Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg gave an eye-opening commencement speech this Thursday, May 25 at Harvard University. This was Harvard’s 366th commencement speech. He began his speech by declaring Harvard “the greatest university in the world”. Then, he went on to address the main topic of his lecture- purpose. He mentioned all the people he met in his travels who complained about this empty void in their lives, and he told that it could only be filled by a purpose. He believes “it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract” where we measure progress by everyone having a purpose.
He also highlighted the importance of “freedom to fail”. He gave many examples, including that of Beyoncé, J.K. Rowling and his own to prove his point.
“Even Beyoncé had to make hundreds of songs to get to Halo. Facebook wasn’t the first thing I built,” he said. “I also built chat systems and games, study tools and music players. And I’m not alone: J.K. Rowling got rejected 12 times before she finally wrote and published Harry Potter.”
Mark had dropped-out of Harvard in 2004, before his move to Silicon Valley. Zuckerberg returned to the Ivy League school to accept an honorary doctorate. He also shared a story of how an advisor tried to force him in selling the company.
“[He] told me if I didn’t agree to sell the company right [then], I would regret that decision for the rest of my life,” Zuckerberg said. Within a year after that tough decision, everyone from his original management team fled. “That was my hardest time leading Facebook. I believed in what we were doing, but I felt alone. And, worse, it was my fault. I wondered if I was just wrong – an imposter, a 22-year-old who had no idea how things actually worked. Now, years later, I understand that that is how things work when there’s no sense of higher purpose.”
He shed light on current world topics like immigration, climate change, racism and healthcare as well:
“It is time for our generation-defining great works,” he said. “How about stopping climate change before we destroy the planet and getting millions of people involved manufacturing and installing solar panels? How about curing all diseases and getting people involved by asking volunteers to share their health data, track their health data and share their genomes? … How about modernizing democracy so everyone can vote online? And how about personalizing education so everyone can learn? These achievements are all within our reach.”
Source: Rolling Stone