What the Dalai Lama and New Orleans Entrepreneurs Have in Common

Editor’s Note: This is an opinion piece. This is not meant to offend anyone, it’s just to point out that there are similarities. And, of course, local entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones with passion and hope. 


His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama addressed a crowd of Tulane graduates from 63 countries and all 50 states and an engaged audience at the Commencement Ceremony last Saturday morning at the Superdome. Beyond his well-known message of compassion for humanity and practice of non-violence, the Dalai Lama also reminded the crowd of other important qualities that might strike closer to home for many of the entrepreneurs in New Orleans.

We can make shape of the world if we follow the framework that he preaches and keep in mind the possibilities, because, let’s face it, they’re endless.


Hustler is a word that comes to mind when I think of the entrepreneurs in New Orleans and throughout the rest of the state. Without passion and drive for your company, it’s hard to get others to back you up. If you eat, breathe and sleep your startup or idea, you’re on the right track. The Dalai Lama is extremely passionate about humanity, worldwide cooperation, honesty, happiness and sharing his knowledge; New Orleans entrepreneurs need to have the same level of passion in their own lives to succeed.

Image property of Tulane University.

The Dalai Lama and Scott Cowen. Image property of Tulane University.


“Our existence is very much based on hope…hope means something good, something better,” said the Dalai Lama. Having hope that your idea will make it and someday go on to be disruptive, to change the world, is what keeps the wheels turning. Tulane President Scott Cowen also spoke about hope. He said, “hope finds its way to wherever it’s most needed.” He told the graduates to strive for something greater than themselves and to bring hope with them. Many of the graduates are already well connected in the local (and national) entrepreneurial community and are well on their way to starting their own companies.

Thinking Globally

While many in the startup world want to make their companies go global, it’s not necessarily for monetary gain. When their idea is brought to life and actually helping solve a problem, spreading that idea or product around the world is mutually beneficial. The Dalai Lama urged the crowd to think globally in terms of the world we are creating as young and intelligent members of the community. “Trying to create a more peaceful world means more of a compassionate world,” he said. And (hopefully) being compassion is one thing we all have in common.

Helping Others

The Dalai Lama stressed the importance of helping others during his speech. The Silicon Bayou entrepreneurs know all about this, as many of the companies were started based on a problem identified within the community. “Despite the marvelous achievement of past generations…the future is very much open,” said the Dalai Lama. Helping others in any way possible will brighten our days and our futures.


The Dalai Lama told the audience to conduct themselves with more honesty and transparency. Sometimes it is better to be transparent. As far as the startup and tech communities are concerned, it can be better to share your idea or early-stage company with others to get feedback and to increase connectedness. Basically, just be the best version of yourself and keep honesty and transparency in mind at all times, like the Dalai Lama surely does.