No topic was left uncovered – start-ups, high school lacrosse, Facebook, diaper changing – as Hult San Francisco's Executive Speaker Series presented Twitter co-founder Biz Stone on October 16. Held at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill, the highly anticipated event brought together a group of 600 Hult students, alumni, staff, and faculty, and Bay Area corporate guests for an evening of insight and inspiration with Stone, who shared his stories of Twitter and beyond and answered audience questions.
Stone, who opened his speech by admitting he had managed to pull a muscle while changing his son’s diaper earlier in the day, talked about his colorful road from artist to entrepreneur, from his first brush with leadership on the high school lacrosse team that he assembled himself, to his current work with his newest collaboration, Obvious. He applauded the Hult vision, acknowledging the school’s “effort to put forward the idea that we’re citizens of the world,” and he noted his kinship with Hult, as it has a campus in his hometown of Boston.
To a room full mostly of ambitious young professionals, many of whom are aspiring to follow a path similar to his, Stone stressed the importance being brave and unafraid to fail when becoming involved with start-ups. Throughout the evening, he also brought on a lot of laughs, especially when mimicking Clint Eastwood at the RNC by chatting briefly with an onstage chair, and recounting a “bad” idea he had about starting a social network on campus while studying at Wellesley College.
Following Stone’s talk, Dean Larry Louie hosted an interactive question-and-answer session, during which the crowd tweeted questions or asked them live. The students in attendance jumped at the chance to pick Stone’s brain about whether he considers Facebook a competitor of Twitter’s (no), if social media outlets are creating too much connectivity worldwide (we’re bound to eventually find the right amount), and what kind of candidates he looks for at Obvious (interesting, involved people with whom he would enjoy spending his workdays).
The Executive Speaker Series brings innovative world leaders into the Hult community across all five campuses. Past speakers include President Bill Clinton, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Forbes Chairman Steve Forbes and Former CEO, Apple Inc. and former CEO, Pepsi Co. John Sculley.