How did you convince Wharton to accept you?