Reading books and articles is one thing, learning directly from the best entrepreneurs and engineers of our time is another. Co-founder of Prezi, Peter Arvai knows how presenting in an impactful manner. He proved it yesterday at the alumni ceremony on KTH campus. It was a pleasure to listen to his words; I felt inspired, open-minded and somehow lighter afterwards.
Peter started the presentation by saying that “it was certainly the most sentimental prize he has ever received”. With a small audience and his mother in the room, we could barley think that we actually had in front of us the CEO of a 60 million users company. He went through his childhood and how he was enjoying physics as much as dancing when he was a kid. He knew that at some point he would have to choose between the two. Since his dancing skills weren’t too promising, he decided to go for the scientific studies. But something was missing… That is when he heard about a brand-new program offered at KTH in Sweden, called Digital Technology. A degree that would gather computer science, signal theory, cognitive science and HCI. What a great opportunity to combine his passion for science with a human and social approach! At that point, I was smiling, being able to relate to his experience, and feeling happy and honored of being part of the new generation of Digital Technologist at KTH.
Peter Arvei focuses on creativity; we don’t need to be born as a genius or an artist to be creative. What makes the difference is the mindset:
- Are you intrinsically motivated?
- Are you able to make yourself vulnerable?
- Are you able to challenge your assumption?
We should ask ourself these questions. The motivation is the driving force. But it is not sufficient to succeed. We have to accept the failure … and be able to bounce back ! Peter Arvai said, not without humour, that “few years of therapy helped him to accept to be vulnerable”. And that “a solid support from friend and family was essential”.
His main point was that creativity is open to everyone. And that we shouldn’t think too much about the future. We should act now and do things now, because we’ll never know where we’ll be in one year. There is this very sentence that still resonates in my head:
“We spend too much time thinking about what will be in our resumé rather than what will will be on our tombstone.”
It gives a good taste of yesterday’s presentation. A bunch of advices, with a great sense of modesty and humanity. When Peter told us the story of his startup, we learned that he met the head of design and CTO of Prezi between the KTH walls. So, look at your classmates, talk to your neighbors: he or she may be your future partner in crime for your new venture.