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Blueprint to a Mogul: Switching it Up Like Jigga

“The best style is no style. Because styles can be figured out. And when you have no style, they can’t figure you out.” – Jay Z

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you have seen at least part of Jay Z’s slow and steady rise to the top. Though he began his career in music, and continues to make moves in that genre, the 45 year old has added several other career labels to his name. A brief read over of his biography and you see job titles like former Def Jam Records president, co-founder of Roc-a-Fella Records, Rock Nation Sports owner, 40/40 Club owner, Brooklyn Nets co-owner, author, and now streaming music service owner. His ability to move fluidly between career fields is what makes him the definition of a mogul. But what is it about him that makes this possible?
Biography
Jay Z was born Shawn Corey Carter on December 5, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the youngest of four children and raised by a single mother after his father left the family when he was 11 years old. Jay’s early environment in the Marcy housing projects meant his surrounding environment included plenty of drugs and crime.  In “Where I’m From” he rapped, “I’m from… up the block, around the corner and down the street/ From where the pimps, prostitutes and the drug lords meet/We make a million off of beats, cause our stories is deep.” Though he could have remained in this environment his whole life, he used this same upbringing to motivate himself to pursue bigger dreams.

While he began rapping in his teen years, it wasn’t until the early 90s that he began to get a little spotlight from working with artists like Big Daddy Kane and LL Cool J. He encountered struggles from large record companies who refused to sign him, so in 1995 he began his own record label, Roc-A-Fella Records with friend Damon Dash. Here he released his first solo album, Reasonable Doubt, which Rolling Stone named one of the 500 Greatest albums of all time. Over the next 17 years Jay Z would release another 10 records, ultimately selling over 100 million records and earning 19 Grammies for his work.

Throughout his career as a musician he began planting his foot firmly in other ventures and established himself as a true mogul. Some of his most significant business achievements include buying a piece of the New Jersey Nets basketball team and moving them to his hometown of Brooklyn, becoming president of Def Jam Records, founding a sports management company, and landing the cover of Forbes magazine alongside billionaire Warren Buffet. To date he is worth nearly half a billion dollars! These accomplishments show how diverse Jay Z’s skills are. As he rapped in Kanye West’s Diamonds are Forever Remix, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a BUSINESS, man.”

Code Switching
Though a number of his talents have led him to success, it is his ability to work seamlessly in several different fields that has enabled him to try so many different projects. In particular, a skill called “Code-switching” allows him to speak and behave appropriately in different circumstances and with very different crowds. Code switching is defined as the practice of alternating between two or more varieties of language in conversation.  He summed up this skill perfectly in a 2005 Rolling Stone article, “Be water. If you pour water in a cup, it takes the shape of a cup. If you pour it in a teapot, it takes the shape of a teapot. Be fluid. Treat each project differently. The best style is no style. Because styles can be figured out. And when you have no style, they can’t figure you out.”

So how often do people have to rely on code-switching to succeed? When have you relied on code-switching to get ahead? Is it strategy or selling out? To a mogul, it’s just another tool in the arsenal.

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Blueprint to a Mogul: How to be S.M.A.R.T. Like Zuckerberg

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Mark Zuckerberg attended one of the most prestigious colleges in the country: Harvard University. For most 19 year olds, studying and socializing would keep them busy enough, but while there, Mark Zuckerberg created what was to become become the biggest social network in the world.

It may be hard to imagine your life without social media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, or Tumblr. What started as a way to connect college students to one another became a way to connect people to friends and family across the world.

Undeniably, Zuckerberg or “Zuck” leads the list as one of the richest people in the world. While he has certainly accumulated a fortune, his goal has never been to make money. His goal has always been to make a great product, and “make money to build better services.” Facebook currently owns more than forty companies, including some of its former competitors, including WhatsApp and Instagram.

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Biography

At the age of 24, Mark Zuckerberg  became the youngest billionaire on the planet. As the face and CEO of Facebook, he remains one of the most recognizable people in the world. You would never know the extent of his wealth by his wardrobe (grey T-shirt and hoodie), home (he only recently upgraded from a modest rental home), or cars (most often seen in a VW or Acura). This is a man who lives below his expansive means. What started as a college directory of sorts has amassed well over a billion users.

Mark Zuckerberg grew up in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County, New York, where his father still practices dentistry. In fact, one of his earlier successes was a program that allowed his dad’s home computer to communicate with his office computers. While still in high school, Microsoft bid on another program of his, a music player called Synapse Media Player, but he ultimately rejected this offer. Zuck is a man who likes to maintain control; he carries a majority vote, which allows him to be the ultimate decision maker of his company.  He is also not afraid of risk, or of what people think. But Zuck is always thinking and staying true to the mission of the company, which has stayed the same since its inception: to make the world more open and connected.

While at Harvard, Zuckerberg met his wife Pricilla Chan, now a medical resident. They currently reside in Palo Alto, California with their dog, Beast. The Zuckerbergs are huge philanthropists, giving millions of dollars to education and medicine, as well as to other charitable organizations.

Goal Setting

Read, listen, or watch any interview with Zuckerberg, and the word “focus” is likely to come up. Let’s put it this way, this word was stenciled on the bathroom walls of Zuckerberg’s original California office. When asked in an early 2005 interview about the future of his company, then known as TheFacebook, he talks about “focusing intensely” on making a really good product, i.e.,  a college directory. His world at the time consisted of his college, and Zuck succeeded at making Harvard more open and connected. Once he succeeded at Harvard, he expanded this online directory to other universities across America, and soon the world. In later years, his focus on making a great product has not wavered, nor has his mission in connecting people, however, now his goal’s reach is a bit bigger: to connect “every person in the world.”

So, how did Zuckerberg achieve what he did within just a few years? He set a mission or focus, and he decided how he was going to achieve it. Another way of thinking about this is goal setting. If Zuckerberg had set out to connect billions of people together, his mission would surely have failed miserably. However, by having a narrow focus in the college world, he was able to succeed in that particular realm.

Goal setting is so important to him that he has said that the daily habit that has led to his success is “knowing what you want to accomplish each day” and acting proactively, not reacting to things that have already happened. This means that he is always looking ahead, anticipating problems and finding solutions before they actually occur.

 

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Blueprint to a Mogul: How to be S.M.A.R.T. Like Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg attended one of the most prestigious colleges in the country: Harvard University. For most 19 year olds, studying and socializing would keep them busy enough, but while there, Mark Zuckerberg created what was to become become the biggest social network in the world.

It may be hard to imagine your life without social media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, or Tumblr. What started as a way to connect college students to one another became a way to connect people to friends and family across the world.

Undeniably, Zuckerberg or “Zuck” leads the list as one of the richest people in the world. While he has certainly accumulated a fortune, his goal has never been to make money. His goal has always been to make a great product, and “make money to build better services.” Facebook currently owns more than forty companies, including some of its former competitors, including WhatsApp and Instagram.

Biography
At the age of 24, Mark Zuckerberg  became the youngest billionaire on the planet. As the face and CEO of Facebook, he remains one of the most recognizable people in the world. You would never know the extent of his wealth by his wardrobe (grey T-shirt and hoodie), home (he only recently upgraded from a modest rental home), or cars (most often seen in a VW or Acura). This is a man who lives below his expansive means. What started as a college directory of sorts has amassed well over a billion users.

Mark Zuckerberg grew up in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County, New York, where his father still practices dentistry. In fact, one of his earlier successes was a program that allowed his dad’s home computer to communicate with his office computers. While still in high school, Microsoft bid on another program of his, a music player called Synapse Media Player, but he ultimately rejected this offer. Zuck is a man who likes to maintain control; he carries a majority vote, which allows him to be the ultimate decision maker of his company.  He is also not afraid of risk, or of what people think. But Zuck is always thinking and staying true to the mission of the company, which has stayed the same since its inception: to make the world more open and connected.

While at Harvard, Zuckerberg met his wife Pricilla Chan, now a medical resident. They currently reside in Palo Alto, California with their dog, Beast. The Zuckerbergs are huge philanthropists, giving millions of dollars to education and medicine, as well as to other charitable organizations.
Goal Setting

Read, listen, or watch any interview with Zuckerberg, and the word “focus” is likely to come up. Let’s put it this way, this word was stenciled on the bathroom walls of Zuckerberg’s original California office. When asked in an early 2005 interview about the future of his company, then known as TheFacebook, he talks about “focusing intensely” on making a really good product, i.e.,  a college directory. His world at the time consisted of his college, and Zuck succeeded at making Harvard more open and connected. Once he succeeded at Harvard, he expanded this online directory to other universities across America, and soon the world. In later years, his focus on making a great product has not wavered, nor has his mission in connecting people, however, now his goal’s reach is a bit bigger: to connect “every person in the world.”

So, how did Zuckerberg achieve what he did within just a few years? He set a mission or focus, and he decided how he was going to achieve it. Another way of thinking about this is goal setting. If Zuckerberg had set out to connect billions of people together, his mission would surely have failed miserably. However, by having a narrow focus in the college world, he was able to succeed in that particular realm.

Goal setting is so important to him that he has said that the daily habit that has led to his success is “knowing what you want to accomplish each day” and acting proactively, not reacting to things that have already happened. This means that he is always looking ahead, anticipating problems and finding solutions before they actually occur.

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Bitcoin: The History of Money and the Future of Digital Currency

MONEY! Is it the root of all evil? If you have more money, do you have more problems? Who created money? Why was it created?

 

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The Internet has a history of people being skeptical about spending their hard earned real world cash in a virtual space. Many people were afraid of Internet scams when ebay was first launched in the late 1990s, and with good reason. There were fears of using Paypal to make online payments and never receiving your product. Over time, online spending has become commonplace. With Amazon.com, iTunes, and the google Play store (to name a few) it’s becoming less common to do your shopping in the physical world. Buying music, books, clothes and even groceries online is viewed as safe and normal in our current society.

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With all of our digital spending, there is now a growing trend in developing a digital currency. There have been attempts at this since 1990 (see the failed Whoopie Goldburg endorsed “Flooz”) but in the past few years there has been a stronger acceptance of digital currency and there is a possibility that Bitcoin could become a new common form of money. It would be money without government regulation, recognized across the world, completely revolutionizing the way our global economy functions.

Of course, with a brand new form of currency, there are a few concerns. Many digital currencies have failed because they have been used for money laundering. With anonymous identities, digital currencies have been used to buy and sell drugs and make other illegal transactions over Dark Web marketplaces like the Silk Road.

So, what does the future look like for digital currencies? Are you ready to join the Bitcoin revolution? Is it a safe investment or a waste of money? In this lesson, take a look at the history of money and where it’s heading in order to make a choice on where you stand.

 

History-of-Money

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The Entrepreneur Brain: How Is It Wired Differently?

Right or Left?

Brain Scans performed at MIT show that Entrepreneurs tend to use their brains differently than most people, and think in a very specific way.  While we use both sides of our brains simultaneously without thinking about it, people tend to think “more with their left brain” or “more with their right brain” when making decisions.

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“Left brained people” are more analytical and this is the side of the brain that uses logic, reason and critical thinking. They also use information that they already know.  “Right brained people” have been known to be more creative, free flowing, and use emotions when it comes to making decisions, turning outward to learn in order to think.   As it turns out, to handle the decisions of running your own business, it is beneficial to think both creatively, and think logically at the same time, that way you are following your heart and your brain – making emotional yet well thought out choices.

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Nature Vs Nurture

Do people become entrepreneurs because of the way their brains are wired or do entrepreneurs evolve their way of thinking and brain activity as a result of their work? This is a question for further research, whether entrepreneurs’ brains function this way because of the kind of decisions they’re used to making, or whether people with these more interconnected brains are more likely to identify problems in the world and create solutions in the form of a business. “It’s a nature versus nurture question,” said Professor Maurizio Zollo, the lead author of the study.

Working Differently, Together

Despite the differences between either side of the brain, both sides of the brain really do work simultaneously, most of the time.  In one study by researchers at the University of Utah, more than 1,000 participants had their brains analyzed in order to determine if they preferred using one side over the other. The study revealed that while activity was sometimes higher in certain critical regions, both sides of the brain were essentially equal in their activity on average.

“It’s absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don’t tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection,” explained the study’s lead author Dr. Jeff Anderson.

The debate over the differences between the two sides of the brain will undoubtedly continue, and perhaps more studies will shed a clearer light on the relationship between the hemispheres.  Perhaps people who are more left or right brain oriented, and who desire to become skilled in using both more simultaneously will be able to legitimately train themselves in the near future.

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Jessica Jones And The Very Real Power Of Suggestion

The latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; Netflix original series Jessica Jones, pits it’s super powered detective heroine against the super villain Zebediah Killgrave, better known to comic fans as the Purple Man. Despite his less-than-intimidating name, Purple Man has a very formidable ability: he can make people do whatever he asks.

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Using these powers, Killgrave has committed crimes ranging from theft, to bank robbery, to over-throwing whole countries. And even a few that are too despicable for us to mention here.

Comic writers have explained this ability in different ways over the years, including super pheromones and telepathy. But there’s one possible explanation which is frighteningly real: the Power of Suggestion. To put it another way, sometimes all Killgrave has to do to make people obey him is ask the right way.

Now, if you’ve ever gotten into a fight with a teacher or parent because you wouldn’t do something they wanted you to, you might think this sounds more far-fetched than the super pheromones. But scientists would disagree with you, especially this one: Stanley Milgram.

Milgram performed one of the most famous experiments on human obedience of all time, and is the subject of Magnolia Picture’s feature: The Experimenter.

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What Milgram was trying to find out was how much you could get a person to do, just by asking. In his experiment, he asked regular people to press buttons on a console. The buttons were connected to another person in an adjoining room, who unbeknownst to the test subject was actually an actor working with Milgram. Whenever the buttons were pressed, the actor would pretend to get an electric shock, scream in pain and beg the test subject to stop. Milgram however, asked the subjects to continue pressing the buttons. No matter how much they thought they were hurting the other person, they kept pressing the buttons as long as Milgram asked them to. Some even kept going after they thought they had killed the other person. The test subjects were offered no reward for following the instructions, and there was no penalty if they didn’t follow them. Their only motivation to listen to Milgram was that he was a scientist and he said “please”. Maybe it really is a magic word…

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Although Milgram’s experiment is controversial, his finding remain popular and some have used them to answer questions such as “why do people join cults?” and “why do people follow dictators?”. And they definitely make Killgrave and his abilities seem that much scarier.

So the next time someone wants you to do something, think hard about who’s asking before you say “yes”.

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How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

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When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

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There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

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Networking with the Many Faces of Jimmy Fallon

 

Lights, Camera, Action!

Networking is a type of performance. Professional relationships are different from friendships in that the fundamental purpose is mutually benefitting each other’s careers. This means that networking conversations are not exactly about getting to know the other person. Instead, a networking conversation consists of several people performing to each other as more valuable versions of themselves.

This sounds dishonest, but it isn’t. Every job requires some form of performance, from pretending to be more excited about your company’s products, to performing friendliness to coworkers and bosses, to even performing as accessible and fun on social media. Acting as a better version of yourself is part of every job.

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You Catch More Flies With Honey

When networking, professionals perform as their most trustworthy, most likeable, and most important selves. It’s no surprise that Jimmy Fallon, who performs as likeable characters, is a master at networking.

Fallon’s roles and personas are all based on likeability and accessibility. Even his Southie teen Sully is based on an open, good-hearted style of humor. His celebrity impressions, from Adam Sandler to Neil Young, are friendlier, more honest versions of the real celebrities.

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What Would Jimmy Do?

All his characters, in real life, would be excellent at building professional relationships.  In this lesson, students will use these characters as foils for developing networking strategies. They will decide how to approach the Weekend Update guy, how to impress Jarret of the slacker webcast, and even think about what they could offer Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon himself. Finally, students will act out a networking event with their classmates.

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How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

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Blueprint to a Mogul: Reaching Goals Like Shonda Rhimes

 

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Shonda Rhimes is one of the most powerful people in television. As the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to get Away with Murder, she is the backbone of ABC. And ABC lets her do whatever she wants. When Rhimes was criticized for refusing to read notes from the executives on Scandal, she simply replied, “What were they going to do, fire me?”

Rhimes wasn’t always a powerhouse. In college, Shonda wanted to write world-changing novels like her hero Toni Morrison. However, she found that there was no point in aspiring to be like Morrison. As she put it, “I couldn’t be Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, because Toni Morrison already had that job and she wasn’t interested in giving it up.”

In 2002, she was a B-list screenwriter who had just adopted a child. While looking after the baby, she found herself watching a lot of network TV, including 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel.

Rhimes got where she is by writing what she wanted to see on TV. This makes her style, and even her genre, hard to pin down. Is Grey’s Anatomy a medical drama or a romantic soap? Is Scandal a romance, a political drama, or a conspiracy thriller? No one knows what to say about her work, other than that it’s something that no one has seen before.

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In that spirit, this lesson isn’t about how to become TV mogul Shonda Rhimes, she already has that job. What you can do is put in the kind of work that Rhimes put in, to become a creative mogul on your own terms. This lesson will help you assess what you can offer to the world and figure out what you need in order to build a new creative empire.