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CEO Commencement Wisdom 2012

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

Photograph by Peg Korpinski

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt
Google, Executive Chairman
University of California at Berkeley, May 12

“Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country. Say yes to meeting new friends. Say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference in your life, and likely in others’ lives as well. … Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”
Dan Akerson
General Motors, CEO
Columbia Business School, May 13

“I hope you came to this great university with more in mind than getting a degree that would help maximize your earning power. Let me be clear. Making money is good. I’m all for it. I have been blessed in ways I never imagined, and I hope everyone has the same opportunities and success I’ve enjoyed. But society needs more from you right now. Some of the institutions our society relies on are in serious disrepair.”
Greg Brown
Motorola Solutions, Chairman
Rutgers University, May 13

“Whatever you strive for, don’t dwell on constructing the perfect plan or search for the flawless solution, because perfect can be the enemy of progress. Have the confidence to forge ahead with a good enough plan, with imperfect knowledge. Then continually adjust, adapt, and learn.”
Muhtar Kent
Coca-Cola, Chairman
University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School, May 13

“I was in New York, and I answered a [Coca-Cola] newspaper ad. … I spent the next nine months on trucks. In Atlanta, Georgia, Lubbock, Texas, Needham, Massachusetts, and outside Los Angeles. It wasn’t glamorous work. Getting up at 5 a.m., going into supermarkets, bringing product in off the truck, stacking it on shelves, and building displays. And frankly, there were moments when I asked myself what I was doing. But I always believed that today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow is better than today.”
Charlie Ergen
Dish Network, Chairman
Wake Forest University, May 21

“I encourage you to take the jobs where you will learn the most, and the other paycheck will take care of itself.”

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