Pipe Dream spoke with Michael Herceg, a senior majoring in business administration. Through his talk, “Save the World, One Dad Joke At a Time,” Herceg aims to inspire fellow students to pursue their ideas and dreams. This interview had been edited for length and clarity.

Pipe Dream: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Michael Herceg: “Who am I? I am just a person who’s always looking for where he can help, and where he can be amusing. I currently study business administration at Binghamton University, concentrating in entrepreneurship, and I’m planning to graduate in May 2021. At BU I am a member of the Cheese Club, [Binghamton University Bees], Mafia Club, [IDEAS for Binghamton] and Entrepreneur Connect. I am also a Binghamton local, graduating from Union-Endicott High School in 2018 and [Broome Community College] in 2019. I enjoy nights out on the town, usually ending with the three for $10 at Chili’s, karaoke and playing board games with friends. Outside of leisure and academics, I work hard as the student coordinator for [Launch Pad: Greater Binghamton Startup Challenge], a local high school entrepreneurship competition. I hope to inspire young minds to follow their passions and dreams, and I aspire to pursue my own passions wherever they are, each and every day.”

PD: What inspired your talk?

MH: “The world is becoming a more dreadful and tragic place. It seems that every time we see news, every story is another plunge into chaos. And, for members of my generation, one of our only comforts is what we find in social media. So, I wondered how we could leverage our newfound powers of creativity and connection to not only make a difference but also brighten our future. Since I have begun coordinating [Launch Pad: Greater Binghamton Startup Challenge], [a] high school entrepreneurship competition, I have seen young students come up with brilliant ideas that could change the world. I know first hand that making a difference is possible, it just has to start with one good idea. So, I felt that I needed to share with the rest of the world my idea for how anyone can retrain their mind to become an idea generator and a brighter place to exist.”

PD: Why did you decide to get involved with TEDxBinghamtonUniversity?

MH: “TED has always been a beacon for revolution and inspiration, and I personally have listened to talks that have changed my life. Now, especially now, the world could use a little more revolution and inspiration. I knew that this was my opportunity to not only give back and contribute to TED and TEDx and also inspire others like myself. I have an idea that has fundamentally changed the way that I live my life, and I am better off for it. I hope to share my idea and inspire more brightness and laughter in the rest of the world.”

PD: What do you hope the audience takes away from your talk?

MH: “The single thing that anyone should take away from my talk is that we all need to start constantly working on our humor. Most would treat ‘being funny’ as a passive action, but ultimately humor is a skill and something that if you actively work at, you will eventually improve on. And if you succeed, changing the world for the better is going to become that much more possible.”