This past week, the New York Times Op-ed Why I Quit Goldman Sachs called attention to Wall Street and Goldman Sachs’ alleged culture of greed. Greg Smith, head of equity derivatives in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa called out his firm for not acting in the best interest of their clients, but in the best interest of their bottom line.
Reform does not happen waiting around for the government to act, in the form of government sanctions, or SEC regulations. Smith spoke out and used the New York Times as a platform to criticize his firm for the way they thought about leadership.
“Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.”
Anyone who reads Under30CEO knows by now: you don’t have to have great wealth, or be part of an old boy’s club to impact change. If there is an issue that you feel strongly enough about, there is no reason in today’s day and age you shouldn’t be able to use your skills to make impact. Invisible Children did it…and don’t tell me their 75 million views came because their organization has money; anyone can launch a viral video campaign.
Join the New 1%
While Thomas Friedman calls for the private sector and the public sector to balance each other out in his Capitalism: Version 2012, as an entrepreneur I have little patience and little faith in our bi-partisan system. If we sit around and wait for the government to do something, we are admitting defeat, and we are admitting that we are the 99%. I propose the next generation of leaders declare now, that we are part of the 1% who take a stand, blow our whistles, and take action. I propose that if you actually do something about the problems you feel strongly about, then you too are part of the 1%.
Today, we are blessed with the loudest technological whistles of all—YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress. While these fancy whistles will come and go, and other innovations will replace them, what will never leave us is good old fashioned blood, sweat, and tears. Don’t just blow your whistle; roll up your sleeves and do something to create change.
What Action Looks Like
Action looks like quitting your high paying job and sharing why with millions of people. Action looks like Blake Mycoskie going to third world countries to give out TOMS shoes and sharing with the world how he did it. Action looks like Lauren Bush’s FEED fashion line providing 60 million meals around the world. Action is coding software that helps millions of Egyptians fight internet firewalls. Action can even be creating a movement to build a more economical, leaner startup, creating a chain of healthy fast casual dining options, or starting a marketing company that helps bring together sports and philanthropy.
All You Need is 99 Followers
Leaders are the top 1% of people who organize others to take action. If you are part of that 1%, then ask yourself—who are my 99 followers? Who are the 99 people who I can influence to create impact? And most importantly, how can we get started as part of the New 1%?
As John F. Kennedy stated in his inaugural address…
“Let the word go forth…that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans…Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country… All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”
Under30CEO Co-founder Matt Wilson is proud to announce that he has been officially named Ambassador to Climate Unchange by global consulting firm Wardour And Oxford. This coming week Matt will be traveling to Iceland to study the effects of climate change on the ecosystem and economy. His role will include the launch of a global advertising campaign titled “Kids These Days” directed by British documentary producer Archie Brooksbank of Bladesman Productions. The campaign will feature Matt exploring natural landscapes with the South Iceland Adventure tour company. He will trek across glaciers, ski down volcanoes, witness the aurora borealis – northern lights and experience the beautiful and fragile environment of Iceland. To learn more, see the recent Climate Unchange press announcement.