Last month I attended two Commencement ceremonies…Two major rites of passage in one week. It felt like a quantum life-leap.
And it made me want to write my own Commencement Address, to synthesize into some permanent word-granules whatever wisdom I've accumulated…on this planet. In some ways it felt like my last opportunity to convey something essential, important, life-bonding, to my kids.
So I started to try to distill what I've learned in my adventures, and in looking back, I realized that in many ways my education – my Commencement, if you will – began with my own graduation from college, when I moved to Paris for the summer and then Athens for a year on a teaching fellowship.
It was in making that uncharted leap, when most of my friends were taking the well-mapped paths to graduate school, business school, law school and banking, that I really started my own life-journey. And it was in Paris that so many lessons began to coalesce.
Here are the five that stand out for me now.
The most obvious advantage of not needing money is that you can get better terms…
But there are also three less obvious advantages of ramen profitability. One is that it makes you more attractive to investors. If you're already profitable, on however small a scale, it shows that (a) you can get at least someone to pay you, (b) you're serious about building things people want, and (c) you're disciplined enough to keep expenses low.
This is reassuring to investors, because you've addressed three of their biggest worries.