Ashton Kutcher accepted the Teen Choice Award 2013 on August 11 and the video of his speech went viral, with one YouTube post alone at nearly 3M hits as of today. My 15-year-old sent me the link and I have to admit, I had little interest in watching Ashton Kutcher tell teens how to have a successful life.
But I had some time in the car yesterday so I watched it. And it was really interesting. Here was a Hollywood idol telling people he was never better than a job in a grocery store or sweeping up Cheerio dust in a cereal plant. The guy has worked a bit in his life…but that’s not where this story ends.
OK, but there’s more.
Then I read Josh Constine’s piece in TechCrunch on the same topic and I realized that Kutcher is an angel investor that’s had success putting cash into Airbnb, Spotify, Uber and others. A technology investory? That guy waving his arms around in the flannel shirt and baseball cap that has to wait for screaming girls to quiet down just to deliver his main points? Yes, indeed.
Here’s what he told the barely post-puberty crowd:
- Opportunity looks a lot like hard work
- The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart and being thoughtful and being generous
- Everything around us that we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. You can build your own life that other people can live in.
Never mind the irony that he gave this at an award show focused on image. Yes, Hollywood star, but maybe one who’s realized a few things that are humbling along the way. And even more, someone who’s investing in companies that are changing the world. His influence will last far longer than the memory of his acting ability and for that I think he’s exceptionally smart.