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Meet Silicon Valley's 25-Year Old Motivational Guru, Bel Pesce

Stashed in: #TED, Founders, Young Americans, Brazil, Leadership, Inspiration, Motivation, Extraordinary People, Mars Humans

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Pretty amazing woman:

Almost every word that comes out of Bel Pesce’s mouth sounds like she cribbed it off of a motivational poster. She talks about the lessons she’s learned in her 25 years of life: Take control, show up prepared, be the best version of yourself. Rolling your eyes yet? You shouldn’t be. To a cynic, Bel Pesce’s words could sound naïve and obnoxious – if she weren’t so damn inspiring.

Pesce refers to herself as a “passionate entrepreneur” in terms others might use to describe themselves as Catholic, and boy, is she devout. Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pesce graduated from MIT, and then migrated to Silicon Valley. In 2012 she published a Portuguese e-book titled The Girl From Silicon Valley: How Entrepreneurship Can Change Lives in which she shares lessons learned about becoming an entrepreneur and networking.

Pesce refers to herself as a ’passionate entrepreneur’ in terms others might use to describe themselves as Catholic, and boy, is she devout.

“I started thinking that if entrepreneurship is about touching lives and if those stories touched my life, maybe I can launch these stories to a broader audience,” she says. It quickly topped Brazil’s bestselling list, downloaded more than two million times and selling more than 50,000 hard copies.

“She’s a very big deal in Brazil,” says close friend and tech entrepreneur Amit Garg. He and Pesce published a videocast featuring fellow Brazilians living in Silicon Valley and encouraging people in Brazil to think about entrepreneurship. He says she’s “a very good leader” with a “ridiculous amount of energy,” who has built up a strong community with her compelling lessons. Yuri Gitahy, an angel investor and founder of Brazilian startup Aceleradora, is one of Pesce’s mentors. High school kids and college students stop her on the street to take pictures, he says. “Most see her as a hero within their reach, and we lack heroes around here.”

The attention seems well-deserved. At MIT Pesce majored in management science, electrical engineering and computer science, with a double minor in economics and mathematics. While in college she worked at Microsoft, Deutsche Bank and Google, not to mention many side projects, including developing an inexpensive peer-to-peer mobile phone for developing countries. 

She was named a Ted fellow in 2012 and cited as one of the top 100 influential people in Brazil by widely-read magazine, Epoca. Her peers describe her as genuine, hard-working and euphoric, complimenting her ability to come up with creative solutions to challenges. Her latest project, a brick and mortar innovation institute called FazINOVA, teaches real-life entrepreneurial skills like negotiation, self-promotion and business development. In a few weeks Pesce plans to take the classes online and hopes to make the institute global.

As “Founder and Chief Magic Officer” of FazINOVA, Pesce dispenses advice with her quick, left-dimpled smile. She teaches:

  • You have much more control on things in your life than you imagined. 
  • Be caring and think of others while you’re doing something for yourself. 
  • Be thoughtful, be self-aware, be productive.
  • Find what you are good at and be better at it.  
  • Find a superhero in yourself.

So how does she do it? Does she ever sleep? We asked her this and she was hesitant to answer, constantly aware of her position as a role model. She says she does not like telling people details like that because they will think it is a recipe for success. “People work in different ways, you can’t go against what you are. You need to find your best. Nobody will be better at being you than you.”

She is wise beyond her years!

I get the impression she sleeps very little. Maybe she was born this way?

We must prevent her from ever breeding with Elon Musk.  They would create a master race.

Then again, they could also help humanity colonize Mars.

I am pretty sure their first son would become a professor. Named Xavier.

SpaceX Dragon version 2 will be unveiled tonight at 7 PST, btw.


I still like this: "Find a superhero in yourself."

"Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better. Interweave all these communities and you really have an America that is back on its feet again. I really think we are gonna have to reassess what constitutes a 'hero'."

Studs Terkel

Pesce,  Holmes and Tan are definitely Silicon Valley heroes. There are many others. Time to start a real-life Justice League?! 

Rich, good idea! Who are Holmes and Tan?

Whoops, I should have included first names (until they are mega-famous) - Elizabeth Holmes and Meng Tan.  :-) 

Ah, got it! Bel Pesce isn't currently in Silicon Valley though -- she's back in Brazil.

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