Ellison on Loserhood

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From: Sally Khudairi (sk@zotgroup.com)
Date: Mon Aug 14 2000 - 11:40:28 PDT

Now parents everywhere will embrace the importance of being a "late
bloomer" -- thankfully I
left Tulane mid-thesis eight years ago and never looked back...


New Haven, CT

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 uber-wealth than graduating

What follows is a transcript of the speech delivered by Ellison at Yale
University last month:

"Graduates of Yale University, I apologize 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.

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 understandable. 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 realize 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 down...

The Oracle CEO was ushered off stage.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
S A L L Y K H U D A I R I <sk@zotgroup.com>
http://www.zotgroup.com/ +1.617.542.5335 ext./201
ZOT Group | 327 Summer Street | Boston, MA 02210 USA

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