Saturday, March 3, 2018

On Brandon Stanton, Thursday's Keynote Speaker, RootsTeach 2018

Humans of New York was at the edge of my radar.  I'd heard of it but really knew nothing about the blog, the blog owner, the project, or the Facebook page, so hearing Brandon Stanton speak was a great introduction to both him and his work.  His focus is not family history but connecting with others, asking questions, and listening to answers.  (If only we could do that with our ancestors!)

Brandon Stanton at RootsTech 2018

He shared several ideas that I thought were worth noting and remembering. 
  • On time:  "Time itself is the most valuable resource."  We spend our time on activities that aren't necessarily satisfying, in accumulating resources, and doing things that will make us important in the eyes of others but "we don't view our time as a resource itself....  All the cars, all the houses, all the money, all the importance in the world put together cannot buy a minute of that time back."
  • On time and thoughts when doing unfulfilling work:  "It wasn't only the minutes that passed me by, it was all the thoughts that I could have been directing towards people that I love, that I could have been directing towards things that I want to do, things that I want to create, were instead directed and funneled into trying to maintain that sense of importance."
  • On following your dream:  He talked about people following their dreams -- as musician, writer, whatever professions -- and spending a little time each day working at their music or writing, then spending the rest of the day in the coffee shop.  "People use following their dreams as an excuse not to work....  Following your dreams correctly is nothing but hard work....  The goal, I don't think, is get to the place where you don't have to work.  The goal is get to the place where you choose your work...." 

Thank you, RootsTech organizers, for inviting Brandon to speak.  And thank you, Brandon, for sharing your story and insights.

If you didn't see the presentation you can see it here, at the RootsTech website.  I thought it was well worth my hour.  I hope the video will be available on youtube soon, in which case I'll switch out the image above and include the video.


P.S.  I was #NotAtRootsTech.


  1. I hadn’t heard of Humans of New York until I saw so many conference-goers talking about it. Sounds like a good name for a rock band.

    1. LOL. Yes, it does, Wendy. Did you watch Brandon's address? I have yet to look at his website other than in passing. I guess recording stories is it's tie with family history.


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