Social entrepreneur Alex Salzman ’07 spoke Wednesday night as part of the Imagine series hosted by Career Services. Rather than speak specifically about his business ventures, Salzman spoke about personal habits he has adapted and engaged in dialogue with the intimate audience.
Salzman opened by asking students what their majors and what their passions were. Individual answers often contained no overlap, and students’ passions ranged from social justice to surfing. Economics majors in the audience explained they were there to explore options beyond investment banking, and Salzman, an economics major himself, empathized.
A Toronto native, he came to Princeton looking for something beyond achieving a perfect 4.0. His high school years had been academic, he said, and “to do it all over again doesn’t seem logical.” Students in the audience agreed. “Oh God, is [college] going to be like high school all over again?” said one, admitting that this was a fate she wanted to avoid.
At Princeton, Salzman lived the entrepreneurial life. Not one to pursue extracurriculars like Triangle or DiSiac, Salzman was able to take a leave of absence as an underclassman to assist in the launch of TerraCycle, Inc. Beyond these activities, Salzman said he was also grateful for the connections he made through Princeton, saying he had found “trusted mentors” through the Princeton Entrepreneurs Network, which he is currently working to reboot.
Several of the personal habits Salzman shared are applicable to the daily grind at Princeton. He is an advocate of meditation and suggests that students build 90-day plans to accomplish goals. A year, he said, is too long, but 30 days is too short. He advised that students view their lives holistically, balancing day-to-day routine with the big picture.
To close, Salzman re-stressed the importance of taking initiative in one’s daily life and not waiting until graduation to begin big projects. To learn more about Salzman’s current business, including what he calls “an eHarmony for business,” visit www.viscapfunds.com. In the meantime, think about what dream projects you have for yourself, because Princeton is more than just the diploma. “Oh God, is [college] going to be like high school all over again?” Only if you don’t do anything about it.
One final note, if you are interested in learning more about social entrepreneurship, don’t miss the Nonprofit Fair and Social Entrepreneur Panel tomorrow!