Paul Ollinger, a well known Stand-Up comic and Entrepreneur, is the author of the mesmerizing book “You Should Totally Get an MBA”, a comedian’s guide to top US business schools. He had earlier worked with Yahoo and Facebook on executive levels. He has an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School. He lives in Atlanta, GA with his beautiful wife, two wonderful children and French bulldog, Colonel Tom Parker.
Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself.
I am a 6’2” Aries with hazel eyes and stylishly-thinning brown hair (bald). I like cookies, frozen pizza and Avril Lavigne.
In 1995 I went to Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business in pursuit of a better job (more money). What I learned there (through hosting the semi-annual talent show) is that I wanted to be a stand up comedian. Saddled with $80,000 in student loans, I instead pursued a career in the young internet industry, working as a sales leader for Launch.com and Yahoo!. After I paid off my loans, I moved to Los Angeles and did comedy full time for two years.
In 2007 I got engaged and started to think maybe I should get a real job again. About that time, a buddy of mine called and asked if I wanted to come work with him at the young social media company where he was working. I said, “Sure – someday your company might be as big as Myspace.” The company was Facebook. I worked at Facebook for 4.5 years, serving as West Coast VP of Sales for two of those years. I am now working full time as a writer, speaker and stand-up comedian. My first Book You Should Totally Get an MBA: A Comedian’s Guide to Top U.S. Business Schools came out this week.
How did “You Should Totally Get an MBA” even happen?
I sat down to write a funny book about business. I learned quickly that snark doesn’t scale and that if I wanted anyone to read my writing I needed to be useful to the reader. The result was this book, which is kind of like a letter to my 25 year-old self, telling him to get off his butt and go do something with his career.
Who are your target readers?
The bullseye target is college senior to the thirty year old who is wondering what he/she should do with his/her career. I hope this book provides her with a funny opportunity to reflect on what she wants to accomplish with her career and how business school might or might not be a tool in helping her achieve that vision.
The broader target includes current business school students, alumni and stakeholders – or pretty much anyone who likes to make fun of lawyers.
What inspires or motivates you each day?
I wake up early everyday, excited to explore the opportunity to make people laugh. I love the challenge of figuring out how to express my unique POV (experienced business person with a bizarre comic slant) in a way that provides not just laughter but perspective and motivation for the reader.
What would you consider as your one best gig thus far?
Being a dad is the best gig I’ve ever had. It’s opened my eyes to so much in the world that I was missing – love, empathy, Caillou. Plus, my kids give me a lot of great material for my shows… so there’s that too.
Any upcoming projects or initiatives you would like to update?
I will be on the Best of Atlanta show at the Laughing Skull Lounge on April 30, May 12, 13 and 29. Lots more dates coming up, and all can be found at http://paulollinger.com/events
What are your leisure time activities?
Being with my family. Golf. Binge-watching Charlie Rose. Checking “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” on LinkedIn.
So did Kendall Jenner read you book yet (with a big smile)?
No word whether Kendall has actually read it yet, though sales in the greater Los Angeles area have been robust. I’m assuming she’s one of those purchasers and just hasn’t had time to get to it. She’s been busy, you know…
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