What Biz Stone Taught Me About Life

By Alexandria Mangas

You know when someone says something that shifts your whole paradigm – Biz Stone’s talk at National Conference did that x10.

Stone struck a chord with me (and every other decent kid raised in the 90’s) when he started talking about working at Xanga – and from there it only got better.

As someone who uses about one pack of Post-Its per week and loves making lists – I made a list of major point from Biz Stone’s talk:

  • Creativity 

“Creativity is a renewable resource.” – Biz Stone

Yea, that blew my mind. I’ve always thought of renewable resources as water, wind and the sun — but never creativity. How powerful is that, our brains are a renewable resource – we can always create a new idea and if that doesn’t work we can think and create a new one. “No matter what, there is always another jacket design I can try if sales and editorial didn’t like this one,” he said. “For me, the goal was create an award-winning design for designers that also solves what the sales and editorial team wanted.”

  • Passion

“You really have to be emotionally invested in your company in order for it to be successful.” – Biz Stone

If you don’t love what you are doing you won’t survive the low points, and low points are inevitable. Skills can be learned and perfected, passion can’t. Find what you’re passionate about and where your strengths are as a professional and pour yourself into being the best you can be in those areas.

Stone compared it to being in love, “Be emotionally invested in what you work in. You won’t hear your project or cause is broken – its like being in love.”

  • Connect

 “Storytelling is the future. It’s about the narrative and the story. It’s about humanity and transparency.” – Biz Stone

We grow up listening to stories. It allows people to connect – to characters, plot lines and outcomes.

“There is compound interest in altruism,” said Stone. When we help other people win and succeed and it benefits other – we create a win-win situation. Creating a mutually beneficial business is the future of marketing according to Stone.

“If we were to be a triumph (with Twitter), we were not just to be a triumph of technology, Twitter was going to be a triumphant of humanity,” Stone said. “It didn’t matter how many servers [we had] … it only mattered that people were basically good … if you give them the right tools, they’ll prove it to you every day. That’s what got us up every morning to work on Twitter — that it wasn’t about us, it was about people doing amazing things around the world.”

Book Recommendation: The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

“The new definition of success will be these three things, financial success, having an impact (philanthropy) and joy. Or at least we should aspire to these things,” Stone said. “If we do that, we’re not just going to have a better world to live in, but we’re all going to have more fun. And work isn’t going to be work — it’s going to be fun.” – Biz Stone


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