May 4, 2013

Twitter CEO @dickc's inspirational speech: Be bold. Make courageous choices. Be in this moment.

Two years back I gave an alumni speech to 1000+ students. I still receive emails from some students seeking guidance, asking for opinion and other curious questions that a girl/boy would have at that age. In my speech, I emphasized that in their journey they'll come across some very successful people and while it's good to admire them for who they are, it's also important to learn from their story and to know how to get there. Ask questions like "How did that guy reach where he is today? What did he do in his early years? What choices did he make? Was he passionate about something?" Every self-made person who's successful today was once just like us with his/her share of difficulties, curiosity and accomplishments. They've worked hard, followed their passion and are real-life examples of success. Learn from their story.

Today, on May 4 it was the turn of the CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo (@dickc) to share his story at the University of Michigan's (@umich) commencement speech. Like any leader, Dick personally started working on his speech a week in advance, evident through his tweets:

Thanks to @umich, I got the opportunity to watch Dick's commencement speech in real-time. Standing at the podium, he started by tweeting a photo of the students sitting in front of him and said "I'm a professional, so this will only take a second." Haha, that was so cool and showed his charismatic and funny side the way we all know him on twitter!

Dick gave an inspirational 17 minutes speech where he shared moments from his own journey like how he opted for stand-up comedy after college despite having good offers from 3 technology companies and how he saw the internet as an extensible structure that had amazing possibilities and he created a sequence of companies over the course of 20 years that led him to twitter. His story is very inspiring and here are some gems from his commencement speech:

  • Make bigger choices, take courageous risks.
  • You can't plan a script. The beauty of improvisation is you're experiencing it in the moment. If you try to plan what the next line is suppose to be, you're just gonna be disappointed when the other people on stage with you don't do or say what you want them to do and you'll stand there frozen. Be in this moment. Be in this moment!
  • We didn't have internet in our pants, we didn't even have the internet not in our pants!
  • Make bold bets and focus on what you love (referring to twitter).
  • Not only can you not plan the impact you're going to have, you often won't recognize it even while you're having it. The impact is what others frame for you and the world after it happens. The present is only what you're experiencing and focused on right now.
  • You cannot draw any of your paths looking forward. So, you have to figure out what you love to do, what you have conviction about and go do that.
  • There are no expectations (after college). There's no script. 
  • When you're doing what you love to do, you become resilient because that's the habit you create for yourself. You create a habit of taking chances on yourself and making bold choices in-service to doing what you love. If on the other hand you do what you think is expected of you, or what you're supposed to do and thinks go poorly, or chaos ensues as it surely will you will look to external sources for what to do next because that'll be the habit you've created for yourself. You'll be standing their frozen on the stage of your own life. If you're just filling a role, you will be blind-sided.
  • Believe that if you make courageous choices and bet on yourself, and put yourself out there that you will have an impact as a result of what you do and you don't need to know now what that will be or how will it happen because nobody ever does.
  • Be bold. Make courageous choices for yourself.
  • Don't always worry about what your next line is suppose to be. There's no script. Live your life. Be in this moment. Be in this moment. Now, be in this moment.
  • Remember to say Thank You! #GoBlue

Found some inspiration? Then watch Dick's complete speech, you just can't miss this!

Dick's commencement speech reminded me of his tweet to me 2 years back. Today, I can once again say that yes, twitter is sending us positive thoughts and these are definitely more valuable. :)

Thank you Mr. Costolo for inspiring us!

In this moment,

Image Source: Ann


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