2014年6月9日 星期一

2013 畢業典禮來賓演說: Dropbox CEO Drew Houston ’05 tells graduates: 'The people are the reason why there’s only one MIT.'

Rain doesn’t dampen excitement of MIT’s 2013 Commencement

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston ’05 tells graduates: 'The people are the reason why there’s only one MIT.'

In a steady rain, 2,635 newly minted graduates received their MIT degrees in Killian Court today after hearing advice and encouragement from someone who was in their place on a similarly rainy June morning just eight years ago: Drew Houston ’05, co-founder and CEO of the successful startup Dropbox.
“Now you need to go out and find another fire hose,” Houston said, in a riff on the fabled quotation equating an MIT education with “drinking from a fire hose.” He said that his post-MIT fire hose has been the company he started soon after graduating from the Institute.
Starting and growing Dropbox — now valued at about $4 billion — has been “the most exciting, interesting and satisfying experience of my life,” Houston said. But, he noted, “It’s also been the most humiliating, frustrating and painful experience.” And that, he told the assembled graduates and their poncho-clad guests, is just fine.
“No one has a 5.0 [GPA] in real life,” he said. “In the real world, if you’re not swerving around and hitting the guardrails every now and then, you’re not going fast enough.”
As was the case with technology success-stories Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Houston said his first company was a failure, but the experience gave him the courage to find his real passion — and, in the process, a company that worked. “From now on, failure doesn’t matter,” Houston told the graduates. “You only have to be right once.”
Houston compared true excitement for one’s work to a tennis ball that a dog can’t resist chasing: “The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them. … They go bounding off, plowing through anything that gets in their way.”
“So after today,” Houston said, “it’s not about pushing yourself; it’s about finding your tennis ball, the thing that pulls you.”
‘Hack the world’
MIT President L. Rafael Reif welcomed the graduates anew “to the MIT family — even though you joined our family the moment you registered as an MIT student for the first time.” MIT’s is a sprawling clan, Reif stressed, with 127,000 alumni worldwide, including 78 Nobel laureates — more than all but three nations.
“This family is ambitious,” Reif added, “incredibly, beautifully, disruptively ambitious.” And he recounted that last year’s Commencement speaker, online-education pioneer Sal Khan ’98, MEng ’98, has said that one can always spot someone from MIT: “When you tell them that some problem is impossible, their eyes light up!”
The sense of family, Reif said, was brought home this year after tragedies including the Boston Marathon bombing and the death of MIT police officer Sean Collier: “The whole world saw what I saw: the extraordinary outpouring of respect and gratitude for our beloved MIT Police, and the loving sympathy that flowed from this family. … I have never felt so proud of MIT.”
Reif urged the new graduates to “use what you have learned here to make the world a better place.”
To do so, he presented them with a final bit of homework — or, in MIT parlance, a “p-set,” or problem set: “As you go out into society, I want you to change the source code. I want you to rewire the circuits. Rearrange the molecules. Reformulate the equation. In short, I want you to hack the world … until you make the world a little more like MIT.”
Those qualities, Reif told the graduates and guests, include making the world “more daring and more passionate; more rigorous, inventive and ambitious; more humble; more respectful; and more kind.”
2,635 graduates and 10,000 guests
A total of 977 undergraduates and 1,658 graduate students received their degrees at today’s Commencement. An estimated 10,000 family members and guests were on hand for Friday’s ceremony, although the chilly rain prompted some of them to view the proceedings indoors, on monitors set up in classrooms.
For the entire academic year, including degrees awarded in September and February, MIT granted 1,042 bachelor’s degrees, 1,749 master’s degrees and 587 doctoral degrees.
Brian Spatacco, president of the Graduate Student Council, reminded his fellow graduates of “that exciting but sometimes scary moment when you decide to take a different approach because you think you may know a better way. … This risk-taking behavior can be thought of as a sort of ‘Constructive Irreverence,’” characterized by going “beyond the phase of asking ‘Why?’ or ‘Why not?’ and actually creating value.”
Everyone at MIT, Spatacco said, has been exposed to this “highly infectious strain,” whose symptoms include “aversion to doctrine, and a healthy appreciation for failure. … Never try to cure yourself of it. … Never stop thinking of a better way to do things.”
Amanda David, president of the Class of 2013, told her classmates, “We have a lot of life to live, and a lot more to give. Let’s challenge ourselves to remain grounded with a healthy perspective of where we’ve been as we continue to seek to understand others, improve ourselves, pursue our passions, and brighten the future. We can do it!”

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston 今年六月於母校 MIT 麻省理工學院演說,原文於此。他向大學生提出了 3 點人生建議:追逐自己感興趣的事,找到最合適的圈子,以及不要浪費人生的每一天。
首先我想要感謝Reed 主席的邀請,並祝賀在座的13 級同學們即將踏上新的旅程。
能再次回到母校和即將畢業的你們在一起,讓我感到無比榮耀,在今天這個特殊的時刻我又帶上了黃銅鼠戒指(Brass Rat),這大概是人生中最值得紀念的日子。
當我21 歲的時候和Andrew Crick 成立了第一家公司,當時我們從來沒有經歷過這樣的大事,幻想著是不是要穿著正式服裝去市政府辦理手續,或者總得弄一個公司章來簽署重要文件。卻沒想到最終只要花費不到2 分鐘,在網上填一張表格,我們的公司就算成立了。
這麼說起來挺讓人掃興。胡思亂想過後,我們定下了公司的業務:提供一種全新的線上SAT 課程(美國大學入學考試)。那時大多數的學生還在使用800 多頁厚的教材,而網上的一些考試複習資料做得也不夠好。於是我們選擇了SAT 上的一個表示卓越貢獻的詞彙——榮譽(Accolade)作為公司名。為了看起來更像回事,我們將其命名為「榮譽集團有限公司」(The Accolade Group, LLC)。
在回家取卡片的路上我在Staples(美國辦公用品超市) 門口停住了腳步,突然想到開公司最為關鍵的一步就是將Photoshop出來的公司標誌和自己創辦人的頭銜印在名片上,接下來在出席的會議上交換名片,然後表情輕鬆地回覆來自女孩兒們的敬仰「這就是為何我開了一家公司。」感覺棒極了。
其實真正重要的是從中我學到了很多。每個暑假我都住在兄弟會的房子裡,在第五層有一個直通房頂的天梯。坐在綠色的尼龍折疊椅上隨手抓起一本從亞馬遜買的書籍開始閱讀,每個週末我在大量地閱讀市場行銷、管理學等之前一無所知的書籍中度過。不過我可沒準備在Phi Delta Theta(美國一個出名的兄弟會,Drew Hoston是其中的會員)的樓頂上獲得MBA學位。
於是我休息了一段時間,如果你讀的是course 6(電器工程學程,在MIT被稱為course 6) 「休息一會」則意味著編寫一個撲克牌機器人程式(poker bot),撲克牌機器人程式能代替你輸掉所有的錢。
在這期間我的父母希望我們一起去New Hampshire 度假,但我一心想完成我的撲克牌機器人程式。於是我打開Accord(本田汽車雅哥) 的後車廂,將所有的電腦配件搬進度假屋內,為了能放下我的所有顯示器,我將廚房內地鍋碗瓢盆全都搬到了外面,當時我母親深信我一定病得不輕,遲早要進監獄。
後來我漸漸明白工作最努力的人並非足夠勤奮而是他們知道這樣的規律:努力工作去解決重大的問題非常有趣。現在看來,你不需要逼迫自己,你應該發現你喜愛的事情,找到自己的網球,這或許需要一些時間, 繼續去尋找並傾聽你內心的聲音。
讓我們回到我畢業後的暑假,也就是你們即將度過的假期。我的一個兄弟會的朋友Adam Smith 和他的朋友Matt Brezina 開了一家公司,我們認為能在一家公寓裡一起工作將會非常有趣。
那是一個完美的夏天,由於空調壞了,我們只好在自己的小隔間裡寫程式,Adam 和Matt 則日日夜夜地不停工作,隨著時間地流逝,潛在的投資人找到了他們,並且帶他們乘坐了直升機升空。當時我有些嫉妒,我已經為自己地公司奮鬥了幾年,但Adam 卻才剛剛開始幹幾個月罷了。何時才能輪到我做直升機?
我總是時不時給Adam去個電話問問近況,他們似乎一直進展順利,「這個下午我們見了Viond (Vinod Khosla是一個資金豐厚的投資人,也是SUN的共同創辦人),」 Adam說。接著他又放出了一個重大的消息,「Viond準備給我們投5百萬美元。」
為他的成功我感到激動,但是卻對我是一個打擊。他是我beer pong 遊戲(美國大學裡一種喝啤酒遊戲)的好搭檔,兄弟會的好朋友,而且比我小兩歲。我沒有什麼藉口。他似乎已經要參加超級杯( the Super Bowl)而我連選秀的資格也沒有。當時我正處在迷茫期,但Adam 警示我,我需要改變。
他們說你的成就將基於周邊5 個人,我考慮了一分鐘,我周圍的5 個人是誰呢?MIT 對我來說是建立起社交圈的最佳地點,如果我沒來到MIT 則不會認識Adam ,也不會認識我的共同創辦人Arash ,當然也不會有現在的Dropbox。
我了解到找到一群給你帶來啟發的伙伴形成的圈子和才智與努力工作同樣重要。你能想像如果Michael Jordan沒有進入NBA,如果他的圈子中的5個人都是義大利的普通球員會怎樣麼?你的朋友會加速你的成長,正如Adam對我的推動一樣。
誠實地說,我從來沒有「準備好」。我還記得第一個投資人準備像我注資並問我將錢匯到哪裡的那一天。對一個24 歲的年輕人人來說,這就像是聖誕節你的禮物正在不停的增加,看著你的公司支票從60 美元,上升到1千200 萬美元。我變得異常興奮,帳戶上的數字達到百萬,我還特意截圖,但後來卻受到打擊,某天這些人卻想要把錢要回來。
你一定明白我的感受,在MIT 這叫做從消防栓裡狂飲(drinking from the firehose),聽起來十分搞笑,但我們卻紮紮實實地體會到了。今天你們可以以此為鑑,一個閥被關上了,你們所做的是找到下一個。
我以前常常杞人憂天,不過我還記得讓我突然冷靜的那個時刻,當我搬到舊金山的時候,一晚睡不著覺,於是打開了電腦,在網上讀到了一則新聞「人的一生只有30000天」。當我拿起計算器將24 乘以365 ,天呀,我已經用掉了9000 天!我都幹了些什麼?
在這張作弊紙條上的30000 就是這個含義。那晚我意識到生活中沒有熱身,沒有練習,也沒有重啟的按鈕。每天我都會寫一個小故事,當你去世,並不會寫著「這裡躺著Drew ,學分排名第174 位」於是從那時起,我便放棄了讓自己完美的計劃,我希望我的生活變得更加有趣。我希望自己的故事充滿了冒險,因此而與眾不同。
我的奶奶今天也來了,再過一周就是她95 歲的生日。由於我已經搬到了加州,於是我們常常通過電話交流,每當電話的結尾她總是會說「精益求精(Excelsior)」。



Line breaks: ex¦cel|sior
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈsɛlsɪɔː 


  • 1Used in the names of hotels and products to indicate superior quality:they stayed at the Excelsior
  • 2[MASS NOUN] North American Softwood shavings used for packing fragile goods or stuffing furniture.


late 18th century (as an exclamation): from Latin, comparative of excelsus, from ex- 'out, beyond' + celsus'lofty'.