About Stefano Ganddini

Stefano Ganddini
I’ve been called a “black-belt life optimizer” by my alma mater (USC Class of ’15). Others know me as the “cold shower guy.”

If there’s one theme that’s been consistent throughout my life, it’s been my fascination—or rather, my obsession—with figuring out ways to do things better. This is what attracted me to major in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) while studying at the University of Southern California (USC).

In a nut shell, ISE is all about helping businesses make systematic and continuous process improvements, with the end goal of cutting costs and maximizing profits.

Over the last 4-5 years, I’ve taken these same principles about process improvement and applied them to virtually every aspect of my life. Which is where the cold shower thing comes into play…

My Story

During the summer after my sophomore year at USC, I created this blog to document my steps toward self-improvement and in the hopes of helping others along the way.

The idea was that I wanted to create the “ideal” college experience — get good grades, have an awesome social life, participate in extracurriculars, etc. Hence, the name “Collegetopia.”

Click on the image above to listen to an interview I did on The College Info Geek Podcast
Click on the image above to listen to an interview I did on The College Info Geek Podcast during my senior year at USC.

You see, I used to be super shy in high school…

I had absolutely no self-confidence, I was scared to talk to girls, and I masked my emotions by putting on a facade of indifference to everyone and everything.

My life didn’t completely suck… but it sucked about 80% of the time.

At some point between high school and college, I decided that I wanted my life to suck 0% of the time and be awesome 100% of the time. I was tired of being boring and mediocre, so I made the most important decision I’ve ever made in my life—the decision to change.

I wanted to read more, so I learned how to speed read and increased my reading speed from 230 wpm (words per minute) to 600 wpm.

I wanted to meet more people, so I used the 3 second rule to talk to someone new every day for 30 days.

I wanted to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable, so I took the 30 day cold shower challenge (and now I take cold showers every day)

…And now you know why I’m the “cold shower guy.”

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Since then, I’ve written about a variety of topics ranging from time management tips and productivity hacks to unconventional (but life-changing) thought experiments that involve imagining your own funeral. All in the name of self-improvement.

And while I still have a lot of room for improvement, I will say that my life is pretty freakin’ awesome right now and I’ve come a long way from the quiet, apathetic kid I used to be in high school.

I’m more confident, focused, and resilient than ever before.

Here are a few cool things I did while attending USC:

  • I had a full-time job as a technology consultant at a big global consulting firm already lined up before I even graduated (actually, before I even started my senior year).
  • During my summer internship after my Junior year, I was the one intern at my company (out of the 147 interns in the nation) that was selected to attend a week-long conference in Las Vegas with some of the top decision makers in the company
  • I was on four different merit-based scholarships, including one half-tuition scholarship
  • I was the President of an academic student organization for business and engineering students
  • I finally learned how to talk to girls and was in my first serious relationship with a smart, beautiful girl for a year and a half (it didn’t end up working out, but it was a great learning experience)
  • I started this blog as a side-project the summer after my sophomore year and now it reaches tens of thousands of people every single month (with over 600,000+ views in total from over 200+ countries), and my work has been featured in major publications like LifeHackerBusiness Insider, and USC’s Viterbi Magazine

To give you an idea of where I’m at today (as of March 2016)…

  • I quit my consulting job at the beginning of this year to work at a start-up as a content marketing manager to pursue my newfound passion of writing. Or so I thought…
  • I got fired from that start-up shortly after starting, and while it was shocking, and I think it was the best thing to have ever happened to me
  • I’m now working on this site full-time and I’m on a mission to help as many people as possible become the BEST versions of themselves (click here if you’re interested in working with me).

Five years ago, I never would have thought I’d be where I am today, and looking forward, I have no idea what the next five years are going to look like. But, I’m completely okay with that.

I love my life, and I’m not even scared to say it.

My goal in creating this site is to help more people love their lives too.

P.S. Here are 31 things you need to know about me.

P.S.S. If you’re new here, be sure to check out the Start Here page for a more in-depth overview of what this site is all about. Or if you’d like to get in touch with me, click here.


  • rmdlp

    Been following you for about 2 years now! Really cool to see you and your website growing. Keep it up dude! Really inspiring.

    • Stefano Ganddini

      Roy! I remember you. Hope you’re doing well man, and thanks for sticking around :)