7 Things To Do Before You Graduate College: Liz Wessel (Transcript)

Liz Wessel at TEDxRutgers

Full text of entrepreneur Liz Wessel’s talk: 7 Things To Do Before You Graduate College at TEDxRutgers conference. In this talk, she highlights 7 things she believes each student should do before they graduate and how these actions will affect who they grow up to be.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: 7 things to do before you graduate college by Liz Wessel


Liz Wessel – Entrepreneur

So I’m here to talk to you guys today about seven things that I hope all of you do before you graduate.

So I’m passionate about this talk for two main reasons:

The first reason is that I quit my job at Google, as he mentioned, to start an entire company just around one of these seven things and it’s the seventh one.

And then the second reason is because I have too many friends who have graduated from school, after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on their education, after spending four years of their life, if not more, on their education… and then they come and they tell me how much they regret not doing something.

And I don’t want anyone in this room to feel that way ever.

So I’m going to tell you the seven things that I hear most often.

So the first one is cold email.

So I am obsessed with cold emailing. So first of all what does it mean to cold email?

So a cold email is when you send an email to someone who you’ve never met. You could email me and we’ve never met. You might be hearing me talk but we haven’t met. And so you could find my email address online and there’s a million tricks and hacks to do it. Just google it.

And then you can cold email me. And when you cold email someone who maybe of respect, a role model, someone you want to get advice from, someone you want to hear their story about! I’m telling you right now it’s something that’s so special.

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Because you realize that everyone in this world just wants to help. Most people in this world just want to help each other.

And so I’ll give you my example. I’m in college senior year, I had two job offers. One was at Google as a Product Marketing Manager, and one was at a Venture Capital Fund. I didn’t even know what marketing or venture capital was for the most part.

But I knew I had these two job offers.

All I knew was that a few years after that I wanted to start a company. So I couldn’t figure out which would be the better path. Would it be going to venture capital where I’d get to work with entrepreneurs?

Or, would it be going to a big tech company that is far from startup?

And so I actually cold emailed a big venture capitalist, this guy named Roelof Botha who’s like top 10 in the world. And I’d never met him; I’d heard him speak at conferences. And I cold emailed him.

And I said:

“Roelof, my name is Liz! I’m a college student. I go to Penn. I’m a senior. I’m trying to figure out what the hell to do with my life and I don’t know. Here is what I want to do in a few years – I want to start my own company. So which one should I do?”

And he immediately told me to get the operating experience.

And that email changed my life. If he had told me to go the venture capital route I’m telling you I probably would have done that and my path would not have been nearly the same, and I might not be where I am today.

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