One of the great perks of being a blogger is that I get to talk to a lot of really interesting people. A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Randal Pinkett, last season’s winner of The Apprentice and author of the new book Campus CEO. This book was written as an all-encompassing how-to guide for college student entrepreneurs so I was immediately interested in interviewing him. Besides, who doesn’t want the inside scoop on what goes on behind closed doors at Trump Central!
With all respect to Randal, I admit that I did not watch the show at all during the season that he was on it, so despite his gigantic media exposure, I went into the interview not knowing much about him besides what I read on his biography.
Wow, was I impressed. Despite an almost obscene number of degrees at a young age (Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers, a Master of Science in Computer Science from Oxford University in England, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and MBA and Ph.D. degrees from MIT), Randal was already a successful entrepreneur with a multi-million dollar company when he joined the cast of The Apprentice.
In the interview, he was kind, thoughtful and engaging. He talked about his first start up business as an 18 year old college student, and the successive growth that led him to graduate with a trunk full of degrees and no school debt! We agreed that was a great selling point for the book. 🙂
I wondered that if hotshot college students were starting businesses before graduating, if some of us late-to-the-game-but-enthusiastic entrepreneurial geezers should be worried. He assured me there was room for everyone.
I find it so rare in today’s world to find a truly savvy business person with a profound personal commitment to social change and justice. Because I spent many, many years of my life working with young people from neighborhoods without a lot of hope and resources, I walked away with a tremendous respect for Randal’s personal mission and positive attitude.
I invite you to listen to our conversation. It is about 40 minutes long.
If you are in college or have entrepreneurially-minded kids who are, I encourage you to buy the book. I really enjoyed the read, and found it has both good overviews and very practical “how to” checklists and resources.
I will post a transcript of this and the Martha Beck interview soon … sorry for the delay, there has been a glitch with my transcription service. Thanks for your patience.
Great interview! I enjoyed watching Randal on the Apprentice. He’s a very sharp guy who seems to practice what he preaches. He also seems like that guy that you feel as if you know from somewhere even though you haven’t actually met him.
I particularly enjoyed the portion of the interview where he talks about his buddies growing up and how they’ve gotten comfortable in the corporate world–Randal’s reflection on that made me chuckle because that’s happened to me on more than one occasion.
Pam, thank you so very much for this interview. You had some great questions and I felt moved and inspired on so many levels by Randal’s responses–the most personal being the power of AND. I struggle daily with the desire to ‘do good,’ yet have somehow convinced myself that earning a living and doing good are mutually exclusive. So I really, really needed to hear what he had to say about being able to effect change agent AND be an entrepreneur. I’m the advisor for the Black student union at the junior high where I work and am always on the lookout for role models our African-American students can identify with outside the obvious arenas of entertainment and sports. And I’m also looking forward to sharing this interview with my African-American mate who’s a self-employed musician–to see if there are messages here he can apply to a life path in the arts. Thank you again–it was an excellent interview.
What a surprise. Gotta mention that I have just once in my life seen the Apprentice and that by accident. And honestly, never ever would I have thought that this guy, that sometimes seemed getting so nervous and stressed out with his team mates, is the Randal Pinkett of the interview. Very impressing!
What a wonderfully articulate, intelligent, insightful interview. As someone who is Almost Fifty, I have recently adapted a new philosophy of looking towards elders to find wisdom of how to grow old gracefully and how to adapt in our ever-changing society. And though I still feel that our western society tends to focus on the Young & Beautiful, Randal Pinkett made me realise there is so much to learn from those who are younger than I am, but very wise and grand in spirit. Thank you Pamela and Randal for sharing your conversation with us.
I loved him on The Apprentice. Seems like such a nice guy! It sounds like he lives up to that too. Sweet interview, thanks for sharing with everyone!