TED商业:Kare Anderson: Be an opportunity maker

I grew updiagnosed as phobically shy,and, like at least 20 other peoplein a room of this size,I was a stutterer.Do you dare raise your hand?

And it sticks with us. It really does stick with us,because when we are treated that way,we feel invisible sometimes,or talked around and at.And as I started to look at people,which is mostly all I did,I noticed that some peoplereally wanted attention and recognition.Remember, I was young then.So what did they do?What we still do perhaps too often.We talk about ourselves.And yet there are other people I observedwho had what I called a mutuality mindset.In each situation, they found a way to talk about usand create that "us" idea.

So my idea to reimagine the worldis to see it one where we all becomegreater opportunity-makers with and for others.There's no greater opportunityor call for action for us nowthan to become opportunity-makerswho use best talents together more oftenfor the greater goodand accomplish things wecouldn't have done on our own.And I want to talk to you about that,because even more than giving,even more than giving,is the capacity for us to do something smartertogether for the greater goodthat lifts us both upand that can scale.That's why I'm sitting here.But I also want to point something else out:Each one of youis better than anybody else at something.That disproves that popular notionthat if you're the smartest person in the room,you're in the wrong room.(Laughter)

So let me tell you abouta Hollywood party I went to a couple years back,and I met this up-and-coming actress,and we were soon talking about somethingthat we both felt passionately about: public art.And she had the fervent beliefthat every new building in Los Angelesshould have public art in it.She wanted a regulation for it,and she fervently started —who is here from Chicago? —she fervently started talking aboutthese bean-shaped reflective sculpturesin Millennium Park,and people would walk up to itand they'd smile in the reflection of it,and they'd pose and they'd vampand they'd take selfies together,and they'd laugh.And as she was talking, a thought came to my mind.I said, "I know someone you ought to meet.He's getting out of San Quentin in a couple of weeks" —(Laughter) —"and he shares your fervent desirethat art should engage andenable people to connect."He spent five years in solitary,and I met him because I gavea speech at San Quentin,and he's articulateand he's rather easy on the eyes because he's buff.He had workout regime he did every day.(Laughter)I think she was following me at that point.I said, "He'd be an unexpected ally."And not just that. There's James. He's an architectand he's a professor, and he loves place-making,and place-making is when you havethose mini-plazas and those urban walkwaysand where they're dotted with art,where people draw and come up and talk sometimes.I think they'd make good allies.And indeed they were.They met together. They prepared.They spoke in front of the Los Angeles City Council.And the council members notonly passed the regulation,half of them came down and askedto pose with them afterwards.They were startling, compelling and credible.You can't buy that.

What I'm asking you to consideris what kind of opportunity-makers we might become,because more than wealthor fancy titlesor a lot of contacts, it's our capacity to connectaround each other's better side and bring it out.And I'm not saying this is easy,and I'm sure many of you havemade the wrong moves tooabout who you wanted to connect with,but what I want to suggest is,this is an opportunity.I started thinking about itway back when I was a Wall Street Journal reporterand I was in Europe and I wassupposed to cover trendsand trends that transcended businessor politics or lifestyle.So I had to have contactsin different worlds very different than mine,because otherwise you couldn't spot the trends.And third, I had to write the storyin a way stepping into the reader's shoes,so they could see how these trends could affect their lives.That's what opportunity-makers do.

And here's a strange thing:Unlike an increasing number of Americanswho are working and living and playing with peoplewho think exactly like thembecause we then become more rigid and extreme,opportunity-makers are actively seeking situationswith people unlike them,and they're building relationships,and because they do that,they have trusted relationshipswhere they can bring the right team inand recruit them to solve a problem better and fasterand seize more opportunities.They're not affronted by differences,they're fascinated by them,and that is a huge shift in mindset,and once you feel it, you want it to happen a lot more.This world is calling out for us to have a collective mindset,and I believe in doing that.It's especially important now.Why is it important now?Because things can be devised like dronesand drugs and data collection,and they can be devised by more peopleand cheaper ways for beneficial purposesand then, as we know from the news every day,they can be used for dangerous ones.It calls on us, each of us,to a higher calling.

But here's the icing on the cake:It's not just the first opportunitythat you do with somebody elsethat's probably your greatest,as an institution or an individual.It's after you've had that experienceand you trust each other.It's the unexpected thingsthat you devise later onyou never could have predicted.For example, Marty is the husband of that actress I mentioned,and he watched them when they were practicing,and he was soon talking to Wally,my friend the ex-con,about that exercise regime.And he thought,I have a set of racquetball courts.That guy could teach it.A lot of people who work thereare members at my courts.They're frequent travelers.They could practice in their hotel room,no equipment provided.That's how Wally got hired.Not only that, years laterhe was also teaching racquetball.Years after that,he was teaching the racquetball teachers.What I'm suggesting is, when you connect with peoplearound a shared interest and action,you're accustomed to serendipitousthings happening into the future,and I think that's what we're looking at.We open ourselves up to those opportunities,and in this room are key players in technology,key players who are uniquely positioned to do this,to scale systems and projects together.

So here's what I'm calling for you to do.Remember the three traits of opportunity-makers.Opportunity-makers keep honing their top strengthand they become pattern seekers.They get involved in different worlds than their worldsso they're trusted and they can see those patterns,and they communicate to connectaround sweet spots of shared interest.

So what I'm asking you is,the world is hungry.I truly believe, in my firsthand experience,the world is hungry for usto unite together as opportunity-makersand to emulate those behaviorsas so many of you already do —I know that firsthand —and to reimagine a worldwhere we use our best talents togethermore often to accomplish greater things togetherthan we could on our own.Just remember,as Dave Liniger once said,"You can't succeedcoming to the potluck with only a fork."(Laughter)

Thank you very much.Thank you. (Applause)

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