How does Ben Casnocha measure success? The renowned author and tech entrepreneur from San Francisco was in Seattle on Friday, July 15 and made a stop at the Foster School to chat with a handful of students and alumni over lunch. One student asked about his metric for success.
“That’s the Big Question, capital B, capital Q. For me, the highest form of success is happiness. And the most recent definition that I’ve been playing with is that the highest form of happiness is inner peace. So the question I’ve been asking people recently,” he jokes, “because of course it’s a non-awkward conversation starter—is ‘how much inner peace do you have?’”
You can get additional insights by perusing Casnocha’s blog , where he writes about everything from business and entrepreneurship to books, meditation, relationships and travel.
The conversation touched a wide variety of topics that left the group with some good advice, including:
- Use your network in a more day-to-day way, rather than only for finding a job.
- Start with a gesture of help, rather than only asking for help.
- Be in a mindset of “permanent beta”—the idea of continual reinvention and constant learning.
- Invest in yourself—Casnocha says that reading books and attending conferences are the best way for him to increase that knowledge. “Books are the most compact version of someone’s wisdom.”
- Don’t avoid risk—Ask yourself what could be the worst possible outcome, and if you can live with it, don’t be afraid to risk it.
- You need both analytical skills and emotional intelligence. Developing EQ comes from observing and learning from others who are good at it. “Let yourself be in awe of their impressiveness.”
Casnocha was in Seattle to speak at the Society for Human Resource Management Talent Symposium about his second book written with Reid Hoffman, The Alliance, on how to recruit managers and retain entrepreneurial talent.