Below is a transcript of a speech I gave on August 27, 2012 to NYU Stern’s 600+ incoming freshmen and transfers. I’ll post the video when I get it…if the quality is halfway decent.
It’s exciting to see all these bright shining faces. You’ll look nothing like this after your first all-nighter studying for your finance final. You’ll wake up covered in highlighter wondering why you were highlighting your iPad in the first place. You’ll run into class late, give some lame excuse, and think about what you’ll tell your parents as you doodle skeletons where the essays should go. I remember those days well.
Today, I’d like to share with you three lessons I wish I got before I started college. Luckily all you have to do is stop texting for five minutes to benefit from my mistakes.
I have to admit, until I was invited to keynote the Stern Freshman Convocation on August 27th, I’d never heard the word “convocation” before. Remembering my own freshman year, my best guess was some sort of mash-up of “condoms” and “vacation”. Disappointingly, it really means ”assembly”. Despite this linguistic trickery, I’m not taking my duties lightly. I haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to say, but you can get a hint from my recent blog posts. Regardless, our future will be a lot different than today. And these 500 smart freshmen will eventually help shape it. As I prepare my notes, I’m curious what you’d tell the next generation of young entrepreneurs and corporate tycoons? Submit your comments below or on Twitter or Facebook or Google+.
It’s been happening before your very eyes. Yet, you’ve failed to act. You’re both victim and accomplice. Shepherd and sheep. Unfortunately, it might already be too late.
No, this isn’t the script for Tom Cruise’s next Scientology recruitment video. It’s my vision of a future where the virtual world is all-consuming and far more relevant than the real one. Maybe I just don’t believe we’re strong enough to resist a world of endless possibilities, instant gratifications, and candid shots of Britney.