Speech in question:
In one of the more controversial commencement addresses in memory, Oracle
CEO and college dropout Larry Ellison told Yale's Class of 2000 they were
"losers" whose hard-won diplomas would never propel them into the ranks of
the super rich.
The evangelical Ellison, noting that college dropouts Bill Gates, Paul
Allen, and Michael Dell were, like himself, on Forbes' recent top 10 list of
billionaires, urged freshmen and sophomores at the ceremony to "drop out and
start up," and added that the undereducated Yale security guards who ushered
him off stage probably had a better shot at under-wealth than graduating
What follows is a transcript of the speech delivered by Ellison at the Yale
University last month:
"Graduates of Yale University, I apologise if you have endured this type of
prologue before, but I want you to do something for me. Please, take a good
look around you. Look at the classmate on your left. Look at the classmate
on your right. Now, consider this: five years from now, 10 years from now,
even 30 thirty years from now, odds are the person on your left is going to
be a loser. The person on your right, meanwhile, will also be a loser. And
you, in the middle? What can you expect? Loser. Loserhood. Loser Cum
Laude. "In fact, as I look out before me today, I don't see a thousand
hopes for a bright tomorrow. I don't see a thousand future leaders in a
thousand industries. I see a thousand losers. "You're upset. That's
After all, how can I, Lawrence "Larry" Ellison, college dropout, have the
audacity to spout such heresy to the graduating class of one of the nation's
most prestigious institutions? I'll tell you why. Because I, Lawrence
"Larry" Ellison, second richest man on the planet, am a college dropout, and
you are not. "Because Bill Gates, richest man on the planet-for now, anyway
- is a college dropout, and you are not. "Because Paul Allen, the third
richest man on the planet, dropped out of college, and you did not. "And
for good measure, because Michael Dell, No. 9 on the list and moving up
fast, is a college dropout, and you, yet again, are not.
"Hmm... you're very upset. That's understandable. So let me stroke your
egos for a moment by pointing out, quite sincerely, that your diplomas were
not attained in vain. Most of you, I imagine, have spent four to five years
here, and in many ways what you've learned and endured will serve you well
in the years ahead. You've established good work habits. You've
established a network of people that will help you down the road. And
you've established what will be lifelong relationships with the word
"therapy." All that of is good. For in truth, you will need that network.
You will need those strong work habits. You will need that therapy.
"You will need them because you didn't drop out, and so you will never be
among the richest people in the world. Oh sure, you may, perhaps, work your
way up to #10 or # 11, like Steve Ballmer. But then, I don't have to tell
you who he really works for, do I? And for the record, he dropped out of
grad school. Bit of a late bloomer.
"Finally, I realise that many of you, and hopefully by now most of you, are
wondering, "Is there anything I can do? Is there any hope for me at all?"
Actually, no. It's too late. You've absorbed too much, think you know too
much. You're not 19 anymore. You have a built-in cap, and I'm not
referring to the mortar boards on your heads. "Hmm... you're really very
upset. That's understandable. So perhaps this would be a good time to
bring up the silver lining. Not for you, Class of '00. You are a
write-off, so I'll let you slink off to your pathetic $200,000-a-year jobs,
where your checks will be signed by former classmates who dropped out two
years ago. "Instead, I want to give hope to any underclassmen here today.
I say to you, and I can't stress this enough: leave. Pack your things and
your ideas and don't come back. Drop out. Start up. "For I can tell you
that a cap and gown will keep you down just as surely as these security
guards dragging me off this stage are keeping me dow..."
The Oracle CEO was ushered off stage.
But he is still No 2 in the wealth stakes.
"It's all fun and games till someone losses [sic] an eye"
Derek Noonan, Dell+ Analyst/Programmer
Telephone: +353 61 223395
Pager: *61 3395
Email: derek_noonan at dell.com
From: Ronan Kirby [mailto:rkirby at iol.ie]
Sent: 19 September 2000 11:33
To: Donncha O Caoimh
Cc: cork at linux.ie
Subject: Re: [OT] Re: [CLUG] hey guys.. college stuff
> Doesn't matter. You don't even need to do a degree these
days to get a
> job. If you show a flair for computers you'll learn a lot
> yourself. Do a 2 year cert course in the CIT and get some
> during the extra 2 years that a degree would have taken.
This reminds me of a funny article from the Examiner a few
I believe it was Larry Ellison who was giving the key note
Yale's Computer Science graduation. He was talking on saying
would all have good jobs paying $100,000 a year. And then
pointed out `But
you cheques will all be payed by your friends who quit
college to work in
the industry, and are all earning $200,000 a year!'
Although I happen to believe college has some good uses, but
> Probably better than CIT right now, but that's only
because they have
> Linux workstations and offer work placement.
With one exception! There is a very good course there
(typically I can't
remember the name now). Its the one sponsord by Cisco. I
have a mate going
into 4th year in it atm. Very Cisco orientated (funnily
enough), and there
is aparently quite a bit of Unix training too. Although not
Linux, but I am told "this will be changing next year".
Cork maillist - Cork at linux.iehttp://www.linux.ie/mailman/listinfo/cork
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