Willamette University

Your Peers Are At it Again

Adam Messinger ’94
Distinguished Alumni Citation

Angel investor, “technology mentor and innovator,” vice president at Twitter

Please sum up your Willamette experience in the form of a tweet.

Met my future wife, had some good times with friends, learned a little.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Think bigger. It’s much harder to have a vision of big things than it is to actually get them done. Things just seem to fall into place when you have an idea of what you want. Someone is going to change the world; it may as well be you.

What company/industry problem causes you to lose sleep?

The hardest problems for me involve interpersonal conflict. It stresses me out when people aren’t working well together or when I feel like I’m not meeting my commitments to others.

What changed most about you between when you arrived as a student and graduated?

I think that I gained a lot of confidence at WU. I grew up in a really small rural town in Oregon. It’s hard in that environment to know if you can be successful elsewhere. WU was a great stepping off point for me.

What’s one skill you picked up at WU that has helped you get to where you are today?

It’s not a skill as much as a perspective. In my senior year, I did some research with a professor, and we ended up publishing it in a journal. I realized that breaking new ground isn’t just something other people do; it’s something we can do. I became confident in my abilities to just figure things out from first principles.

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Adam Messinger ‘94,