John Sykes Syracuse University alumnus and cofounder of both MTV and VH1 told a crowd of Bandier students his view on how the startup world works.

“You just have to get up every morning and work like crazy and hope you’re the one turtle who gets up to the top if the hill and doesn’t get eaten,” Sykes said. “And if you do you’ll live for 150 years.”

The metaphor fits. According to Finding Nemo, turtles live well into the 100s. MTV and VH1 both certainly got to the top of the hill.

Today Sykes works as an executive for iHeartMedia, where he helped build the iHeartRadio Music Festival into the event it is today. He returned to his alma matter last week to speak on a panel with fellow iHeart exec Tom Poleman and the Bandier program’s namesake Marty Bandier.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/cygnus921