Thursday, November 26, 2009

Inspiring Changes from the Greats in YES 2009

As you noticed that recently Malaysia was given the honor to host the yearly Youth Engagement Summit 2009 (YES 2009) on the 16th & 17th November 2009 at Putrajaya. Several speakers such as Garry Kasparov (chess legend), Tony Fernades (AirAsia CEO), Amitabh Bachan (Indian actor), Nando Parrado (Andes plane crash survivor), Sir Bob Geldof (LiveAid Founder), and Biz Stone (Twitter co-founder) were invited to give inspiring speak to the one thousand South-East Asia youths and captured their audience's full attention with their experiences, knowledge and wisdom.


However Donald Trump took over Amitabh's slot. He was so engaging that it did not matter that he was doing a video conference.

Throughout YES2009, the delegates listened attentively and responded enthusiastically.

As the speakers spoke, many in the audience eagerly shared the talk with those outside the hall. They were updating their Twitter and Facebook accounts with the speakers' quotes and words of wisdom in real time.

If one had followed the yes2009 tag on Twitter, they would have found out that some of the speakers funny, humble, motivational and impressive, while others fell into the long-winded, one-dimensional and downright boring category.

At the end of each talk, the speakers sat down with the moderator, television personality Lorraine Hahn, to answer questions from YouTube videos, Skype messages and the floor. That unfortunately, was the only engagement the youths had with the speakers throughout the summit.

Youths who attended YES2009 will bring with them many inspiring words from personalities who have transformed theirs and other people's lives with their talent, vision and courage.

Garry Kasparov Chess legend

Most people did not expect the former World Chess champion to be a compelling speaker. Garry walked on stage all business-like, and with a Russian accent started off by saying how innovation is the key towards sustainability.

"I am not a religious man, but if I have faith, it would be in innovation," he said. Garry spoke about how constant change helps one to evolve to a secure position, instead of fading out. One example he gave was Altavista, a popular Web search engine in the 90s.

"If you want to know what happened to Altavista, you can Google it," he said, drawing laughter from the audience.

Garry's self-depricating humor was also a hit with the audience, especially when he admitted that though he has a great memory, he never seems to remember his wife's birthday.

The chess legend mainly spoke about taking risks, strategic thinking, and vertical thinking against horizontal thinking.

"Change means taking risks; zero percent risk is impossible. Strategic planning is important, so always plan and analyse. Knowledge and experience are not enough.

"Vertical innovation is what drives the world," he said.

Donald Trump Business tycoon

DONALD Trump was sitting behind a huge desk 15,000km away, but he commanded his audience's attention.


The tycoon acknowledges that the very youths listening to him will be his toughest contenders in no time, and that got the biggest applause from the audience.

''There is nothing better for the world than ambitious youths,'' he added. His talk centred on success and how its meaning will never change.

His four tips to budding entrepreneurs:

Stay focused on your goal
Believe in yourself
Handle the pressure well
Master your subject (trade)

He took many questions from the floor, and patiently answered them all in detail.

Donald advised aspiring entrepreneurs to trust their instincts (only if their instincts have worked in their favour before) and said frankly that not everyone will make good entrepreneurs.

"If you don't have good instincts, it's alright. Just work for somebody and you'll be great," he said.

Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes Air Asia Group CEO

The millionaire got everybody's attention even before he said anything into the microphone. Flanking him on his way to the stage were four Air Asia hostesses in tight red suits, and that got everyone to sit up straight, alright.

Then, he made THE announcement of the day.

"The first person to come on stage with something red gets a free trip to London," he said. Two delegates reached him together, and he generously awarded both the prized tickets.

Tony had already won over the audience, and he hadn't even started his speech.

He recounted his rags-to-riches story - from his days of working in the music industry to starting the hugeful successful budget airline company.

Best of all, Tony was full of wacky quotes during his short speech.

He even offered the audience member the opportunity to work with him. His colleague had reported that the audience member had posed intelligent questions to the speakers, and that's the kind of people he wanted on his team. That's his way of maximising on his company's sponsorship of YES2009, he said.

"Come meet my staff or email me."

Nando Parrado Andes plane crash survivor

Nando Parrado is no business magnate or a celebrity. He is known for his will to live; his story is how he survived a plane crash the South American Andes' unforgiving terrain.

The former Uruguayan rugby player was one of the 16 passengers who survived the accident, which also took the lives of his mother, sister and fellow team mates.

In the movie Alive, which immortalises Nando and the other survivors, there is a scene that shows them feeding off the flesh of the dead passengers.

Nando didn't skirt around the subject but he didn't address it directly too.

"If this place catches fire and there's only one door, you'll all run to it for survival. To us, our dead friends were the door."

"When life gives you two choices, you can choose one; but when there's only one choice for survival, you will have to do just that," he said.

Honest, truthful and motivating, Nando's story of courage and survival touched the audience, as evident from the thunderous applause and standing ovation they gave him.

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