"Last year at Google, Sergey came and sat down next to me at lunch"
"What did you talk to him about?"
"I didn't say anything to him. I didn't know what to talk to him about and I was scared!"
I had this conversation with a friend of mine a few weeks ago. He was an intern at Google last year and gave up the opportunity to talk to Sergey because of his fear of seeming unknowledgeable because of his lack of prepared conversation. Don't ever let these opportunities slip by.
This is one skill that I've come to realize is invaluable, the ability to always have an idea to pitch, no matter what the situation. For example, the other day, I went to the pitch night hosted by Google which had Kevin Rose as one of the judges.
REMINDER DELIAN PHOTO HERE
I noticed that once the event was over, most of the audience left the room or mobbed Kevin, asking for a photograph or a signature. I saw many squandering a valuable opportunity to pitch any idea that didn't make it to the finalists at the event. At the time I had the specific goal of pitching Kevin the idea of coming to MIT and doing a talk. I managed to have a conversation with him. Because I opened up to him about one of my ideas, he immediately began asking me more questions about what I was working on and because of this I've had the chance to speak with him again.
This advice doesn't even have to apply to just the Tech industry either. I'm lucky that my name backwards is naileD, which provides for a great conversation-starter in almost any scenario. Immediately I can ask everyone what their name is and watch those with longer names try to pronounce theirs backwards. Everyone has something unique and exciting about them, it's just a matter of being prepared to share it.
So, make sure to keep in mind an idea you can propose to anyone, whether it be the next Android app you'd like to build or your thoughts on online currency. Most importantly, don't forget that all humans share this same characteristic, whether you're Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Sergey Brin. We all poop.