Michael Bloomberg's 7 Steps to the Top

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Michael Bloomberg's 7 Steps to the Top
3 min read
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Commencement Address

Photo credit: University of North Carolina.

Editor's Note: As the 2012 graduation season winds down, we at YoungEntrepreneur.com thought it fitting to check in on the commencement addresses given by some of nation's top entrepreneurs. Here's the second installment in a week-long, five-part series on top tips from entrepreneurs' commencement addresses. Click here for inspiring words from Oprah Winfrey, Salman Khan, Eric Schmidt and Luma Mufleh.

He may be the mayor of New York City, but Michael Bloomberg made his billions by founding the eponymous media juggernaut Bloomberg L.P. more than three decades ago. Besides giving the world every financier's right hand -- that is, the Bloomberg Terminal -- he also had a vision for putting financial news in the spotlight, which gave rise to the Bloomberg news service and most recently to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

In his speech to graduates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on May 13, the entrepreneur turned politician had these seven tips for young entrepreneurs:

  1. Follow your heart and go with your gut. Do what you love, find a way to get paid for it. And if you ever have the luxury of multiple job offers, don't base it on salary alone. Your gut won't always be right, but you'll sleep better at night.
  2. Out hustle the competition. When I started my first job out of college, I made sure I was the first one at the office every morning and the last one to leave. Not only did it save me the price of The Wall Street Journal because I grabbed the office copy. It allowed me to get to know the firms' partners.
  3. You occasionally have to throw some elbows. It's true, it's rough out there no matter what profession you're in. I've been in the business world and I've been in government. People ask me all the time what's the difference. I always tell them, in the business world, it's dog-eat-dog and in government it's exactly the reverse. Don't be afraid to assert yourself, have confidence in your abilities and don't let the bastards get you down.
  4. Team work is everything. I could never have built my company without the three brilliant guys I started it with. And whatever success I've achieved as Mayor results from surrounding myself with the most talented people I can find. The person who works the hardest and works with others the best and says "we" and "us" and doesn't use the words "I" and "me" is the person who will win.
  5. Don't be afraid to take risks. Life is too short to spend your time avoiding failure. Not every risk will work out. But that's OK, failure is the world's best teacher
  6. Never stop studying the competition. And never stop leaning. Education is a lifetime journey. When you leave these walls, keep asking questions keep acquiring knowledge, keep seeking truth. Don't let party labels blind you. Think for yourself. Decide for yourself -- even if it's not popular or if it runs counter to the party line.
  7. "Don't be slow to dish the rock," as Dicky V might say. There's nothing more rewarding than making a difference in the lives of others. Give what you can -- your time, your talents and your money -- and I promise, you will never forget it.

To see Bloomberg's commencement address at UNC, watch below.


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