Yahoo’s Jerry Yang Gives His Own Speech

Main Point: Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously

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Google CEO Eric Schimdt was not the only web company figure to deliver a commencement address yesterday. Yahoo Co-founder Jerry Yang spoke at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Yang’s speech had a different tone that Schmidt’s. Whereas Schmidt discussed everything from cheesesteak to the meaning of life, Yang jumped in with a tone suggesting that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

Jerry Yang Speech

He talked some headlines like: 

- "College Grads Labor Against Shrinking Job Market Openings, Drop 13% This Year."

– "America Broadens its Deployments in the Middle East."

– "U.S. Taxpayers To Spend Billions Bailing Out Failing Financial Institutions."

"Now, you might think that’s today’s headlines," said Yang. "In fact, that was in the year 1990, when I sat where you are now for my graduation. The future looked pretty bleak."

"I can promise you that great things are being started in down-times like this," he said. "Yahoo! started in an economic downturn in the early 90s. Other great companies, great ideas, products, even social movements have come about as people were throwing away the status quo and doing EVERYTHING in new ways. In some ways, there’s not a better time to be a graduate to be part of this renewal."

From there, Yang went on to discuss how you get out of life what you put into it. The third part of the speech makes the point –  "Do what you love, even if it takes you down strange alleys."

Other main points of Yang’s speech included: "Get to know the world around you," "Use your advantages to your advantage," and "Don’t take yourself too seriously."

That last one, Yang says is his most important point. It’s not quite the meaning of life, but probably not bad advice. Full transcript of the speech available here.

Yahoo’s Jerry Yang Gives His Own Speech
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