Earlier this month, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Manu (Swish) Goswami. Despite his young age, 20, Swish has built a multi-hyphenate career. He is a serial tech entrepreneur, LinkedIn Youth Editor, TEDx speaker, Fortune 500 consultant, venture capitalist and UN Youth Ambassador. He has been recognized with the United Nation’s Outstanding Youth Leadership Award, Startup Canada’s Young Entrepreneur Award, and Plan Canada’s Top 20 under 20.
To say the least, Swish is a very impressive individual. Throughout the course of our conversation we discussed his journey up to this point, his advice to youth as well as other topics. Personally, I took a lot away from our conversation and I highly encourage you to check out the interview below!
To start off, can you give us some background about yourself and who you are?
Originally, I was born in Singapore and lived there for a nine-year period prior to moving to Calgary. Throughout my childhood, I was involved in a wide variety of activities including basketball, cricket and Bollywood dance classes. From Grades 4 to 9, I went to the Calgary Science School (CSS). My time at CSS taught me to think differently and challenge the status quo. For every claim we studied in class, we analyzed and tested it. Not only that, the friends I made at CSS are dear to me and I still remain in contact with them up to this day! After Grade 9, I transferred to Webster Academy, a university preparatory school. At Webster Academy, I got involved with the student council, varsity basketball and volleyball teams, and began to seriously focus on my entrepreneurial career. Furthermore, in Grade 10 I had the honour of being selected to represent Canada as a part of the National Debate Team. As part of the National Debate Team, I was able to visit some amazing places and meet even more amazing people, all while developing a better understanding of current affairs and how the world operates. I really enjoyed my time in Calgary but I ultimately ended up moving to Toronto in order to attend the University of Toronto.
Over the course of this past summer, I moved to New York in order to focus on a number of ventures. I am currently the Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder of Dunk, a sports media company, as well as a Business Development Associate for JB Fitzgerald Venture Capital. In addition, I have developed social strategy for a variety of Fortune 500 companies including Google and American Express as part as my Youth Editor position at Linkedin.
As the name eludes to, a central theme of the INKspire platform is inspiration. Is there any particular person or people that have acted as inspirations in your life? If so, in what way did they inspire you?
I have drawn inspiration from a number of different people from musicians and athletes like Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant to business people like Mark Cuban and Gary Vaynerchuk. I am also inspired by friends and family such as my brother, who chose to forgo more lucrative opportunities in civil law in order to pursue a career in criminal law, something he is extremely passionate about.
On the topic of inspiration, what motivates you in general in life? I know for some it is a vision of a certain ideal future, providing for their family or striving for personal excellence. Do you feel as though you have underlying motivation like this in life?
I get this question a lot and find myself answering differently each time. I don’t think I have discovered a single underlying source of motivation that drives me to do what I do. In my opinion, it is not something worth rushing, especially considering I am only 20. With that being said, I find myself drawing motivation from a variety of sources. One of them being, a strong desire to succeed in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds. Whether it be not taken seriously as a young person in the corporate arena or facing adversity in my speaking career due to a speech impediment I developed as a child, I strive to succeed despite the adversity that I faced in these situations.
A common piece of advice for young people is pursue their passions as a career. For youth that have yet to find find their passion, do you have any advice to help them do so?
Young people face a lot of pressure from society to find their passion. The problem is that the youth is often given no indication of how to actually find their passion or informed that they are able to have more than one passion. It is okay to have more than one passion. I am passionate about more than one area and I imagine the majority of young people feel the same way. By no means am I an expert on this topic. However, I can offer two pieces of advice that have helped me considerably.
First, put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Spend a period of time trying something that you hate doing. After two months, you will notice two things. Eliminating career paths you would not enjoy is substantially easier. This effectively narrows your list of potential options. More importantly, when you are constantly engaged in something you hate doing for an extended period of time, your mind will begin to deviate to activities you would rather be doing. These activities may very well fall within the realm of your passion. Upon identifying these activities, continued self reflection will allow you to gradually gain a better sense of what your passion(s) is [(or are)].
Secondly, it is extremely beneficial for young people to engage themselves in a number of experiences. Beyond formal education, young people should strive to try their hand at a variety of different activities. This includes securing internships, taking part in or creating initiatives and networking with like minded individuals. The emergence of online social platforms such as Linkedin and Youtube has made getting involved with something that you interested in easier than ever. This will allow you to gain a better sense of where your passions lie which is extremely important in establishing a career you enjoy. During the work week, we spend on average seventy percent of our time awake at our job. For this reason, it is very important that you are able to find a career that you are passionate about.
Something that I was recently inspired by was the #LetsGetHonest Campaign on LinkedIn that you helped initiate. Can you shed some light on the initiative and what it aims to do?
The Let’s Get Honest Campaign is an initiative that I started in collaboration with a handful of other individuals on the Linkedin platform. The basic idea behind the initiative is to share failures, insecurities and shortcomings with your professional network in order to give a more complete picture of yourself. Prior to this movement, we noticed Linkedin was gravitating towards becoming a platform that solely emphasized professional successes. While emphasizing professional success is important, it fails to consider the countless shortcomings that lead to that success in the first place. As such, this movement allows people to connect with their network on a much more personal level and form deeper relationships with these individuals as a result.
I also helped initiate the #GoalsTogether campaign on Linkedin that just launched very recently. The Goals Together campaign involves sharing a short video with your network on Linkedin outlining your goals for the upcoming year. These goals should be realistic and something your network can hold you accountable to. I highly encourage anybody who is apart of the Linkedin community to check out these campaigns!
As a Linkedin influencer, what would your advice be to young people looking to make the most out of Linkedin?
The biggest piece of advice I have for young people in regards to Linkedin is to start putting out content on a consistent basis. Whatever it may be, content is essential for developing your personal brand and growing your network. When first starting, a lot of people struggle to establish what content to put out. I can assure you that many people feel the exact same way. My advice is to leverage your existing skills and experiences to produce content that your network can find value in. With that being said, everyone has the ability to create helpful content for their network and I strongly urge anyone who is looking to make the most out of Linkedin to do so!
Speaking with Swish was a pleasure and I took a lot away from the conversation. I hope this interview was as helpful to you as it was to me. I highly encourage you to check out Swish on Linkedin as well as the #LetsGetHonest and #GoalsTogether campaign for more helpful advice in regards to professional development and life in general!
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