Google Co-Founder Gives Graduation Speech
BY Max Chafkin
Larry Page, co-founder of uber-search engine Google, gave the keynote address at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering Saturday, encouraging the new graduates to take risks -- including entrepreneurial risks. Page recalled being a graduate student at Stanford, when he and several friends "downloaded the whole web, and…weren't quite sure what we were going to do with it." When the leading search engines refused to license his technology, Page did what any ambitious PhD candidate would have done: quit the program "to go off and start a crazy company."
He told parents they should give their kids the freedom and support to do the same.
Page made a big point of emphasizing the way taking a risk can change the world and cited Muhammad Yunus, an entrepreneur who built a successful business in Bangladesh by helping poor entrepreneurs with microloans. He of course also mentioned Google's initial mission to "organize the world's information." Page told the audience that in his view, it is easier to succeed when you dream big.
To round it out, Page mused on the merits of business schools (or lack thereof), innovation in the workplace, Bono, and the future of space travel.
The transcript isn't posted yet, but one enterprising graduate recorded it on his cell phone and posted it on his blog.
Last updated: May 3, 2005
Senior contributing writer MAX CHAFKIN has profiled companies such as Yelp, Zappos, Twitter,
Threadless, and Tesla for the magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. @chafkin