Russel Simmons

Russel Simmons

Founder at Learnirvana

Russ is currently the founder and chief at Learnirvana, a company that is reimagining the experience of learning. Prior to Learnirvana, Russ co-founded Yelp in July 2004 with former colleague and friend Jeremy Stoppelman, and served as its CTO for 6 years. Prior to Yelp, Russ was the first engineer and lead software architect at PayPal.

Growing up I wanted to become a construction equipment operator, then I wanted to become a scientist.

Letter to Myself at 20

I know you're not very interested in self-promoting or documenting your projects, but you'd be amazed what kind of great people you can meet if you do. You might think the things you're working on aren't worth putting out there, but they probably are; imagine if no one else shared their work! Don't let time slip away, don't get too complacent. Find some hacks to help overcome procrastination. Time is precious, find opportunities for leverage. "Leadership" is not as BS as you think. While you can get a lot done by yourself, the scope of things you can tackle with the right team is so much larger. You have good taste in people; keep making use of that, and relentlessly surround yourself with the best people you can find.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman