Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sage Advice

Heard a TED Talk recently from Hector Ruiz, the chairman and CEO of AMD, Intel's primary contemporary. Anyhow, it wasn't the bulk of his talk that amazed me the most, but the parts he did by way of introduction and closing, his talk of his life growing up.

As a child, his parents would tell him that they trusted him to always do the right thing and he heard it so often from his parents that it really stuck with him.

And after high school, he went to college. He was the first person in his family to go to college (though all four of his younger sisters did as well), coming from a very poor family in a very small village in a very poor part of Mexico. But his father told him that the way you change the world is to do better than the generation before you. He didn't understand it too well at the time, but his father would remind him of it from time-to-time.

He eventually met a woman, proposed, and married. On his wedding day, his father once again told him "To change the world, you must do better than the generation before you. Be a better husband than I was." That was a little surprising to him because he had felt his father had been a wonderful husband to his mother, but it also didn't surprise him because it fit the pattern of
what his father would regularly impart to him.

And then a little while later, Hector and his wife had their first child. As Hector and his father stood at the glass looking into the nursery, he wasn't at all surprised to hear his father once again remind him, "To change the world, you must do better than the generation before you," adding, "Be a better father than I was." Again, he thought back to his own childhood and how great he thought his parents had done at raising him.

I really think this is phenomenal advice and wonder if someday Hector and his father (if he's still living) will write a book, because I'd sure like to learn more.

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