Douglas Crets

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Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

I’m With Coco

Conan O'Brien

It is absolutely okay to fail at something. After all, you will always have Twitter. Follow me, by the way.

When Conan O’Brien fell apart — or so he says — he became something even bigger and better than he had aimed for as a kid. He became Conan O’Brien.

The link to the Fortune article is a must-read for people trying to figure out the importance of social media and whether there is life after traditional media.

O’Brien sits back in his office, guitar in hand, trying to make sense of his personal and digital evolution. First he thinks it through as a performer: “The Beatles were trying to be the Everly Brothers, and they couldn’t quite pull it off. Elvis really wanted to sound like Dean Martin. But, you know, by failing …” He stops and starts again. “You have an image in your head of this iconic person. For me, it might have been Johnny Carson, where you grow up with him, and you think, ‘Well, that’s who I need to be’ — to realize that feeling I had when I was 8, sitting in my parents’ house and watching him. And then things happen, and you think, ‘Oh, my God, I didn’t — that fell apart.’ But it’s the failure to be that person or to completely follow through on what he did that leads you to something that’s much better.”

Then O’Brien thinks it through like a digital-media guy. “Ten years ago, if my situation with NBC had unfolded, none of this would have happened. Yeah, maybe I was 10 years too late to do The Tonight Show that I wanted to do,” he says. “But I was just in the nick of time. Do you know what I mean?”

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