30 Takeaways from Forbes 30 Under 30

This month, our team’s very own Kenny Nguyen and Gus Murillo attended the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Boston to network and learn from some of the world’s youngest leaders. During this trip, they compiled some of their favorite takeaways/quotes and wrote this blog post to share.

Gathered from the tech and create sessions, here are their top takeaways geared toward making oneself a better leader.

30 Key Takeaways from the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit

From Uber’s Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John’s talk on her life lessons from succeeding in marketing through brands like Pepsi, Beats by Dre, Apple Music, and Uber while overcoming personal adversity:


  1. On how you should approach personal and professional life:Bring your whole self to everything you do. It takes a lot of energy to be someone else.”
  2. On why you should trust your gut and not overthink:“Always trust your gut. Stop trying to rationalize your gut with a pros and cons list.”
  3. On taking risks:“Do not be afraid to take risks. There is something to be said about taking risks. We all know that is where the biggest reward is.”
  4. On how to live your life urgently, as you never know if it can be your last:“Live your dreams every single day. Make today the best day.”
  5. On how important it is to bring humanity into what we do:“We shouldn’t leave humanity to other people to fix, it’s everyone’s job.”

From Apple’s former CEO John Sculley about lessons learned in business.

  1. On how a brand and customer go hand in hand:“The real brand is the experience of the customer. Brands that are sustainable are all about satisfying the customer and giving them an incredible experience. If you think about it in any other way, you’re going to miss the opportunity.“
  2. On learning and truly understanding new things:“You don’t really understand something well until you understand it another way. Entrepreneurs need to have multiple perspectives. Facts don’t change, but you need to be able to offer perspective in different ways.”
  3. On the world today:“The world is not static. You need to learn, relearn, and adapt.”

From Carl Pei, co-founder of One Plus, one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone makers and how they can compete in such a crowded market:

  1. On finding your place in the market:“We’re not in the business of disruption, but survival. As long as you can survive in certain industries that are super competitive, competitors will drop out.”
  2. On staying focused:Stay focused. We only make one new product at a time.”

From Ryan Williams of Cadre, the first digital stock market for real estate and how they’ve managed to create an industry:

  1. On growth vs. comfort:Growth and comfort can’t exist together.”
  2. On taking risks:I ask our people to never make shots that will take us out the game, but to take shots that will keep giving us the opportunity to grow.”
  3. On the impact of technology today:Life is short; through technology, the impact anyone can have is disproportionately greater. Don’t do anything that doesn’t bring value to people. Do everything you can to add value and impact.”

From TJ Miller, former Silicon Valley star and actor, sharing his philosophy on work ethic:

  1. On when creativity is at it’s best:“David Bowie said this thing, an artist is always the best when they are far out enough in the ocean they can feel the ocean floor, but just barely.” 
  2. On finding reason in your work:“If you don’t have a reason why you’re doing something, you’re already done for. You can have better work ethic than me, but you won’t beat me cause you don’t have reason.”
  3. On life and work:“My work ethic is motivated by mission statement. Don’t worry about what-ifs or criticism, it will work out.  My philosophy is that life is tragic, don’t worry about your latest failure.”

From Rapper Kendrick Lamar on his success, creativity, and overcoming adversity:


  1. On failure and how it affects our lives:“It always comes back to this one word: failure. The feat of that word. You have to almost intimidate this word…there is no better way. Failure is the one thing that stops us from all being our own entrepreneurs and following our dreams and having ownership of what we do.” 
  2. On the risk of comparing yourself to others:“My biggest mistake creatively was watching other artists’ progress & comparing myself to them.”
  3. On creative control with the projects you do:I promise myself any type of venture or partnership I’m doing with a brand I have to 100% be in control of how I want the proceeds to go, and the look and the creative process and actually what it’s saying.”
  4. On how failures shape us and make us:“Your failures and mistakes may be on your right now, but at the end of the day these are lessons learned; these are experiences. You have to keep pushing. If you don’t, what do you stand for?”

From former Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso on lessons learned from overcoming adversity and creating a movement:


  1. On the difficulty of growing something unintentional:“Scaling something unintentional can have some very scary consequences.”
  2. On getting what you ask for:“You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Asking and asking again and asking again goes really far.”
  3. On how to stand out and be known for something:“Focus on less things and be great at those things.”

From YouTube star Tyler Oakley on standing out and not being afraid to suck:


  1. On when you should start your big idea:Start today. A year from today, you’ll have wished you started a year ago.”
  2. On the first step of creating something:“You have to just start and accept the suck.”

From Evan Rachel Wood of Westworld and how to ask for help and standing tall:


  1. On when it’s time to make a big decision:“Usually when I make a decision to do something bold or different, it’s because I’m terrified to do it and that tells me it needs to be done.”
  2. On moving forward from ups and downs:My biggest challenge I’ve ever overcome was myself. No one held me back more than me and no one was meaner to me than me.”
  3. On prioritizing your life:Don’t beat yourself if you can’t do everything, Don’t take the weight of the world on your shoulders and be sure to take care of yourself.“

From Whitney Wolfe, CEO of Bumble and former co-founder of Tinder on relationships:


  1. On deciding the first move for women in Bumble:Woman never made the first move because society said they shouldn’t. No one had ever built a brand for women in the dating space. We were literally rewriting the rules with a mainstream product.”
  2. On getting back up:I will say that you can’t live your life with any regrets. It’s not about any type of fall. IT’s about the rise. How do you stand back up?”

While Kenny and Gus couldn’t attend every session, they both suggested that this conference is a must-go for the networking and overall experience. The conference didn’t feel too big, nor too small, and definitely had multiple networking opportunities where attendees can make meaningful connections. Both plan to go next year (they recommend purchasing the VIP pass for the VIP lounge tent and food festival) and hope to bring more members of the team.

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PS: Look out for our next conference coverage by Jeremy Beyt and Nick Defelice of Adobe’s Max conference!

Our new conference series, Assembly Required, is in full swing. Tickets for innovators in Food are available now.