Twitter CEO Shares Life Advice With Graduates: Take Risks

Dick Costolo is a Phi Gamma Delta alumni from the University of Michigan. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science, but upon graduation, he took his degree and moved to Chicago to join an improve theater group—and he says, succeed spectacularly and continue on to Saturday Night Live in New York City, with all the resulting fame and glory.

But Costolo gained fame and glory of an entirely different sort:

Fast forward a few years later, and he became Twitter’s COO in 2009 and in 2010 took over the CEO position. But Costolo’s still not above remembering his roots, and the social media magnate returned to his alma mater this year to speak at their graduation ceremony.

“Be in this moment. Be in this moment. Now be in this moment,” Costolo advised graduates in his Monday commencement speech. He talked about his journey from graduation, and the importance of taking risks and betting on yourself, a message that would bolster many graduates’ failing hearts.

“You know I have to start by tweeting this,” he began, snapping a photo with his phone. “You know, when I was your age, we didn’t have the Internet in our pants. We didn’t even have the Internet not in our pants. That’s how bad it was.

“When I woke up this morning and started writing my speech, I was thinking about my first month on campus in September when I was a freshman and the football team went into the season ranked number 1 in the nation,” Costolo said. “And we lost our first game 21-14 and there was this crushing disappointment afterwards. I’d like you to think of that soaring expectation followed by crushing disappointment as a metaphor for your next 20 minutes with me.”

“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,” he said. “You cannot draw any of your paths looking forward, so you have to decide what you love. When you’re doing what you love to do, you become resilient.”

You can watch the speech in its entirety above —and yes, it’s worth it.