Episode 45: Success at a Young Age – How Jeet Banerjee Proved That Age Doesn’t Matter

Who is Jeet Banerjee and the key takeaways in this episode?

Whatever age you are or stage you are at right now in your quest for that elusive dream, today’s guest will give you a big boost to just do it. In this episode, I’ve interviewed Jeet Banerjee, a young guy of 22 years of age, vibrant and full of energy. Yet there’s one thing that sets him apart: he’s pursuing his dream and he’s helping others find their own direction. If you’re still thinking whether you’re too young or too old, or don’t have the money or time, this interview is for you.

Be sure to listen to the full interview to learn about:

  • How Jeet got the idea to become an entrepreneur
  • What drove him to pursue his dream despite his first disappointment
  • How age played against him when he was starting up
  • How he managed to counter the rejections which occurred just because of his age
  • Jeet’s thoughts on what millenials are looking for in companies
  • And more…

The Questions

[2:22] Who are you, where you came from, and how you came to be the man you are today?
Answer: Yes, absolutely sounds good. So right now, I’m 22 years old. I consider myself a serial entrepreneur and digital marketing consultant. I’ve also done a TEDx Talk like you mentioned.

Kind of going back to the days when I got started. So my parents kind of raised me in a way where they wanted to teach me the value of a dollar very early on. So basically at 15, they kind of cut me off and said, “Hey, if you want to go to the movies with your friends or buy the latest video games, you got to go get a job and earn the money yourself.”

So from about 15 to 17, I worked a variety of different minimum wage jobs whether it was tutoring, coaching, project management, secretary, door to door sales, telemarketing – this long, large list of jobs about 12 or 13 different ones that I did in a span of two years. Every few months, I was either quitting or getting fired from each of these jobs. In the beginning I just thought, “Oh maybe tutoring is not for me. Let me try something in a completely different space and industry.” And I’d do that and the same thing would happen.

Then finally, I came to the realization after two years of this that maybe the idea of a job wasn’t right for me. I was extremely terrified because my whole plan was to go to a good college, get a business degree and work a corporate job. But I couldn’t last two years at a job that I was working part-time. So I kind of wanted to find a way to make money while having fun and enjoying it.

[6:55] Can you share with us your biggest struggle as a millennial in building your business and trying to sell to the baby boomers or the older generations?
Answer: Yes, absolutely. I think the biggest thing was that when I would walk into the door, a lot of people would write me off before I had even said one word or even delivered or started my presentation, just because they may have been in their 40s or 50s. They’re walking in and seeing someone, who’s to say, may be just their kid or whatever it is. They automatically would not take me seriously.

So I think that was probably like one of the biggest barriers or struggles that I had to overcome was that getting people to see past just my age and how young I looked and all that kind of stuff. So I think that was probably the biggest struggle that I had selling to older generations is that I couldn’t get the fair judgment or fair critic of my presentation or my skills, because people were writing me off when I walk into the door.

[16:06] Why didn’t you give up?
Answer: When I make up my mind or when I see something that I really want, I just run out and do it. I know there are a lot of people out there that like to plan and strategically or tactically make an advance on something, but for me I just got to do it.

The worst thing that can happen to me is failing or making a mistake. I’ve always been raised with that mindset to never give up no matter what the situation is. I think that’s just what kept me going. Just the fear of having to go back out there and work another minimum wage job or whatever it was kept me going every single day.

Culture According to Jeet Banerjee:

Absolutely, I think my definition for company culture is creating an environment or a workplace that is suitable for people of all different ages, all different groups, ethnicities, whatever the case is. So it’s kind of like I look at it more as how you’re able to… it’s almost like a refrigerator. If you have all these different items and you’ve got to find a way to make it fit in the refrigerator, you’ve got to move things around. You’ve got to empty some things. It’s a container, whatever the case is.

I look at a company culture the same way. You’re not going to have everyone with the same mindsets, the same generation that they grew up with and stuff like that. But you’ve got to piece everything together in a puzzle. Once you complete that puzzle, that’s when your company is cranking away. That’s kind of what I look at and think about when I seek company culture.

Go To Quote for Inspiration

Book Recommendations:

  • The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco

What Jeet Banerjee Wants His Company to BE:

  • BE Creative
  • BE Free
  • BE Inspired

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Interview:

  • StatFuse

Where to Find Jeet Banerjee:

Connect with John on

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

John: Welcome to Be Culture Radio and my guest today – Jeet Banergee. Jeet, how are you, my man?

Jeet: I’m doing great. How about yourself?

John: Well, I’m doing perfect now that you’re here with us. We’re excited to have you. We’ve got a lot to talk about.

Today, we’re going to discuss the millennials and what they’re looking for. And how a millennial looks at a millennial because you’re the man we want to talk to.

We had talked a little bit in the pre-show. I saw your TEDTalk which I found so amazing and so inspiring. We’re going to talk about that. But before we do, I want you to share with my listeners some insight as to who you are, where you came from, and how you came to be the man you are today.

Jeet: Yes, absolutely sounds good. So right now, I’m 22 years old. I consider myself a serial entrepreneur and digital marketing consultant. I’ve also done a TEDx Talk like you mentioned.

Kind of going back to the days when I got started. So my parents kind of raised me in a way where they wanted to teach me the value of a dollar very early on. So basically at 15, they kind of cut me off and said, “Hey, if you want to go to the movies with your friends or buy the latest video games, you got to go get a job and earn the money yourself.”

So from about 15 to 17, I worked a variety of different minimum wage jobs, whether it was tutoring, coaching, project management, secretary, door to door sales, telemarketing – this long, large list of jobs about 12 or 13 different ones that I did in a span of two years. Every few months, I was either quitting or getting fired from each of these jobs. In the beginning I just thought, “Oh maybe tutoring is not for me. Let me try something in a completely different space and industry.” And I’d do that and the same thing would happen.

Then finally, I came to the realization after two years of this that maybe the idea of a job wasn’t right for me. I was extremely terrified because my whole plan was to go to a good college, get a business degree and work a corporate job. But I couldn’t last two years at a job that I was working part-time. So I kind of wanted to find a way to make money while having fun and enjoying it.

That’s when I came across the idea of entrepreneurship. I came across videos of like Richard Burns and [01:59 Inaudible] Moss, Steve Jobs, all these different individuals at 17. As a senior in high school, I started and launched my first company, which is a multimedia agency where we made videos, mobile applications, websites and so forth for various businesses.

After doing that, I ended up – so basically I had that company and I grew that company to about 20 plus employees in a span of two years. At 19, I ended up selling that company. From there, I’ve moved on to a series of different startup tech ventures. And that’s kind of a little bit about me, yes.

John: You know what? You’ve got to go back and thank your parents. I, too have a background. I’m one of eight kids. I’m number six. So I think it was out of necessity that my parents cut us off because they didn’t have any – as one of my nieces said, “Do you have any extra money?” “Don’t have any of that.” So they put me out on my own.

And like you, you know, you go through the process from selling dishes, from door to door paper routes. I worked for Pizza Hut. I’d go stock shelves and you find out that when you’re going through it, you don’t know what an entrepreneur is. You just know you don’t fit.

I did go into corporate America, Jeet. And guess what? It was a round peg in a square hole. I didn’t fit there either. But you have the drive and your parents gave you the foundation. So from that standpoint, you had a tremendous foundation to move forward and to figure it out because what I hear in your stories is that it’s not about failure. It’s about figuring out how you’re going to make it, right?

Jeet: Yes, exactly. Right on.

John: Now, what was the biggest milestone for you in developing yourself in an entrepreneurial career when you were trying to figure it out? At what point did the lights come on for you that you said, “I got it!”

Jeet: Yes, absolutely. I think the biggest thing for me was kind of just going through the psychological barriers. I’d seen whether or not I could actually make it as an entrepreneur because when I got started out, I was 17 and everyone else I was studying, looking at or watching, was well in their late 20s or 30s and stuff like that. So I felt like I was kind of out of my place.

But my biggest milestone for me was when I was actually able to get my first paying customer, my first sale. Just seeing that check written out to my name and being able to deliver them a project and seeing them say, “Great job, thanks so much. I’m going to refer you to everyone that I know that might need your services.” I think that was the biggest milestone because once I saw that happen, after that it was just a matter of scaling and going as hard as I could at it.

In the beginning I was kind of more nervous, kind of tiptoeing, kind of scared to see what was going to happen. But as soon as I got that vote of confidence with that first sale, I was just ready to run as fast as I could.

John: Now, I’ve got to ask you, here you are a young man, and I’ve walked in your shoes. You know, I had the distinct opportunity to work for big Fortune 100 corporations. And I was in my late 20s and I was an executive. I’d walk in the room as the highest ranking executive and everybody around me was 20 years older than me I’ve got to believe –

Today, we talk about millennials and the next generation but I’ve got to believe there’s something about that. It did shape me and it made me stop and pause. Even today, when I deal with someone younger than me, I always make sure to listen intently and get as much as I can from that person because I think age is a number. It doesn’t define who that person is that’s talking to me.

That being said, can you share with us your biggest struggle as a millennial in building your business and trying to sell to the baby boomers or the older generations?

Jeet: Yes, absolutely. I think the biggest thing was that when I would walk into the door, a lot of people would write me off before I had even said one word or even delivered or started my presentation, just because they may have been in their 40s or 50s. They’re walking in and seeing someone, who’s to say, may be just their kid or whatever it is. They automatically would not take me seriously.

So I think that was probably like one of the biggest barriers or struggles that I had to overcome was that getting people to see past just my age and how young I looked and all that kind of stuff. So I think that was probably the biggest struggle that I had selling to older generations is that I couldn’t get the fair judgment or fair critic of my presentation or my skills, because people were writing me off when I walk into the door.

John: So Jeet, how did that make you feel?

Jeet: Oh that was the most terrible feeling of all. It seemed to make me feel really upset. There were even times when I just wanted to give up and just kind of put it off until later. And say “Okay, you know what? I’ll wait until I’m 25 or I graduate from college and then try it again.” So it’s definitely a frustrating feeling.

John: So why didn’t you give up?

Jeet: It was just more like… what I’d like to say is for me patience isn’t a virtue. Like when I make up my mind or when I see something that I really want, I just run out and do it. I know there are a lot of people out there that like to plan and strategically or tactically make an advance on something, but for me I just got to do it.

The worst thing that can happen to me is failing or making a mistake. I’ve always been raised with that mindset to never give up no matter what the situation is. I think that’s just what kept me going. Just the fear of having to go back out there and work another minimum wage job or whatever it was kept me going every single day.

John: I love to hear that story. I want to ask you this. Today, we have a lot of people that are in the older generation that have now come to realize that there’s this wave of individuals coming into the market labor called millennials. They’re going to define the labor market in the future.

That being said, what are the older generation – what do we need to understand when we’re looking to bring in the millennials? What do we need to do to resonate with them and engage them?

Jeet: Yes, absolutely. I think the biggest thing is I think with millennials, it’s two things. I think the first thing is giving them the willingness to kind of hear them out and listen to them, because I feel like they all have their own opinions and they’d love to voice their opinions. The biggest way that you can frustrate them is by not letting them voice their opinions or what they have to say.

I think the second thing is really giving them the freedom and kind of like almost like creative control. I think the biggest thing that I struggled with working at jobs and stuff was I might have had a better way to do something, or I might have come up with a very good creative idea but no one was really willing to listen and hear me out. No one was willing to give me the freedom to try.

It was “either do it my way or get fired”. I think that’s a very bad approach that a lot of people from the older generation might take because something that might have worked really well 30, 40 years ago might not be the best possible solution today.

If you give someone that’s kind of grown up within the last 20, 30 years, they might be able to come up with a faster, more effective and efficient way to do something. And I think just giving them the freedom to try it and just to see how you react and respond to it is extremely crucial.

John: So the “my way or the highway” philosophy does not work, right?

Jeet: Yes, exactly.

John: Now, let me ask you this. My wife and I have built a company and we based it around the fact that it’s a linear company and everybody matters. Everybody’s opinion is valid. It doesn’t matter where you are on the pay scale because just because someone makes more than somebody else doesn’t make their opinion worth more.

One of the things I like to share with my listeners is this. I surround myself with millennials. We sit in conference rooms and I don’t have a clue sometimes what you guys are talking about. But I check my ego at the door and when I don’t know – because you guys grew up in the social media. It’s like the back of your hand. I’ve had to learn it.

Jeet: Uhmm.

John: You didn’t. You guys have these conversations and I’m never embarrassed to say, “Time out. I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Can somebody help me?” After they get on laughing at me and we all have a good chuckle, there’s like, “We’re so glad you asked this because most guys like you won’t even admit they don’t know.”

So can we talk about that for a minute? How do you help us get on board with you?

Jeet: Yes, absolutely. I think it comes down a lot to kind of bringing things in a way where it’s more understandable. So I guess talking about it in like layman’s term. So let’s say like there are a lot of strategies over the cases when it comes to social media or whatever the case is. That may sound overly complicated and complex if you’d never essentially used the social network or whatever the case is.

But if you kind of break it down, you kind of relate it to something that might be from, let’s say, their generation or something that’s just from everyday life, then it becomes very easy to understand.

I think it goes the same way when someone from the older generation is trying to teach a millennial something from way back when. I think it was just all about relating it to things that they know and that they’re comfortable with. And if you can do that in a successful way, I think it’s very easy to kind of share concepts between different groups and different ages.

John: So what do you think that are some of the things that we’re doing right as we engage with the millennials? What do you think are some of the things that we could do better?

Jeet: Yes, absolutely. So I mean, in terms of what I’ve seen, I think some of the things that are done really well with millennials and stuff like that is I know that the older generations are often… from what I’ve seen, and especially if someone just comes out of college or whatever the case is, I’ve seen that they’re very willing to hire those types of individuals. Because they kind of look at it as a way where if we can get this guy to grow up with us, then kind of start off and gain that experience with us, we can maybe unlock his full potential or do X,Y, and Z, or whatever the case is.

So I’ve seen as of late that the older generation of individuals are likely to hire or are giving a preference to hire students that are fresh from college or whatever the case is. They’re trying to give them an opportunity to succeed and thrive, especially in my area.

Then kind of just going back to the negatives that I’ve seen, I think the biggest thing is just like restricting and limiting the voice and the opinions of the millennials. Because I think anytime someone takes a job, they want to be able to have a voice and that’s kind of… like if you just tell someone “Do this, do that, do this,” and they have no say in it, they kind of lose the passion and the drive for that position or that job.

Vice versa, if you give someone the ability to say, “Okay, you know what, how about you lead on this project and we’ll sit back and follow your steps,” they kind of have that passion and that drive that they didn’t have before to make it succeed. They’ll work even when they’re not on the clock. They’ll go above and beyond to make things happen just because it is something that they’re passionate about now, because it’s their voice and their actions that are truly being measured.

So those are just kind of the positives and negatives that I’ve seen.

John: So how do you define company culture?

Jeet: Absolutely, I think my definition for company culture is creating an environment or a workplace that is suitable for people of all different ages, all different groups, ethnicities, whatever the case is. So it’s kind of like I look at it more as how you’re able to… it’s almost like a refrigerator. If you have all these different items and you’ve got to find a way to make it fit in the refrigerator, you’ve got to move things around. You’ve got to empty some things. It’s a container, whatever the case is.

I look at a company culture the same way. You’re not going to have everyone with the same mindsets, the same generation that they grew up with and stuff like that. But you’ve got to piece everything together in a puzzle. Once you complete that puzzle, that’s when your company is cranking away. That’s kind of what I look at and think about when I seek company culture.

John: You know, I think you’re 100% on target. One of the challenges we’ve had in our firm is that we have millennial, we have baby boomers: we have people at all different steps and walks of life – male, female, all different ethnic backgrounds. So we kind of use that as a gathering point. For example, we do a lunch and everybody brings something from a different culture where they came from. Then they all say, “Okay, John, I want you to eat this and this and this.” And I’m like, “Guys, I can’t do the spicy food thing, no, no, no.” So they all looked. They all laughed at me.

We find that it’s the tie that binds us is truly our differences and the appreciation of the differences and the respect that you have for one another – from whether you’re a millennial or you’re a baby boomer, or you’re an X Generation. What you are isn’t as important as how you are. I find that when you go out and you start to look at things from someone else’s perspective, as I like to say: walk in somebody else’s shoes and then ask the question why.

So let me walk in your shoes for a moment. How important is the company culture to your generation? Does it mean more than what you get paid, the office environment?

Jeet: Yes.

John: What decisions go on for you guys when you’re looking at companies these days?

Jeet: Yes, absolutely. I think company culture is extremely important because nobody wants to be in an environment where the light is going to get sucked out of them. It kind of goes back to even me when I was working minimum wage jobs, I was obviously in the beginning. I was getting paid something and then I was willing to give all of that up just to be in an environment where I would be happy and I would have freedom and the creativity to do whatever I want. That didn’t guarantee that I was going to get paid. I was working 10 times as many hours as I was at this minimum wage jobs but I was willing to give up all of that just for my own satisfaction and just for my own happiness.

I think people in our generation value their happiness and kind of like the comfortability – of being comfortable more than anything else.  I definitely do think it means a lot more than the pay raise or the amount that they get paid.

I also think that in terms of what the office environment, the design, stuff like that – people from our generation, they want to be in an environment where it’s fun. It’s surrounding them with individuals or other people that are likeminded or whatever the case is. So they’re looking to be in an environment where they can be filled with positivity and growth consistently. I think they would value a good working environment far more than a really high pay check or whatever the case is.

John: Now do you think the companies, the bill cultures around, the open environment, the inclusive environment and then they take the component of saying we’re going to bring a philanthropic section to this. So whatever it is you want to do – like for us, whatever – if you’re here in our company and you have something you want to do philanthropic, whereas our CEO does the 39-mile walk. I share with you. I do for charity – I run an AAU inner city boys’ basketball program and help the kids get off to school.  Other people – they work to help community outreach services.

So for us we’ve made it, “what is it you want to give back?” versus “we’ve all seen the corporations where this is what we do as a corporation.” So what if I didn’t want to do that, right?

So how does that work for the millennials when they’re looking at companies? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Jeet: Yes, definitely.  I think millennials nowadays are driven more by their passions more than anything else. If they’re in the position where they can do something that they’re passionate about, it’s amazing. Like I know there are a lot of companies, major companies out there, where they’ll say, “Okay, come work for us.”  If you choose to decide to create your own business, your own startup company, not only will we give you the red carpet and help you make that happen but we’ll also try to get you funding, mentors, resources, all that kind of stuff.”

I know Google is a big company that’s done that. I’ve actually known specific people that have gone there and gotten a job, worked there for five, six years; decided that they want to create their own startup and fully get the red carpet treatment from Google. I think the biggest thing that millennials are looking for is kind of that open environment but also an environment where they’re promoted to follow their passions.

Not where if someone comes, like if there’s another company that says, “If you try to create your own company or whatever it is, we’re going to fire you. We’re going to ruin your resume. We’re going to ruin all your references,” and stuff like that.  That’s a huge turn off to millennials. They’re going to look at that and they’re going to say, “Well, all I’m seeing is I’ll be threatened if I want to follow my passions or I want to follow my dreams.

Whereas there are other companies that will thank you for your service and do whatever is possible in their control to help you be successful. I think that’s how I kind of get it.

John: I think companies have had to change. I mean, I remember back when I was in my late twenties, I worked for a corporation.  When you signed on with them and you took a job, you had to sign a document that said anything you create is theirs.

Jeet: Okay.

John: That wouldn’t apply today.

Jeet: Yes, yes, yes.

John: You wouldn’t get many people walk in the front door and say, “Yes, anything I create is yours. Sure. Let me sign up for that tomorrow.”

Let me ask you this, what success have you had in attracting talent and how did you do it?  You’ve had some companies and my listeners want to know, “Hey, Jeet, what is it that we can do, and what have you done to attract the millennials? And what have you learned about doing it that you would share with us?

Jeet: Yes, absolutely.  I did two big things. The first, biggest, thing that I do is that at the beginning of every week we’ll kind of have a team meeting. At that team meeting, it’s kind of like an open table, an open discussion board, no holds barred. You can say whatever you like. So if you had a concern, a problem, an issue, whatever it is with a certain individual, with the company, with another client, whatever the case is – it’s all out in the open. We just kind of talk about it, discuss, vent, get all that stuff out of our system.

The second part is just like any opinion. Basically, it’s like freedom of speech, like if you think we can do something better or faster, mention it and let’s see how we can implement it. If there’s something that stopping you from achieving any goal or something that can help you achieve goals quicker – stop, talk about it, and mention it. That’s like the first thing that I did. I made it like a very, very open place where it’s not like everyone is coming into my room and saying, “Hey boss, can I talk to you for a second?”  It’s more like everyone looks at each other as an equal. That’s kind of what creates a thriving working environment.

The second biggest thing that I’ve done is that I don’t believe in the idea of shifts like nine to five, nine to six, or whatever the case is.  What we essentially do at our company is we’ll say, “Okay, for this week or this month, these are the tasks that we’re looking for you to get done. If you finish those tasks, let’s say you finished a month’s worth of task in three days, have fun the rest of the 27 days. Go to Disneyland. Go do whatever you got to do. That’s perfectly fine. As long as it’s done well, done right and you get the job done in three days, no prompts asked.”

If that same job ends up taking you 30 days, but it takes you let’s say 16 hour rip days for 30 days, then that’s kind of what it ends up being, right? Every individual has their own speed that they work at and they kind of have their own approach to doing things.  We give them the full freedom to work in their own manner, work how they want to get it done.

The biggest goal is just what we need done and we expect you to get this done.  We’ve seen that’s worked very, very well because people don’t like to constantly be under the microscope and kind of like have someone breathing over their neck.  We’ve seen that technique work really well, where people will go above and beyond to get a job done. We’ve seen that the results have been a lot better and the way the job has been done is better than if someone’s at a shift and with someone breathing down their neck.

John: Jeet, let me ask you this because you seem – this is a very genuine approach. Now, those of us that have been in corporate America and have seen the point where I’m going to give you this to do and if you get it done, fine; and they know good and well what they’re giving you cannot be done in 30 days.

As a matter of fact, they’re probably giving you 65 days of work to do in 30 days knowing you can’t get it done and overloading you.

So how do you manage that as the founder and the keeper of the culture?  This is your tribe. How do you make sure that those behaviors that start to creep in like, “Oh wow, they got it done in 20 days, let’s give them more” – How do you balance the scales so that you don’t get penalized for being really good at what you do?

Jeet: Yes, absolutely.  I think it comes down to two things. So the first part is let’s say I end up giving them a lot more work – let’s say it’s 60 days’ worth of work that I’m asking them to do in 30 days – I always kind of voice them to let me know if something is unreasonable. That’s kind of what the weekly discussions are about.

If they say, “You know what, I went through all the stuff that you gave me and I feel like something like this is going to take 45 to 60 days, not 30 days,”  I’ll ask them, “Okay, what parts do you think are going to take longer? What kind of mistakes did we make at the foundation level to assign you something more than what it was?”  Then we kind of mutually figure it out and agree on a new time frame or take some work out and dish it out to someone else or whatever the case is.  The way that I look at it is that every month, every week, whatever the case is, there are some things that you have to essentially get done right.

Whatever those tasks are and whoever has delegated those tasks throughout that week or that monthly process essentially gets those tasks. You kind of have to have a really good idea about what needs to get done in order for your company to be successful and to thrive. The way we look at it is if someone finishes that whole job in 20 days, those 10 days are not an opportunity for us to say, “Okay, next month we’re going to higher up the work by 10 more days just so that they get stuck.”  The way we look at it is: “Okay, this is what we needed from this person to get an ROI off that person and to help make the company thrive and be successful. So we’re just going to leave it at that.

Then we’re just going to keep pushing forward like that. I think that what really builds good company culture is not kind of like abusing the trust and the relationship that you have with your employees but rather being genuine and authentic. Both ways, I think if you treat them authentically, they’re going to treat you authentically back.

John: Do you think culture drives metrics or do metrics drive culture?

Jeet: I think culture drives metrics, 100%.

John: I agree with you. Now what’s the most common mistake companies make or assumption they make about millennials?

Jeet: I think the biggest assumption or the biggest mistake they make is that they think that millennials know nothing. When they hire them, it’s like they automatically put them to training or they automatically give them a low position and have a manager or someone else overlook them. But oftentimes they don’t know that that millennial might actually know more than the manager.  They might be smarter than this person and they’re actually not being used for their best talents or best skills.

I think that ends up being a big issue oftentimes but what I recommend for those types of individuals is to maybe give them a test to figure out really where they stand. Like, let’s say for example, you’re getting ready to apply to college. You have to take an SAT. You have to take an ACT to place yourself and to see where you actually stand.  If Harvard or whatever it was said, “Oh, you’re 18 and you’re from this city in this high school so we’re just going to say no to you,”  that wouldn’t make any sense at all.

And I feel like the hiring process is very similar. “Oh, you’re just out of college. You’re 23. You must not know anything because you have no prior experience. We’re just going to give you the lowest position possible.”  But that’s not necessarily how it works because some of these individuals can be contributors right out of the gate. They might be able to do very big things for a company but they’re just locked up and caged in where no one knows about their skills for even sometimes five, ten, fifteen years or whatever the case is.

John: Now Jeet, how do millennials view diversity in the work force?

Jeet: Diversity in the sense of…?

John: When you look at another company, what’s it look like?  Is everybody that you know –  does everyone look the same? Is it all male? Is it all female? Are they all white? I know when I interview people and I’ve been to the corporations that, you know what? Millennials are looking for something, aren’t they?  Aren’t they looking for people to be genuine when they look at the workforce, so it looks like the world?

Jeet: Yes absolutely.  I think the biggest things that millennials will look for are kind of like… most of these millennials are coming from college and they’re coming from college classrooms, right?  If they go to a college classroom, mostly they’re going to like very specific universities.  Most universities in general are very diverse ethnically.  They’ve got many men, many women, people of all different ages, people of all different cultures and all this kind of stuff.

I think the biggest thing that they look for when they go into the workforce is that similar blend or that similar mixture because if they automatically go on base and only see that one company has 95% of the people there are, let’s say, Korean.  At that point, they kind of look at that and they go “Okay, well, I might be, let’s say, Indian. I don’t know if it’s a good fit for me now because all I see is Korean people working at this company.  I think that they look for that same diversity and that same kind of like…” I forgot what it’s called. It’s like the ethnic…

John: The ethnic makeup.

Jeet: Yes, exactly. The ethnic makeup. And I think that definitely does have a huge impact on them because I don’t think anyone wants to feel like they are the minority just by themselves. They would rather be in an environment or in a working culture where they feel like they are similar to many other people there. I think that’s being able to relate and being able to kind of associate yourself with a similar group of people. It’s huge when someone’s trying to decide on what kind of job they want to take.

John: I think that’s some great input on that.  I mean I think it’s one of the issues that we have to deal with as we move forward as a nation, as we move forward in moving our businesses forward, that the diversity and the ethnic makeup of what goes on at the executive levels has to be addressed and must continually be something where everybody gets an opportunity.  I don’t care if you’re purple. You get a chance because of what you bring at the table.

Jeet: Yes, absolutely.

John: I think it’s one of the things. We make a change a little bit at a time but I think the change is being made. It’s like for our firm here. Our CEO is a female and she’s a minority. People say, “That’s the boss?”  I said, “Yes, the really nice lady, yes she’s the boss, yes.”  Great.

I had a young guy, 21, who came in and he said, “So you’re the boss.”  I’m like, “No I work for her, the one right over there, the really nice lady.”  He said, “She went and got me a cup of coffee and asked me.” I’m like, “Yes, yes, yes.”

Everybody does the same thing for everybody around here.  It’s a very linear organization.  I think he was blown away by it because I think people make that assumption that if you’re from a different generation, you live by those norms.  I think that’s another thing that as we look out in the world, just because you’re from a different generation, you can learn a great deal from the millennials.

Jeet: Yes, yes exactly. 

John: Jeet, I’m going to take you to the lightning round, okay?

Jeet: Okay, sounds good.

John: What book, if any, changed your life?

Jeet: “The Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ DeMarco.

John: The book. What quote do you go to for inspiration?

Jeet: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” by Mahatma Gandhi.

John: Get out and see that’s on the license plate of our CEO and that’s what she says every time she walks around here.

Jeet: That’s awesome.

John: You would resonate great with her. I think we tease her. We say, “I think she is Mahatma Gandhi reincarnated.”  She doesn’t laugh a lot when we say that. But she looks at us and nods her head.

Now Jeet, what company do you admire the most as it relates to culture and why, other than your own?

Jeet: Definitely Google, and the reason why – if you ever just go to the Google campus, to their office, you kind of just get to see how great an environment they create. You can take a nap with your co-worker.  You can go out and play volleyball with your co-worker. They’ve done a great job, where you can build a long term relationship with your co-workers and it’s almost like a family more than just like an employee or co-worker that you look at.  I think that’s a great thing about culture.

John: We refer to that on the show as the tribe. Everybody has got a tribe from your family to the people you work with, it’s your tribe. I think they have done a great job in creating that environment of a tribe.  Now we’re going to finish big. Here we go Jeet. Are you ready?

Jeet: Yes, sounds good.

John: If you had to describe the culture of your company in three words, what would you want it to be?

Jeet: Be creative, be free, and be inspired.

John: Be creative, be free, and be inspired. Excellent!  Now Jeet, how can my listeners get in touch with you?

Jeet: The best way to probably get in touch with me would be my personal website which is www.jeetbanerjee.com, spelled J-E-E-T-B-A-N-E-R-J-E-E dot com. And that website has my blog, my social media links, my projects, TEDx Talk, whatever they may need to kind of get to know me or get in touch with me.

John: I’ll tell my listeners. Go see the TEDx Talk. It blew me away when I saw it.  Jeet, anything else you want to roll out to us, tell us about a blog, anything. This is your time, man.

Jeet: No, I think that’s about it.  I appreciate your letting me on here.

John: We enjoyed it now.  I never let my guest go without sharing with you my favorite quote from Maya Angelou which is, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”  We hope we made you feel welcome and part of our tribe today and thank you so much for coming on.

Jeet: Absolutely my pleasure.  Thanks for having me.

John: Be well my friend.  Talk to you soon.

Jeet: Sounds good.

John: Bye-bye.