Sunday, July 6, 2014

Winners and Losers in Life

Today Bob goes over the winners and losers in life and how to get to the top:

Top graduate at an Ivy League college.

Used to be we lived in a meritocracy, he who worked hardest and was smartest would rise to the top. That can occasionally happen today, but your best bet is to get yourself a pedigree. Something the upper middle class is fully aware of, and those below them are usually clueless about.

Do you know that most top-tier universities are need-blind? That means if you can get in but are broke, they pay. Yet seemingly nobody other than those who go know. So if you're a top graduate at nowheresville high school you believe you cannot afford the Ivy and just go to the state school and forever inhibit your future advancement.

There's nothing like the Ivies. And Stanford. Everything else is second-tier, even the vaunted University of Chicago.

The Ivies impress. Even better, they are useful networks, the graduates look after each other, take care of each other, till the end of life.

So if you want a guaranteed income... Go to the Ivy.

And that's what kids are looking for today, the smart ones, they don't want to be left behind, sure, they'd like a NetJet card and a gated community, but they're driven primarily by fear, that they'll lose out, be left on the bottom.

Yes, the top-tier Ivy graduates do better than those who end their four years on the bottom. But the truth is, as a result of grade inflation, no one looks that bad.

Graduate from the Ivy and you can get a job in finance. That's the number one exit strategy from the educational farm. And people do this because they want money. Everybody wants money. That's what all the poor artists are bitching about, that they can't make any money. The graduates of the Ivies ensure that they can.


The entrepreneur.

It's a personality, you love risk. Entrepreneurs are no different from extreme sports stars, they do what most people will not, jump off cliffs without a net. So just because all your friends are entrepreneurs, just because you'd like to be one, that does not mean you can be. It's in the DNA more than a choice, but a choice is involved.

Entrepreneurs are willing to fail. And the most successful have had wins when competitors haven't even been playing. They're the ones who not only had lemonade stands, but sold baseball cards on eBay. Entrepreneurs know how to make money, they know it's all about money, and it's not about education as much as personality, and smarts.

Today's entrepreneurs are the artists of yesterday. The best and the brightest who will their success. Sure, entrepreneurs look for investment, but they rarely cry "woe is me." They know the game is hard, they work 'round the clock, they sacrifice lifestyle. They're everything today's musicians say they are but are not. And they know they could fail completely. But they're willing to take the risk.


May be every bit as smart as the entrepreneur, but their lives are ruled by fear, they want insurance. That's why they become doctors, lawyers or accountants. If you truly want to work in one of these fields, more power to you. But if you're doing it to be higher on the leaderboard in the financial and status game... Beware, the foundation is crumbling. This is not your baby boomer profession, wherein a doctor or lawyer is a winner as rich as anybody. MDs still make a good living, but the sky is not the limit, the goal of the government and insurers and patients is to keep costs down, and you're caught in this bind. As for attorneys... I hope you like the background, because your odds of getting a good gig are low. Legal research is farmed out to Asia. Corporations don't want to pay. It doesn't matter how much hard work you've put in, if you want there to be no limit, you've got to go into finance or be an entrepreneur.


Everybody who doesn't go to an Ivy, is not an entrepreneur and is not a professional. You're sold the bill of goods that a college education will improve your lot, when the truth is it will only get you the job when you're competing against high school graduates.

Chances are you'll get out of school with no opportunities and be living in your parents' basement. Which is why so many of these people go to graduate school, increasing debt for just a marginally better chance to get a job.

If you're going to college to get a job, take a series of courses that are practically applicable. Sure, you can win if you're a liberal arts major, but it will be much harder. Graduate in computer science. Take the hard courses. Because the truth is the hard courses weed everybody else out, and if you make it through you've got opportunities.


You're not doomed, it's just that your path is harder. You're now going to have to do the hard work you may not have done in high school. In other words, you're going to have to work for the corporation and work your way up. You're going to have to use your smarts, your wiles and learn how to play the politics. Not everybody running a Fortune 500 company went to an Ivy or is an entrepreneur. You've got a long climb ahead of you and very few make it past middle management. If you do, the financial rewards can be extreme. Good luck!

P.S. If you take this route, you'll probably want to take a break to get an MBA, wherein the contacts you make will aid your career forever more.


Kanye made it, that does not mean you will.

What are you thinking?

Furthermore, how do you expect to succeed in life when you can't even complete community college?

Everything your parents told you is true. Life is long. High school winners are oftentimes adult losers. So, it takes years, so you've got to go into debt, welcome to reality. If you can't get a college degree, you're a loser forced to work for minimum wage or become an entrepreneur. And chances are, you're not the entrepreneur listed above. I'm just telling you this for your own good. To give you a leg up. Before you burden yourself with so many obligations, a spouse and children, that you root yourself to the past and cannot succeed in the future.


You didn't get the memo. No one in your life told you how it is, how the game is played. Or maybe you're a rebel. But there is no cause anymore.

But you believe you can win the lottery. That's what a Top Forty  music career is.

In other words, just because you can try out for the "Voice," that does not mean you'll win, never mind have a career.

Sure, some people do. And some people win in Vegas. Do you feel that lucky?


An overused word frequently employed by those who have not succeeded/won in any other category. Once upon a time it was a reasonable career path. Today, Rivers Cuomo becomes a rock star and THEN goes back to Harvard!

So you've got a mixtape. You're good with beats. But what separates you from everybody else?

That's what an Ivy League education does, separate you from everybody else. In a country of 300 million, you don't want to be limited to your good looks and charm, those are a dime a dozen.

Furthermore, since these "artists" are not in school or working, they're all over social media developing their "brand." Trying to up their YouTube subscriptions, believing if they just try harder, they'll make it.

But most won't. Because they're not that talented and they don't understand the game.

It's a business. Companies don't need you, they just need someone. George Michael got into a fight with Columbia Records, the company won, both in court and in truth. Because Columbia survives and George Michael never had another hit. The company had to teach artists a lesson. Tommy Mottola needed to get rich.


It's not the sixties anymore, nor the eighties or nineties.

Today life is rough. There are winners and losers. The middle class is shrinking. Which is why all those with a brain want to ensure they don't end up on the wrong side of the divide.

As for those who create breakthroughs, it's always by not playing the game. In other words, if you've got no college degree, your music better not sound like anybody else's. Same deal with tech. We don't need a new smartphone OS, we need something we can't even fathom.

Baby boomers were drifters. Part of a large, egalitarian "Woodstock Generation" wherein unions still existed and we were all supposedly equal, we could all get a job and pay our bills.

Now a lot of these boomers have been laid off and can't get a gig, never mind their children.

It's every man for himself in America today. If you're coasting, you're losing ground. You've got to decide on your goals at a very young age and then work tooth and nail to achieve them. You've got to separate yourself out, you've got to rise above.

And know that today everything comes down to money. The rich people who make it and the poor people who desire it. Sure, you can be an itinerant musician known by few, but just don't bitch that you can't make a living, because the problem is you, you didn't understand the game.

And the game, once again, is money. That's all anybody cares about. That's all anybody bitches about. Everybody wants more.

There is no safety net, no haven for losers. You're either on the road to success or the scrapheap.

And the winners know this.

Everybody else should understand.