Most of you know by now that this was my last semester at Metro. As the CFI department has been absorbed by the Management department, the Management department faculty will assume the duties of teaching the Entrepreneurship courses, getting your minors completed, and building up the new Entrepreneurship major (which sounds like will be one year in the making). I had a chance to talk to the Management department chair and she seems very excited about continuing to inspire young entrepreneurs at Metro. It sounds like she has some pretty experienced staff and that you will be in good hands.
After nearly 4 years at Metro, I have met almost every student on campus interested in entrepreneurship. For most of you, I have come to know you on a very personal basis. I hope you understand how special that relationship was (and is) to me. It has been a real honor to know I have been someone that others have been willing to share their dreams with. I value those relationships very much. I understand that mentorship is a privilege and not just a right bestowed upon me because I am called “professor.”
Over the last four years, I have tried to impart on you as much as I could about what I have learned during my own 20-year journey as an entrepreneur. A lot of what I said, and the way I said it, was not what you will find in traditional business textbooks. That is because business textbooks that hold you accountable and demand that you think for yourself will not sell very well. So when it was time for the truth, and time for you to face some uncomfortable realities in your business, I was happy to be the guy to show you where you were fucking up. But trust me when I say I did this to protect you and not because I loved hearing myself talk. I know at times I was not always the most easy-going professor on campus. I know from other professors and people in the department that I had developed a well-known reputation for being a hard ass that expected a lot out of his students. This is a reputation I proudly accept.
For all the things I tried to teach you, there was always one secret I kept to myself: I was never the smartest person in the room. You were. That is because the true talent of any professor is not about what they are able to teach you – it is about what they are able to get you to learn about yourself. And in that spirit I was never going to be the person who was going to be able to make you a success or a failure: only you were. I was never going to be the person who was going to be able to tell you exactly what you needed to do and how to do it: only you were. The best thing I was EVER able to do for any of my students was to get you to dig deep into your own heart, to look at what you pulled out, and to believe it was good enough to create something amazing.
Every single one of you is amazing. And because of that, as you move forward in school and in life, please remember one thing I have always said: “Entrepreneurship is an exceptional journey that deserves exceptional rewards.” Do not pursue a business to “break even” or to “just to get by.” Pursue your dreams because you know you are the best possible person to solve one of the world’s problems, and because you truly believe you deserve an exceptional life. I always knew you did.