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  • If I get through this speech today, it would be the first time I actually finished something here at Harvard.

  • How many of you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you got that email telling you that you got into Harvard.

  • I was playing the video game, Civilization, and I ran downstairs and got my dad and for some reason, his first reaction was to video me opening the email.

  • That could have been a really really sad video!

  • But I swear, getting into Harvard is the thing my parents are most proud of me for.

  • I was running late for class, so I throw on a T-shirt.

  • And I didn't realize until afterwards that I put it on inside-out and backwards and my tag was sticking out in the front.

  • I couldn't figure out why no one in class would talk to me.

  • Except for this one guy, KX Jin, he just went with it.

  • We start 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.

  • As luck would have it, Priscilla was at that party with her friends and we met in line for the bathroom in the phoho belltower.

  • And in what must be one of the all time most romantic lines I turned to her and said I'm getting kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly.

  • Actually, any of you graduating today can use that line.

  • But I'm not here to give you the standard commencement about finding your purpose.

  • We're millennials!

  • We try to do that instinctively.

  • Instead, I'm here to tell you, that finding your purpose isn't enough.

  • The challenge for our generation is to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

  • I remember that night I launched Facebook from that little dorm in Kirkland house.

  • I went to Noch's with my friend, KX.

  • And I remember telling him clearly that I was excited to help connect the Harvard community but one day someone would connect the whole world.

  • The thing is, it never even occurred to me that that someone might be us.

  • And I know that a lot of you are gonna have your own stories just like this.

  • A change in the world that seems so clear that you're sure someone else is going to do it.

  • But they're not.

  • You will.

  • A couple years in, some big companies wanted to buy us.

  • I didn't want to sell.

  • I wanted to see if we can connect more people.

  • Nearly everyone else wanted to sell.

  • Without a sense of higher purpose, this was their startup dream come true.

  • And it tore our company apart.

  • After one particularly tense argument, one of my close advisers told me if I didn't agree to sell the company right now, I would regret that decision for the rest of my life.

  • Relationships were so frayed that within a year or so, every single person on our management team was gone.

  • That was my hardest time leading Facebook.

  • Movies and pop culture just get this all wrong.

  • The idea of a single eureka moment is a dangerous lie.

  • It makes us feel inadequate, because we feel like we haven't had ours yet.

  • And it prevents people with seeds of good ideas from ever getting started in the first place.

  • Oh, and you know what else movies get wrong about innovation?

  • No one writes math formulas on glass.

  • OK?

  • Alright?

  • That's not a thing. OK?

  • In our society, we often don't take on big things because we're so afraid of making mistakes that we ignore all the things wrong today if we do nothing.

  • The reality is, anything we do today, is going to have some issues in the future.

  • But that can't stop us from getting started.

  • An entrepreneurial culture thrives when it is easy to try lots of new ideas.

  • Facebook wasn't the first thing I built, 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.

  • Even Beyonce had to make hundreds of songs to get Halo.

  • The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail.

  • We all know you don't get successful just by having a good idea or working hard.

  • We get successful by being lucky, too.

  • If I had to support my family growing up instead of having the time learning how to code;

  • If I didn't know that I was gonna be fine, if Facebook didn't work out, then I wouldn't be standing up here today.

  • And if we're honest, we all know how much luck we've had to get to this point in our lives.

  • The forces of freedom, openness, and global community against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism, and nationalism.

  • Forces for the flow of knowledge, trade, and immigration against those who would slow them down.

  • This is not a battle of nations, this is a battle of ideas.

  • There are people in every country for more global connection and there are good people against it.

  • Even global change starts small with people like us.

  • In our generation, the struggle of whether we connect more, whether we achieve our greatest opportunities, comes down to thisyour ability to built communities and create a world where every single person has a sense of purpose.

  • (Applause)

If I get through this speech today, it would be the first time I actually finished something here at Harvard.

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12 highlights: Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard commencement speech

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    Jerry posted on 2019/01/15
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