Someday we will get to tell our children about getting the opportunity to vote for the first black President and then right after we will have to tell them what followed. We should probably just stick to the happy times though like Obama’s jokes at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner or when he said “Thanks Obama.”
Well earlier this year, Obama made another speaking appearance during his post-presidency days and it was at a MIT conference in Boston. There was one weird part of this event though, and it was for people to not post any bit of it to the interwebs.
That rule was broken though after some magazine called “Reason” released audio of the entire event. It was a conversation with the general manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, as well as Jessica Gelman, CEO of Kraft Analytics.
So let’s take a look at some of the highlights!
11. He opened the night with saying he was just there to visit his daughter, Malia who is attending Harvard. He said, “Let’s face it, that’s the main reason I came.”
10. He spoke about having diversity in politics and not just firing everyone from the previous administration. He wanted to make sure he understood the other side of the coin, which makes a lot of sense. He said, “I wanted to make sure his voice was there to counteract the potential biases or the lens through which I might look at a reformed policy.”
9. He then got in a few jokes about the current POTUS. He said things such as:
“I know it seems like a low bar. I did have a strong bias toward people who just wanted to get things right, get things done, as opposed to people obsessed with, ‘I want to be right, I want to be prominent, I want to have my name in the headlines.'”
8. He spoke about Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots. He said, “When we reflect on why are we seeing so much gridlock and venom and polarization in our politics, it’s partly because we don’t have a common baseline of facts and information. Other than the Super Bowl, you know, Mr. Kraft.
7. He touched on thinking he could have played Division 1 basketball. He said, “If I had been really focused, dedicated, and obsessed, I probably could have been a benchwarmer on a mediocre Division I [college] team, like a walk-on kind of guy.”
6. He kept going on about basketball, touching on the fact that he once played with a famous singer. Of course he didn’t name the person, because Obama isn’t a name-dropper. But he didn’t hold back on the nameless singer, saying, “The guy was terrible. His shot was broke. He took like 25 shots and made like four of them. The game’s to like 21, so there’s only 30 shots to be had. Terrible. You could tell that…this guy has no self-awareness. He thinks he’s good, and he surrounds himself with people who tell him he’s good.”
5. He also spoke about spoke about the NBA in general, and then criticized it’s way of developing players. He said, “the NCAA is not serving as a farm system for the NBA with a bunch of kids who are unpaid but are under enormous financial pressure. That won’t solve all the problems, but what it will do is reduce the hypocrisy. It’s not as if college basketball goes down the tubes because of it.
4. He talked about how his life being a public citizen was much more intense than when being President saying, “At least at the top levels of the federal government, people worked harder than in the private sector,” Obama said. “When I came out of the White House, everything looked like it was in slow motion. It was like I was Neo in ‘The Matrix.’”
He continued onto say, “Our folks were putting in 80-hour work weeks and barely getting vacations a lot of the time.”
3. Barack also thought that social media has a higher calling than just helping people make money. He said, “ISIS can use that tool. Neo-Nazis can use that tool. [Others] have to have a conversation about their business model that recognizes they are a public good as well as a commercial enterprise.
2. He had strong words about women having equal pay to men saying that, “Let me speak to men in the audience: ‘You should be smacked across the head if you think women should be paid less.'”
1. He then spoke about how he helped women get their voices heard at meetings, saying, “Guys are loudmouths, and oftentimes brilliant women would not always share their perspectives around the table in the same way or aggressively or talk over people. One trick I had, I would call on people, I wouldn’t just wait for folks to volunteer. If you wait for who’s talking the most, it will be the same folks over and over again.