Snapchat-lessons from Lipa

What does it take to make it in the world today? This is a question I have been trying to answer for the better part of 2019. I graduated from high school twenty five years ago, before the internet, before e-mail, before cell phones, before Netflix. As a college freshman I typed my papers on a word processor. I socialized by keeping my dorm room door open. I talked to my parents on a telephone using a pre-paid phone card. I am now halfway through my career and the world looks much different than it did back when I was preparing for it. Today, virtually every college student has his/her own laptop and cell phone and is capable of connecting to the world via a dozen social media apps.

Back in August of this year I had the opportunity to speak to a man by the name of Mike Lipa, an executive for Snapchat. I first met him when I brought the administrative team from my school district to his office to get a snapshot of the skills needed to be successful in a Snapchat world. I expected Mike to tell us that we needed to give our students access to advanced math, to provide greater technology resources to our teachers, and to provide STEM based programming, but that is not what we heard at all.

Mike did not say that what we are currently doing to prepare our students for success in an evolving world is wrong, but instead he explained what it was that set him up for success in such a cutting edge industry. The truth is, Mike is a living example of the saying “The A students will end up working for the C students.’ or as Elon Musk said, “I didn’t go to Harvard, but many people who work for me did.”

Check out this podcast episode on The Lasting Learning Podcast to hear how connections, communication, and real relationships helped shape a career and an industry, and how these skills can help define a generation.

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