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Everything and nothing has changed for senior Arjun Mehta. As a freshman, Arjun already had a couple of startups under his belt and he is still immersed in the startup world today. "I had always been fascinated with how just an abstract idea in someone's head can manifest over time into a massive living, breathing thing that can affect people globally. I felt like that process was so magical and special, that I just had to do it for the rest of my life." Here, Arjun shares what he doing now and what he dreams of doing next...
What project are you working on right now?
I'm working on growth initiatives at Mira Reality (an AR startup founded by my super talented Academy classmates); curating a weekly playlist on Spotify called 5 GEM SUNDAYS (5 great songs from up-and-coming artists, updated every Sunday), and starting a podcast called Product & Purpose.
Originally I came up with Trakfire, a tech-driven record label 2.0 model, starting with automating A&R via crowdsourced curation. I've always loved music and dreamed of starting a record label, but I wanted to take a much more innovative approach to it since the current model has many issues. I ultimately had to shut it down, which was disappointing, but I did learn a lot and am onto the next thing!
Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you?
Is there an inspirational quote you live by?
"Be here now." I have a massive knowing-doing gap with this but I'm trying!
Tell us a bit about your journey to the Academy. What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?
I had always been fascinated with how just an abstract idea in someone's head can manifest over time into a massive living, breathing thing that can affect people globally. I felt like that process was so magical and special, that I just had to do it for the rest of my life. In parallel, I've been an Eminem fan for as long as I can remember and having devoured his Wikipedia page, I've known exactly who Jimmy Iovine (and of course Dr. Dre) was and admired them all, since like 4th grade. So when I found out about the program, I felt like it was fate.
What advice would you give to a freshman?
If you haven't already, take the free online course titled "Learning How to Learn" on Coursera. You can easily finish it in a day, and it gives you the ability to efficiently learn anything and remember stuff for the long-term via powerful mental tools grounded in neuroscience.
Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?
I dream of starting schools one day.
What's the one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
Only the paranoid survive. (Original credit to Andy Grove).
What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
MacBook, Kindle, headphones, notebook, Mira Prism (AR headset).
Favorite app or website?
Pigeons & Planes
Favorite class at USC and why?
Innovators' Roundtable. I'm curious about everything and it gave me the opportunity to dive into a different industry every other week.
Favorite way to de-stress:
Thank you, Arjun!