Astro Teller is the head of X, the "Moonshot Factory" that first launched as an R&D division of Google. iHeart Radio invited Astro to be part of a fantastic podcast series of virtual commencement speeches for 2020 graduates (and the rest of us) that they collected from the likes of John Legend, Bill & Melinda Gates, Hillary Clinton, George Lopez, Mary J Blige, and several dozen more. I've recently been working with the folks at X, and their celebration of weirdness, radical creativity, and urgent optimism is very real. And it's infectious. Listen to Astro's speech above. From his blog post:
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On the one hand, this is an incredibly daunting time. On the other, we have a once-in-a-century opportunity to hit the reset button, let go of conventional ways of thinking, and rebuild the world in radically better ways. This shift in perspective might feel difficult, even premature. However, the alternative — to try to claw society back towards an old normal that wasn’t working that well in many ways — is far worse. And counterintuitively, those of us who are newer and fresher in our fields, like the Class of 2020, may have some of the strongest tailwinds as we search for new approaches to the world’s most pressing problems. We’ve seen many times over the years at X that strategic naivete is actually a superpower.
One of my messages for graduates is to not worry that they don’t know the answers. The mental freedom and flexibility they have, and their willingness to learn and experiment, is going to be a secret to success in a world where there are no ready answers and no playbook.