Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard Speech (or at least parts of it)

Mark Zuckerberg was the principal speaker at Harvard’s 366th Commencement last May 25 and, for me, his Commencement address was all kinds of inspiring, humble, and realistic.

You can read the whole speech here, but I’d also like to share my favorite parts a.k.a. the ones that moved me the most. You’re welcome! 🙂


On Purpose:

“I’m here to tell you finding your purpose isn’t enough. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.”

On working together for a bigger purpose:

“Today I want to talk about three ways to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose: by taking on big meaningful projects together, by redefining equality so everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose, and by building community across the world.”

On forming ideas:

“Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.”

On the eureka moment of good ideas:

“Movies and pop culture get this all wrong. The idea of a single eureka moment is a dangerous lie. It makes us feel inadequate since we haven’t had ours. It prevents people with seeds of good ideas from getting started.”

On balancing idealism and reality:

“It’s good to be idealistic. But be prepared to be misunderstood. Anyone working on a big vision will get called crazy, even if you end up right. Anyone working on a complex problem will get blamed for not fully understanding the challenge, even though it’s impossible to know everything upfront. Anyone taking initiative will get criticized for moving too fast, because there’s always someone who wants to slow you down.”

On the inter-connectedness of progress and purpose:

“Let’s do big things, not only to create progress, but to create purpose.”

On success and failure:

“The great successes come from having the freedom to fail.”

On the reality of inequality:

“Let’s face it. There’s something wrong with our system when I can leave here and make billions of dollars in 10 years while millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business.”

And my favorite, MarkZuck’s recognition of the role that luck played in his life:

“We all know we don’t succeed just by having a good idea or working hard. We succeed by being lucky too. If I had to support my family growing up instead of having time to code, if I didn’t know I’d be fine if Facebook didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be standing here today. If we’re honest, we all know how much luck we’ve had.”


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