最近在STay的推荐下一直在听今年马克扎克伯格在哈佛毕业典礼上的讲话。这次讲话作为英语听力的练习材料非常不错，扎克伯格在这次演讲中对于当代大学生的期许和建议也让我受益匪浅。在接下来的一段时间里，我会陆续 post 这篇演讲的原文和翻译，并在全文完成后写一篇文章谈谈自己对这篇演讲的理解、看法和感受。
Mark Zuckerberg’s Commencement address at Harvard
President Faust, Board of Overseers, faculty, alumni, friends, proud parents, members of the ad board, and graduates of the greatest university in the world,
I’m honored to be with you today because, let’s face it, you accomplished something I never could. If I get through this speech, it’ll be the first time I actually finish something at Harvard. Class of 2017, congratulations!
I’m an unlikely speaker, not just because I dropped out, but because we’re technically in the same generation. We walked this yard less than a decade apart, studied the same ideas and slept through the same Ec10 lectures. We may have taken different paths to get here, especially if you came all the way from the Quad, but today I want to share what I’ve learned about our generation and the world we’re building together.
But first, the last couple of days have brought back a lot of good memories.
How many of you remember exactly what you were doing when you got that email telling you that you got into Harvard? I was playing Civilization and I ran downstairs, got my dad, and for some reason, his reaction was to video me opening the email. That could have been a very sad video. I swear getting into Harvard is still the thing my parents are most proud of me for.
What about your first lecture at Harvard? Mine was Computer Science 121 with the incredible Harry Lewis. I was late so I threw on a T-shirt and didn’t realize until afterwards it was inside out and backwards with my tag sticking out the front. I couldn’t figure out why no one would talk to me —- except one guy, KX Jin, he just went with it. We ended up doing our problem sets together, and now he runs a big part of Facebook. And that, Class of 2017, is why you should be nice to people.
But my best memory from Harvard was meeting Priscilla. I had just launched this prank website Facemash, and the ad board wanted to “see me”. Everyone thought I was going to get kicked out. My parents came to help me pack. My friends threw me a going away party, As luck would have it, Priscilla was at that party with her friend. We met in line for the bathroom in the Pfoho Belltower, and in what must be one of the all-time romantic lines, I said: “I’m going to get kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly.”
Actually, any of you graduating can use that line.
I didn’t end up getting kicked out — I did that to myself. Priscilla and I started dating, And, you know, that movie made it seem like Facemash was so important to creating Facebook. It wasn’t. But without Facemash I wouldn’t have met Priscilla, and she’s the most important person in my life, so you could say it was the most important thing I built in my time here.
We’ve all started lifelong friendships here, and some of us even families. That’s why I’m so grateful to this place. Thanks, Harvard.
Today I want to talk about purpose. But I’m not here to give you the standard commencement about finding your purpose. We are millennials. We’ll try to do that instinctively. Instead, 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.
Update June 1st
One of my favorite stories is when John F Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded:” Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon!”
Purpose is that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates happiness.
You’re graduating at a time when this is especially important. When our parents graduated, purpose reliably came from your job, your church, your community. But today, technology and automation are eliminating many jobs. Membership in communities is declining. Many people feel disconnected and depressed, and are trying to fill a void.
As I’ve traveled around, I’ve sat with children in juvenile detention and opioid addicts, who told me their lives could have turned out differently if they just had something to do, an offer school program or somewhere to go. I’ve met factory workers who know their old jobs aren’t coming back and are trying to find their place.
To keep our society moving forward, we have a generational challenge — to not only create new jobs, but create a renewed sense of purpose.
I remember that night I launched Facebook from my little dorm in Kirkland House. I went to Noch’s with my friend KX. I remember telling him clearly that I was excited to help connect the Harvard community, but one day someone would connect the whole world.
Update June 5th
The thing is, it never even occurred to me that someone might be us. We were just college kids. We ain’t know anything about that. There were all these big technology companies with all these resources. I just assumed that one of them would do it. But this idea was so clear to us–that all people want to connect. So we just kept working on that, day by day.
Update June 7th
I know a lot of you will have your own stories just like this. A change in the world that seems so clear you’re sure someone else will do it. But they won’t. You will.
But it’s not enough to have purpose yourself. You have to create a sense of purpose for others.
I found that out the hard way. You see, my hope was never to build a company, but to make an impact. And as all these people started joining us, I just assumed that’s what they cared about too, so I never explained what I hoped we’d build.
A couple years in, some big companies wanted to buy us. I didn’t want to sell. I wanted to see if we’d connect more people. We were building the first News Feed, and I thought if we could just launch this ,it could change how we learn about the world.
Nearly everyone else wanted to sell. Without a sense of higher purpose, this was the startup dream come true. It tore our company apart. After one tense argument, an advisor told me if I didn’t agree to sell, I would regret the decision for the rest of my life. Relationships were so frayed that within a year or so every single person on the management was gone.
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 kid who had no idea how the world worked.