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Why Students Need to Sit Up and Pay Attention

Our charters are guided by what I learned from a great public-school teacher: Distracted, misbehaving children aren’t learning.

Success Academy Charter Schools, New York City’s largest network of free charter schools, has recently been the center of controversy over its policies on student behavior. Our critics accuse us of pushing out children who might pull down our test scores, and in doing so creating what some call “a kindergarten-to-prison pipeline.” In reality, our attrition rates are lower than those of the district schools. How then do our students, chosen by lottery and mainly children of color, routinely outperform even students from wealthy suburbs?

I wish I could claim that I’ve developed some revolutionary pedagogical approach at Success, but the humbling truth is this: Most of what I know about teaching I learned from one person, an educator named Paul Fucaloro who taught in New York City district schools for four decades.

When I founded Success Academy in 2006, I hired Paul to coach our teachers. I soon learned that while he was quite instructionally sophisticated, Paul was decidedly old school on the topic of student behavior. Every child had to sit up straight and show he was paying attention.

I wasn’t completely sold on Paul’s approach at first, but when one of our schools was having trouble, I’d dispatch him to help. He’d tell the teachers to give him a class full of all the kids who had the worst behavioral and academic problems. The teachers thought this was nuts but they’d do so, and then a few days later they’d drop by Paul’s classroom and find these students acting so differently that they were nearly unrecognizable. Within weeks, the students would make months’ worth of academic progress.

Teachers couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. But Paul did it over and over again. And incredibly, the kids seemed to love Paul more than the teachers who were far less strict.

So what did he do? Well, imagine that a man to whom you’re speaking at a party is looking over your shoulder. You’ll suspect he isn’t really listening. The same is true of kids. Their physical behavior reflects their mental state. Therefore, Paul set behavioral expectations to reflect the mental state he insisted his students have.

Paul’s students had to sit with hands clasped and look at whomever was speaking (called “tracking”). They couldn’t stare off into space, play with objects, rest their head on their hands in boredom, or act like what Paul called “sourpusses” who brought an attitude of negativity or indifference to the classroom. Paul made students demonstrate to him that at every single moment they were focused on learning.

He also had more sophisticated techniques. He’d call on students randomly rather than ask for hands, so students had to prepare an answer for every question he asked. He made students repeat or comment on what their classmates said to make them listen carefully to one another. And he’d never repeat what a child said, as most teachers do, because—besides wasting precious time—it suggested to students that they didn’t have to listen to one another, only to the teacher.

These practices ensured that while only one student could talk at a time, every child was continually engaging in what Paul called “active listening,” meaning thinking critically and preparing to participate if called upon.

Success Academy in large measure uses Paul’s approach, and that is much of the reason why we have schools where more than 95% of the students pass the state math tests in neighborhoods where on average fewer than 20% of students do.

Some critics find our approach rigid and overbearing. I’ve got two of these critics in my own home: my kids, who attend Success. They complain when they get into trouble for not tracking the speaker. They were listening, they protest. Maybe so. But sometimes when kids look like they’re daydreaming, it’s because they are, and we can’t allow that possibility.

As Paul repeatedly preached to me, it’s morally wrong to let a child choose whether to pay attention, because many will make the wrong choice and we can’t let them slip through the cracks. So if a student had trouble paying attention, he’d move him to the front of the class, call his parents, keep him after school to practice. Whatever it took. Paul was relentless.

Some critics say that it’s hard for young children to focus. True. But it’s our job to teach them this. Recently, I was at a news conference at which I was asked why Success has strict rules regarding behavior. As I answered, the reporters didn’t stare off into space, look bored or fiddle with things. Because they were focusing. A school that fails to teach students this necessary skill isn’t doing right by them.

People have understandably expressed concern that some students may have particular trouble meeting our behavioral expectations and ask why we can’t simply relax them. The answer is that Success Academy’s 34 principals and I deeply believe that if we lessened our standards for student comportment, the education of the 11,000 children in our schools would profoundly suffer.

In my case, that belief has nothing to do with any ideological predisposition or pet pedagogical theory. I came to it only because Paul Fucaloro—the most gifted educator I’ve ever met, who spent four decades honing his craft before retiring last year—showed me that it works.

Ms. Eva Moskowitz is the founder and chief executive officer of Success Academy Charter Schools.


10 Secret Communication Skills of the Best Leaders – #QuantumLeaders

Poor communication trickles down through organizations and costs large companies a whopping $9.3 billion, or $26,000 per employee. Meanwhile, organizations across the country spend billions of dollars a year on leadership training, with results that are often short-lived. Research conducted by Hogan and colleagues even suggests that half of all leaders are “derailed,” costing their companies upward of $1 million each.

What sets apart extraordinary leaders from lackluster ones? What do the most respected leaders have in common? Research shows that leaders spend more than 75 percent of their time communicating, and extraordinary leaders have developed unique communication skills as part of their personal leadership practices. And, to top it off, business scholars frequently cite communication competency to be the single most important leadership skill for executives.

If these statistics are true, then communication seems to be an essential element of leadership. But what makes communication so difficult? What are the critical communication secrets that stellar leaders possess? What are the leadership practices they use consistently? These are the questions I’ve obsessed with as I’ve worked alongside and coached top executives at Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs alike. The answers reflect both science and art. I have distilled practices of superb leaders who are highly self-aware, flexible, adaptable, and balanced between chaos and stability. I dub these men and women Quantum Leaders, and most of them go on to become truly extraordinary leaders. They are acutely aware that they must first manage themselves to achieve successful communication with others. The first five skills relate to managing self and the next five skills to managing relationships.

1. They choose beliefs that lead to positive mental models – Quantum Leaders understand how their choices lead to their emotional experience of the world and their mental state. If they choose to believe they are a victim, they will feel helpless and alienate others by making them feel guilty. If they choose to believe they are inadequate, they feel depressed, disengage from others, and lack confidence. By choosing positive mental models about themselves, top executives draw on the brain’s extraordinary capacity to deliver on our beliefs and create positive outcome.

2. They rely on the wisdom of their body – Quantum Leaders have developed a high level of emotional awareness and can correctly identify the sensation and location of an emotion in their body. Emotions are intricately linked with physiological sensations. When we are unaware, our emotions and bodies are separated, which creates discomfort or confusion. Top executives recognize this discomfort, can trace it to the source, and resolve the conflict. They consciously nurture the personal awareness necessary to communicate effectively.

3. They are fearless about being authentic – Quantum Leaders courageously open themselves up to others. It takes equal measures of confidence and humility to be vulnerable. Vulnerability in turn creates safety, liberating the organization from battles for survival to help everyone unleash innate creativity, drive, and self-organization. Top executives refuse to hide behind polite discomfort, creating safety for others to openly offer differing views.

4. They never blame or accuse others – Quantum leaders take responsibility for their emotions. They’ve developed enough emotional awareness to recognize that the “You make me so x” statement is a folly. Therefore, they never blame others for how they feel. As masters of their emotions, they consciously decide how they will feel and how they will react. By practicing focused awareness, Quantum Leaders avoid blaming and accusing others by not projecting onto others their own leftover negative mental models from past experiences..

5. They are grounded and centered – Quantum Leaders are a constant, much like a 300-year-old oak tree that’s not uprooted by the strongest of storms. When listening, they don’t get triggered by assigning their own meaning to what others say and react automatically. They can imagine what it must be like for the other person by stepping into his or her moccasins. At the same time, they are comfortable in their own skin and therefore do not attempt to please others. When others express their needs, the Quantum Leader doesn’t turn it around and make it about him or her. When a team member states, “I don’t feel fulfilled in my job,” the Quantum Leader doesn’t hear, “You are a bad leader.” Instead, they hear, “I need help.” This ability to be grounded creates safety for others and allows each person’s reality to exist with equal merit..

6. They are unapologetic about their boundaries – Quantum Leaders know where they end and others begin. They don’t feel guilty about articulating their needs clearly. They don’t try to please others at the expense of their own self-respect. At the same time, they are equally respectful of others’ needs. They don’t encroach others’ boundaries and take them for granted or expect more than what proper boundaries warrant. They are highly differentiated, and they respect the unique perspectives of others and diversity of thought, which is essential for empowering others to unleash their innate self-organizing nature..

7. They listen for the emotion behind the words – Quantum Leaders don’t pay as much attention to the words themselves as they do to the emotion behind the message. Identifying the underlying emotion eliminates the defense or pretenses and helps them quickly cut through all the noise that stands between them and the core issues at play..

8. They are curious, not judgmental – While listening for emotions, Quantum Leaders are open to and curious about all possibilities. If a colleague comes across as irrational, ridiculous, or overreacting, they become curious and carefully explore what is happening without jumping to a conclusion. They know that judgment shuts off avenues for important discovery and learning. During this discovery, they can put aside their own emotions and pay focused attention. They can emphatically imagine what must have happened for someone to create the reality that comes across as irrational, and they can validate that reality for that person..

9. They see patterns – Quantum Leaders have one ear on what others are saying (content) and the other on the interaction pattern (process). They are constantly scanning themselves, other people, and processes to identify patterns and changes in the patterns. They can step outside the termite mound and look at it. Through this constant, unbiased observation, these extraordinary executives notice early indicators of an underlying issue. They then use their judgment-free curiosity to discover the source and manage it proactively..

10. They create safety and belonging – Quantum Leaders know their most important job is to create safety and belonging in their organization, which sets members free to unleash their innate creativity, innovation, passion, and drive on the basis of self-organization. Whether delivering an address to the entire organization–or within a one-on-one meeting–Quantum Leaders convey a sense of community. They nurture their people under their wings. Top executives create a culture that does not tolerate behaviors that threaten that sense of safety and belonging, such as bullying, kingdom building, or favoritism.


Contributed By: Sunnie Giles, founder and president of Quantum Leadership Group–a firm that provides executive coaching and leadership training.



24 Most Successful Leaders – Commencement Speeches

Graduates today are entering a workplace more competitive and threatening than ever. As they graduate, after years of significant investment, Students face more questions than answers.

Where to turn? LinkedIn  asked top professionals, from Fortune 500 CEOs to media icons what the graduates needs to succeed. They explain everything from how to create your own company to how to overcome what seems like constant rejection from employers, because they’ve all done it before, and succeeded wildly.

Jim Kim, President at The World Bank

“I’m sure many of you are more than a little concerned about what the future will bring. I just want to say to you today that not only is your future uncertain, but the overwhelming likelihood is that it’s far more uncertain than you think.

“Uncertainty means that nothing is predetermined. Uncertainty means that the future is yours to shape — with the force of your will, the force of your intellect, and the force of your compassion. Uncertainty is freedom. Take that freedom and run with it. And make sure to fuel up with glucose along the way.”

Part of the commencement address delivered at Northeastern University in Boston in May 2013.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

“The best advice I could give any graduate is to spend your time working on whatever you are passionate about in life. If your degree was focused upon one particular area, don’t let that stop you moving in another direction. If college hasn’t worked out for you, don’t let that put you off.

“You may decide to take a break and consider your options. I would urge you to travel, take on new experiences and draw upon those when it comes to making the decisions that will shape your future. The amount of business ideas that people pick up from traveling the world is enormous.”

Arianna Huffington, president and Editor-in-Chief at The Huffington Post Media Group

“Commencement speakers are traditionally expected to tell graduates how to go out there and climb the ladder of success, but I want to ask you, instead, to redefine success. Because the world you are headed into desperately needs it. And because you are up to it … what I urge you to do is not just take your place at the top of the world, but to change the world.

“But it’s time for a third metric, beyond money and power — one founded on well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder, and to give back. Money and power by themselves are a two legged stool — you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over. And more and more people, very successful people, are toppling over. Basically, success the way we’ve defined it is no longer sustainable. It’s no longer sustainable for human beings or for societies.”

Part of the commencement address delivered at Smith College in May 2013.

Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE

“Success in the 21 century will come to those that that can get in front of the trends, move quickly, innovate, and work together to deliver results. And our ability to contribute to the century in which we live will come down to our willingness and ability to do five things: Change,Learn, Risk, Persist, Lead.

“We can’t wait for the economy to stabilize. We can’t wait for a time when there is more certainty. It used to be that you only had to manage momentum. Today, you have to create your own future. And that means change.”

Part of the commencement address delivered at the University of Connecticut’s Graduate School in May 2013.

Jacki Zehner, CEO Women Moving Millions

“Whatever you choose to do, whatever the level of responsibility you have, commit to learning all you need to in order to do a job well. If given the opportunity to leap into something bigger, leap. Before you do, know who your boss will be and make sure she will be committed to your further development. Be in touch with your values and live them out in your work.

“Lastly be both reflective and self-aware, which will lead you to the career you were meant to pursue, whatever that may be. In all of this, add a touch of superhero, which means caring about and for others. Hold yourself to the highest possible standard. By doing that, I promise success is inevitable.”

Scott Belsky, co-founder and head of Behance, VP Products – Community at Adobe

“We’re obsessed with the Present Tense. We want real-time information — all up to the minute — just because we can … by constantly tuning into what is happening with others, we’ve become less aware of what’s happening to us.

“I would go as far as saying that the loss of presence is our greatest hurdle in the modern day when it comes to living the life we aspire to. But on the flip side, learning to manage this 21st century challenge may be the most important thing you can do. Your greatest opportunity to succeed professionally and personally will be your ability to make the most of presence – of the here and now – amidst a non-stop world of constant connection and overwhelming amounts of stimulation.”

Esther Dyson, chairman at HICCup

“I’ve always tried to take jobs that I would have done for free… After Forbes, I spent five years learning the ins and outs of Wall Street as a securities analyst. Once I felt I understood the business, I left. To me at least the companies were much more interesting than their stock movements. I took a paycut to join Ben Rosen, also a former Wall Street analyst, who had a newsletter and a conference focused on the emerging personal computer market.

“So, as you consider your own career, don’t think so much about what you want to do as about what you can learn. For example, when I had the choice between working in the library at Merrill Lynch and heading the one-person (i.e. me) research department at New Court Securities … the moral: Always choose more responsibility in a small firm over less responsibility in a larger. You’ll get to do more and learn more … and if the firm is growing, you may well grow with it.”

Emily Chang, host of “Bloomberg West”

“It sounds obvious, but my advice is: Don’t pursue a career because you think you should or because you think it will make you rich. It only means you’ll have less time to try to find something you love down the road. Rather than doing what you think you should do first, make what you really want to do Plan A.

“If it doesn’t work out, you can always move on to Plan B. But, if you are lucky enough to find something you love, chances are better you’ll be good at it, you’ll make money doing it, it will lead to new and exciting opportunities, and you’ll most certainly be happier. Take the big risks now. Take that leap of faith now. It only gets harder to take risks and leaps further down the line.”

Guy Kawasaki, advisor at Motorola Mobility

1. Pusue joy, not happiness. Pursuing joy, not happiness will translate into one thing over the next few years for you: Study what you love. This may also not be popular with parents.

2. Challenge the known and embrace the unknown. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is to accept the known and resist the unknown. You should, in fact, do exactly the opposite: challenge the known and embrace the unknown.

3. Don’t get married too soon. I don’t know one person who got married too late. I know many people who got married too young. If you do decide to get married, just keep in mind that you need to accept the person for what he or she is right now.

4. Play to win and win to play. “If you are going to fail, you might as well fail at a difficult task. Failure causes others to downgrade their expectations of you in the future. The seriousness of this problem depends on what you attempt.”

Part of a baccalaureate speech, delivered to Palo Alto High School June 11, 1995.

Geoff Yang, board member at TasteMade

“Life is short. As you embark on the rest of your life, consider what you want it to be like and what you want to accomplish. Pretend for a moment that rather than graduating, starting your career, and moving on toward the rest of your life, you are at the end of it.

“How would people remember you, as both a person and a professional? Write your eulogy now. Think about how you want to be remembered by your family, friends, and colleagues. Let this shape you.”

Wendy Kopp, founder for Teach For America

“Today I want to try to take some of the pressure off by debunking a few of the myths that I’ve encountered and heard so often. I’m completely confident that if you start now and ignore the hype, there’s no problem your generation can’t solve:

1. The first myth is that changing the world is about coming up with a big idea. “Larry Page and Sergey Brin didn’t set out to revolutionize the Web. They were just Stanford graduate students trying to figure out how to prioritize library searches online. … so if you’re waiting for your Eureka moment to get started — don’t. Or you’ll be waiting a long time.”

2. Myth number two is that having an impact is about being first … what our world really needs is more copy cats.

3. The final myth about changing the world is that it’s better to wait until you have more experience. The world needs you before you stop asking naïve questions, and while you have the time to understand the true nature of the complex problems we face and take them on. Don’t put your desire to change the world on hold. Start now.

Part of the commencement address delivered at Boston University on May 19, 2013.

John Batelle, founder and CEO of Federated Media Publishing

“My advice to you, insofar as I can give any, is simple: Hold onto this feeling you have right now. Rinse and repeat as often as you can. Get used to it but don’t take it for granted — it’s how the world is evolving. Every few years, if you’re not leaping into a new project, a new and challenging startup, or a new challenge at a larger company, then you’re not really exercising the skills you all so clearly demonstrated with your Masters projects.

“The world wants more projects like yours, and it stands ready to fund them, tweak them, embrace them, and inspire you to build them again and again.”

Joel Peterson, Chairman, JetBlue Airways

“As you leave the world of campus life, classes and final exams, things will get a lot less simple – fast. Beyond college’s neatly-drawn borders, you’ll get used to wrestling with many kinds of contradiction, paradox and duality.

“Here are a few ideas that may help you to embrace life’s opposing forces, to confidently navigate the next phase of your journey:

1. Setting goals is vital; ignoring them is key. Don’t do anything that matters without first setting a goal.

2. Master the rules; master breaking them. Know the details – cosmic and quantum – of how your business or field works. That knowledge will enable you to spot the most glaring weaknesses in the old model, so you can be the person to create a new one.

3. Soar and “strafe.” Agility in moving from big to small and back again allows you to stay flexible, and to keep strategy in line with tactics.

4. Be generous and self-interested. Make your self-interest of the long-term variety and try to forgive others who are more concerned with what they can get right away.

5. Trust, and expect betrayal. If you never get burned, maybe you’re not lighting enough fires.

Maria Shriver, author and activist

“It’s like what we’re doing at this precise moment doesn’t even exist. Everyone is focused on the next thing. Everyone is racing to the Next Thing. Well, I got caught up in that for a really long time — so much so, that I could never really enjoy what I WAS doing, because I was always worried about what I was going to be doing.

“It’s like what we’re doing at this precise moment doesn’t even exist. Everyone is focused on the next thing. Everyone is racing to the Next Thing. Well, I got caught up in that for a really long time — so much so, that I could never really enjoy what I WAS doing, because I was always worried about what I was going to be doing.”

Part of the commencement address delivered at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School on May 11, 2013. 

Michael Fertik, CEO at and Owner,

“Starting a company is hard, and it always involves difficulty and failures. All new companies — tech startups, restaurants, hardware stores — are in a permanent state of risk for quite some time. That’s why this intersection of expertise and enthusiasm is an essential lifeblood for your new venture; when the chips are down, this is the juice you’re gonna need to get up and keep going.

“Remember, when the going gets rough — and it will — you need every ounce of extra power to be able to get up in the morning and dominate your day.”

Charlene Li, founder Partner at Altimeter Group

“Silicon Valley is filled with people questioning authority — it’s the foundation for what we call the “hacker” mindset, where you are dedicated to finding a better way to do something. But in Silicon Valley, we don’t just innovate — that’s too safe and frankly, too slow.

“Instead, we disrupt and set our sights on upsetting entire ecosystems. To challenge authority is to dream of a better future, and I for one, love that the people in technology pick really big authority figures to question.”

Dan Sanker, president & CEO at CaseStack, Inc.

“If you really want to ‘be anything you want be,’ it’s not enough to just do what you love. There are lots of talented people in the world; those who succeed will be multi-functional, collaborative, motivated and perpetually inquisitive.

“There are many ways to measure success in this life. Hopefully, it’s a no-brainer that you’re supposed to leave the world a better place than you found it. Otherwise, you shouldn’t be graduating anything.”

“But, I know that more than a few graduates have the practicalities of careers and finances on their minds on graduation day. On that note; I would say, Work hard. Moreover, I doubt the folks at the top of the big money lists spent time burning through the pages of: ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ or ‘Really Fast Money.’ ”

Justin Rosenstein, co-founder of Asana

“As I have done more personal growth and studied the nature of man as a social animal, I realized that the way we achieve deep satisfaction and joy is ironically by giving of ourselves. And I don’t mean giving of yourselves all day all the time. There is an inhale and there is an exhale. I spend about half of life being a hedonist, and about half of my life contributing back, trying to do everything I can to help others to manifest love in the world, and to try to reduce suffering and create joy and explore consciousness, but in partnership with all sentient beings.

“We’ve looked at different ways that you could, given a very ambitious vision, work with a team of people or even just be the leader of yourself to have these different tools and techniques and tactics to be able to work more efficiently, work more effectively, be able to achieve these visions.”

Jon Steinberg, president and COO at BuzzFeed

“The only business advice I was given that proved useful was about how to treat people, operate, and behave, and it was not ever given in the form of advice — I just observed it in my mentors.

“For example, I learned that once I stated an offer or price, I was stuck with it regardless of whether or not I changed my mind; that my word is my bond. I learned that without your reputation you basically have nothing in business. I learned that you need to be straight and direct with people even when it make you uncomfortable. I would later hear Bill Campbell describe this as being ‘kind and direct.’ I have a list of things like this that I learned from my mentors. I am forever indebted to them.

T. Boone Pickens, founder and CEO at BP Capital and TBP Investments Management

“I gave the commencement address to the graduating class at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia when my grandson, Alexander Cordia, was a member of the Class of 2007. “Before we go to lunch, I want to make you a thought provoking offer,’ I said. ‘I hope you realize where you are in life today. You have the best seat in the house. I would trade you everything I have for it.’ “

” ‘My Gulfstream airplane. My 68,000-acre ranch. I would gladly give it all to anyone of you to be where you are sitting right now. There’s only one catch. If you make the trade, you have to be 79 and I get to be 18 again.’ ”

“In the end I got no takers. They all decided that no amount of wealth could persuade them to change places with a man about to turn 80 … the truth is it was a bad deal … for them. I would have traded it all for another shot at 18.”

Adam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Fortune Magazine

“When you read the professional bios of successful people, keep in mind that they are written in a way intended to fool you. As you ponder one triumph after another you can be forgiven for thinking that one success flowed easily into the next. Life doesn’t work that way. It is almost always three steps forward, one step back—if you’re lucky. Don’t be discouraged by this.”

“Be informed. My first boss advised me not to come into work without having read The Washington Post. It was good advice. Get out of our comfort zone. ‘You are only young once’ is even more true than ‘youth is wasted on the young.’ Don’t waste it. Do things you won’t have the opportunity to do when you’re older, more settled and have more responsibilities than you can imagine today.”

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist

“If you can, stick with small companies, no more than 150 people. At that size, there’s a strong tendency for folks to strive for promotion and power, rather than getting the job done.

“There are exceptions, like Google, where they’re working hard building a new kind of large corporation culture, but that’s the exception … big or small company, you’re responsible for your own career, and a really big part of that is how you’re perceived. You really do have a personal brand, and in a small way, you’re a media thing. That means lots of work on Facebook, Twitter, and internal social media. Your boss might help you out, and maybe not.”

Ilya Pozin, founder of Ciplex Inc.

“Simply having a college degree will not get you hired. We need to break away from this idea. In all reality, most employers could care less about your GPA or where you went to school. Today, getting hired in entry-level positions requires experience and fine-tuned skills, not a 4.0 GPA. This probably isn’t what most new grads want to hear, but it’s the truth.

“So the real question for new graduates to consider is this: What can you bring to the table that makes you worth hiring? Here’s some food for thought for those entering the workforce:

1. Your degree isn’t a golden ticket.

2. It’s all about experience.

3. Passion will help you succeed.

4. Companies hire the person who is certain to cause the most positive impact.

5. Go the extra mile.

Adam Bryant, Corner Office columnist at The New York Times

“The CEO [I interviewed] who best hit the sweet spot for me — packing a world of wise advice into a memorable expression — was Joseph Plumeri, the CEO of Willis Group Holdings when I interviewed him in 2009 (he’s now non-executive chairman).

“His tip? ‘Play in traffic.’ Yes, it’s the opposite of the stern warning we all heard from our parents when we were younger. I’ll let Plumeri explain, in this excerpt from our interview :

“Everything that I have done I’ve done because I went out and I played in traffic and something happened … it means that if you go push yourself out there and you see people and do things and participate and get involved, something happens.”

by: Vivian Giang and Max Nisen