The Research Triangle Park

RTP 180: An intro and a recap

By Oct 27, 2015
Each month Will Hardison, CEO of FanBase and emmcee extraordinaire, will be giving you a recap of our signature event, RTP 180. The event takes place on the 3rd Thursday of each month, and features speakers from across the Triangle talking about their passion. Each month the topic is different, so there’s always something for everyone!

On March 19, 2013, my life changed forever. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, but it was when I first hosted RTP180. Thirty-three months later we’re still rolling strong! In fact, this month’s 180 was by far my favorite. To sum it up (see what I did there?), the energy was through the roof, but before I continue to dive into this month’s recap, let me give you the backstory of how all this came about.

It all started while bowling. Yes, bowling. Three years ago I was invited to a going-away party for a local entrepreneur at a bowling alley. During this party I met someone on the RTP180 planning team. She explained the concept to me, and I was immediately intrigued. As we were walking out of the alley she asked, “Do you know anyone who would want to co-host this event with me? I was thinking Anthony Pompliano.” To which I quickly replied, “No, don’t get him. (Sorry Anthony.) Give me a shot first.” That, my friend, is how I landed the gig as “host” of RTP180.

I’ll be the first one to admit it; I was a Nervous Nelly on that March 19 evening. I had done some public speaking before, but I had never been in charge of entertaining a room as the host. It has been one fun ride, though. I’ve had the privilege to meet some of the smartest and most entertaining people in the Triangle and the state of North Carolina. Here’s to 33 more!

Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s dive into October’s 180:

If I had to sum up October’s RTP180 with just one word, it would be “energy.” You could just feel it. As “Leeeeeeetttts get ready to rumble!” wafted over the PA system, I took the stage and for the first time ever, without saying a word, people clapped and welcomed me to the stage. That was an absolutely humbling experience.

What made this 180 so great? The speakers were on fire, the crowd was engaged, and, to be completely honest, the jokes were bad.

October’s topic on millennials has become controversial over the years. Millennials are often a misunderstood generation. Highly criticized for being a privileged generation and always needing the help of “mommy and daddy.” But as we learned from several of our speakers, millennials actually are hard workers and understand that to get ahead of the game they need to put in their full effort at the office. They also have learned to embrace failure. If they fail, they pick themselves up, dust off, and begin working on another endeavor.

Are you still hungry for a few more takeaways? Here are a few direct quotes from several of our speakers:

“By 2020, when millennials are the majority of the workforce, purpose will become the main differentiator in business. Beyond profit, businesses will be seen as either ‘for purpose’ or ‘not for purpose.’” Stan Phelps

  

“Millennials are seeking to align themselves with brands and organizations that provide a clearly articulated purpose. For this generation, why an organization does what it does is more important than simply what the brand or organization does. Millennials want to understand your purpose beyond profit before they fully commit.” Tru Pettigrew

  

Of course, if you missed this month’s event you can always watch the speaker videos on The RTP’s YouTube channel. If you’re like me, you’re already looking forward to next month’s topic, which is Social Entrepreneurship. No, it’s not entrepreneurs who are on social media. It’s about companies whose mission is to give back. Think companies like Tom’s shoes, but local! Registration will open on November 2. Don’t be square. Be there!

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