2015年6月1日 星期一

[中英對照] Dropbox 創辦人德魯 · 休斯頓對 MIT 大學畢業生演說 Drew Houston's MIT Commencement Address 2013


這篇有一種大哥哥分享畢業經驗的親切感,感覺創業者都有一種特殊的氣質 : )

2015.6.1 初版
2017.12.23. 排版優化


安德魯·休斯頓 (Andrew W. Houston) - 1983年3月4日

安德魯·休斯頓暱稱為德魯·休斯頓(Drew Houston),生於美國麻塞諸塞州艾統(Acton),網路企業家,為 Dropbox 的共同創辦人之一。在麻省理工學院取得計算機科學學士學位。在麻省理工學院就讀時,為了避免從隨身碟讀取檔案的不方便,寫作了程式,可以從網路下載檔案,成為 Dropbox 的前身。


Drew Houston Commencement Address MIT 2013


Thank you Chairman Reed, and congratulations to all of you in the class of 2013.

I'm so happy to be back at MIT, and it's an honor to be here with you today. I still wear my Brass Rat, and turning this ring around on graduation day is still one of the proudest moments of my life.

There are a lot of reasons why this is a special day, but the reason I'm so excited for all of you is that today is the first day of your life where you no longer need to check boxes.

For your first couple decades, success in life has meant jumping through one hoop after another: get these test scores, get into this college. Take these classes, get this degree. Get into this prestigious institution so you can get into the next prestigious institution. All of that ends today.

The hard thing about planning your life is you have no idea where you're going, but you want to get there as soon as possible. Maybe you'll start a company, or cure cancer, or write the great American novel. Or who knows? Maybe things will go horribly wrong. I had no idea.

Being up here in robes and speaking to all of you today wasn't exactly part of my plan seven years ago. In fact, I've never really had a grand plan — and what I realize now is that it's probably impossible to have one after graduation, if ever.

I've thought a lot about what's different about the life you're beginning today. I've thought about what I would do if I had to start all over again. What got you here was basically being smart and working hard. But nobody tells you that after today, the recipe for success changes. So what I want to do is give you a little cheat sheet, the one I would have loved to have had on my graduation day.

If you were to look at my cheat sheet, there wouldn't be a lot on it. There would be a tennis ball, a circle, and the number 30,000. I know this doesn't make any sense right now, but bear with me.

首先我想要感謝 Reed 主席的邀請,並祝賀在座的 13 級同學們即將踏上新的旅程。

能再次回到母校和即將畢業的你們在一起,讓我感到無比榮耀,在今天這個特殊的時刻我又帶上了黃銅鼠戒指(Brass Rat),這大概是人生中最值得紀念的日子。






不過我的作弊紙條上不能寫太多內容。簡單來說會有:一個網球、圈子和數字 30000。他們都代表了什麼意義,接下來我會仔細闡述。

I started my first company in a Chili's when I was 21. My cofounder, Andrew Crick, and I had never done this before. We were wondering if you needed to wear a suit to City Hall, or if you needed to make a company seal for stamping important documents. It turns out you can just go online and fill out a form and be done in about two minutes. It was a little anti-climactic, but we were in business.

Over onion strings we decided that our company was going to make a new kind of online course for the SAT. Most kids back then were still using these old-school 800-page books, and the other online prep courses weren't very good. We called it Accolade, an SAT vocab word meaning an award of distinction. Well, actually, we called it "The Accolade Group, LLC" which we thought sounded a lot more impressive.

I stopped at Staples on the way home to pick up some card stock. Clearly, the most important order of business was to Photoshop a logo and print out some business cards that said "Founder" on them. The next order of business was to hand them out at conferences, and tell girls "why yes, I do have a company." It was awesome.

當我 21 歲的時候和 Andrew Crick 成立了第一家公司,當時我們從來沒有經歷過這樣的大事,幻想著是不是要穿著正式服裝去市政府辦理手續,或者總得弄一個公司章來簽署重要文件。卻沒想到最終只要花費不到 2 分鐘,在網上填一張表格,我們的公司就算成立了。

這麼說起來挺讓人掃興。胡思亂想後,我們確定下了公司的業務:提供一種全新的線上 SAT 課程(美國大學入學考試)。那時大多數的學生還在使用 800 多頁厚的教材,而網上的一些考試複習資料做得也不夠好。於是我們選擇了 SAT 上的一個表示卓越貢獻的詞彙——榮譽(Accolade)作為公司名。為了看起來更像回事,我們將其命名為「榮譽集團有限公司」(The Accolade Group, LLC)。

在回家取卡片的路上我在 Staples(美國辦公用品超市) 門口停住了腳步,突然想到開公司最為關鍵的一步就是將 Photoshop 出來的公司標誌和自己創辦人的頭銜印在名片上,接下來在出席的會議上交換名片,然後表情輕鬆地回覆來自女孩兒們的敬仰「這就是為何我開了一家公司。」感覺棒極了。

But the best part was learning all kinds of new things. I lived in my fraternity house every summer, and up on the fifth floor there's a ladder that goes up to the roof. I had this green nylon folding chair that I'd drag up there along with armfuls of business books I bought off Amazon and I'd spend every weekend reading about marketing, sales, management and all these other things I knew nothing about. I wasn't planning to get my MBA on the roof of Phi Delta Theta, but that's what happened.

A couple years later, things started going downhill. I felt like I had to paddle harder and harder to make progress, and at some point I just snapped and couldn't deal with any more math questions about parallel lines or the train leaving Memphis at 3:45. I figured something was wrong with me. I felt guilty for being so unproductive. Starting a company had been my dream, and, well, maybe I didn't have what it takes after all.

其實真正重要的是從中我學到了很多。每個暑假我都住在兄弟會的房子裡,在五樓有一個直通房頂的天梯。坐在綠色的尼龍折疊椅上隨手抓起一本從亞馬遜買的書籍開始閱讀,每個週末我在大量地閱讀市場行銷、管理學等之前一無所知的書籍中度過。不過我可沒準備在 Phi Delta Theta(美國一個出名的兄弟會,Drew Hoston 是其中的會員)的樓頂上獲得 MBA 學位。


So I took a little break. Of course, if you're in course 6, sometimes "taking a break" means writing a poker bot. For those of you who don't know what a poker bot is, what happens when you play poker online is first, you sit for hours and click buttons, and then you lose all your money. A poker bot means you can have your computer lose all your money for you.

But it was a fascinating challenge. I was possessed. I would think about it in the shower. I would think about it in the middle of the night. It was like a switch went on — suddenly I was a machine.

In the middle of all this, my mom and dad wanted all of us to come up to New Hampshire to spend a family weekend together. But I really wanted to keep working on my poker bot. So I pull up in my Accord and open the trunk, and next I'm dragging all my computer stuff and all these wires into our little cottage. The dining room table wasn't big enough so I started moving all the pots and pans off the stove to make room for all my monitors. This time it was my mom who thought something was wrong with me. She was convinced I was going to jail.

於是我休息了一段時間,如果你讀的是 course 6(電器工程學程,在 MIT 被稱為 course 6) 「休息一會」則意味著編寫一個撲克牌機器人程式(poker bot),撲克牌機器人程式能代替你輸掉所有的錢。


在這期間我的父母希望我們一起去 New Hampshire 度假,但我一心想完成我的撲克牌機器人程式。於是我打開 Accord(本田雅哥) 的後車廂,將所有的電腦配件搬進度假屋內,為了能放下我的所有顯示器,我將廚房內地鍋碗瓢盆全都搬到了外面,當時我母親深信我一定病得不輕,遲早要進監獄。

I was going to say work on what you love, but that's not really it. It's so easy to convince yourself that you love what you're doing — who wants to admit that they don't?

When I think about it, the happiest and most successful people I know don't just love what they do, they're obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball: their eyes go a little crazy, the leash snaps and they go bounding off, plowing through whatever gets in the way. I have some other friends who also work hard and get paid well in their jobs, but they complain as if they were shackled to a desk.

The problem is a lot of people don’t find their tennis ball right away. Don't get me wrong — I love a good standardized test as much as the next guy, but being king of SAT prep wasn’t going to be mine. What scares me is that both the poker bot and Dropbox started out as distractions. That little voice in my head was telling me where to go, and the whole time I was telling it to shut up so I could get back to work. Sometimes that little voice knows best.

It took me a while to get it, but the hardest-working people don't work hard because they're disciplined. They work hard because working on an exciting problem is fun. So after today, it's not about pushing yourself; it's about finding your tennis ball, the thing that pulls you. It might take a while, but until you find it, keep listening for that little voice.



但大多數人都沒有找到自己的網球,雖然我也認為考試非常重要,但是做 SAT 考試網站並不能真正吸引我,最讓我感到吃驚的是撲克牌機器人程式和 Dropbox 開始分散了我的注意力。頭腦中總是有冥冥之聲告訴我應該做什麼,而我選擇克制住自己,但是其實內心的聲音才最為了解你。

後來我漸漸明白工作最努力的人並非足夠勤奮而是他們知道這樣的規律:努力工作去解決重大的問題非常有趣。現在看來,你不需要逼迫自己,你應該發現你喜愛的事情,找到自己的網球,這或許需要一些時間, 繼續去尋找並傾聽你內心的聲音。

Let's go back to the summer after my graduation, the summer you're about to have. One of my fraternity brothers, Adam Smith, and his friend Matt Brezina were starting a company and we decided it would be fun for all of us to work together out of one apartment.

It was the perfect summer — well, almost perfect. The air conditioner was broken so we were all coding in our boxers. Adam and Matt were working around the clock, but as time went on they kept getting pulled away by potential investors who would share their secrets and take them on helicopter rides. I was a little jealous — I had been working on my company for a couple years and Adam had only been at it for a couple months. Where were my helicopter rides?

Things only got worse. August rolled around and Adam gave me the bad news: they were moving out. Not only was my supply of Hot Pockets cut off, but they were off to Silicon Valley, where the real action was happening, and I wasn't.

Every now and then I'd give Adam a call and hear how things were going. Things were always pretty good. "We met with Vinod this afternoon," he would tell me. Vinod Khosla is the billionaire investor and cofounder of Sun Microsystems. Then Adam dropped the bomb. "He's going to give us five million dollars."

I was thrilled for him, but it was a shock for me. Here was my faithful beer pong partner and my little brother in the fraternity, two years younger than me. I was out of excuses. He was off to the Super Bowl and I wasn't even getting drafted. He had no idea at the time, but Adam had given me just the kick I needed. It was time for a change.

讓我們回到我畢業後的暑假,也就是你們即將度過的假期。我的一個兄弟會的朋友 Adam Smith 和他的朋友 Matt Brezina 開了一家公司,我們認為能在一家公寓裡一起工作將會非常有趣。

那是一個完美的夏天,由於空調壞了,我們只好在自己的小隔間裡寫程式,Adam 和 Matt 則日日夜夜地不停工作,隨著時間地流逝,潛在的投資人找到了他們,並且帶他們乘坐直升機快速升空。當時我有些嫉妒,我已經為自己地公司奮鬥了幾年,但 Adam 卻才剛剛開始做了幾個月而已。何時才能輪到我坐上直升機?


我總是時不時給 Adam 去個電話問問近況,他們似乎一直進展順利,「這個下午我們見了 Viond(Vinod Khosla 是一個資金豐厚的投資人,也是 SUN 的共同創辦人),」 Adam 說。接著他又放出了一個重大的消息,「Viond 準備投給我們 5 百萬美元。」

為他的成功我感到激動,但是卻對我是一個打擊。他是我 beer pong 遊戲(美國大學裡一種喝啤酒遊戲)的好搭檔,兄弟會的好朋友,而且比我小兩歲。我沒有什麼藉口。他似乎已經要參加超級杯(the Super Bowl)而我連選秀的資格也沒有。當時我正處在迷茫期,但 Adam 警示我,我需要改變。

They say that you're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Think about that for a minute: who would be in your circle of 5? I have some good news: MIT is one of the best places in the world to start building that circle. If I hadn't come here, I wouldn't have met Adam, I wouldn't have met my amazing cofounder, Arash, and there would be no Dropbox.

One thing I've learned is surrounding yourself with inspiring people is now just as important as being talented or working hard. Can you imagine if Michael Jordan hadn’t been in the NBA, if his circle of 5 had been a bunch of guys in Italy? Your circle pushes you to be better, just as Adam pushed me.

And now your circle will grow to include your coworkers and everyone around you. Where you live matters: there’s only one MIT. And there's only one Hollywood and only one Silicon Valley. This isn't a coincidence: for whatever you're doing, there's usually only one place where the top people go. You should go there. Don’t settle for anywhere else. Meeting my heroes and learning from them gave me a huge advantage. Your heroes are part of your circle too — follow them. If the real action is happening somewhere else, move.

他們說你的成就將基於周邊 5 個人,我考慮了一分鐘,我周圍的 5 個人是誰呢?MIT 對我來說是建立起社交圈的最佳地點,如果我沒來到 MIT 則不會認識 Adam ,也不會認識我的共同創辦人 Arash ,當然也不會有現在的 Dropbox。

我了解到找到一群給你帶來啟發的伙伴形成的圈子和才智與努力工作同樣重要。你能想像如果 Michael Jordan 沒有進入 NBA,如果他的圈子中的 5 個人都是義大利的普通球員會怎樣麼?你的朋友會加速你的成長,正如 Adam 對我的推動一樣。

你的圈子可能會包含你的同事和任何你周圍的人,你所處的地方非常重要:全世界只有一個 MIT,一個好萊塢、一個矽谷。並且沒有巧合:無論你做什麼,通常只有一個地方匯集了世界上的頂尖人才。那裡才是你要去的地方,不要被其他地方所羈絆。你的偶像也應該成為你的圈子最中的一部分,你需要跟隨他們。如果下一個大事件即將在某處發生,你現在就應該趕到那。

The last trap you might fall into after school is "getting ready." Don't get me wrong: learning is your top priority, but now the fastest way to learn is by doing. If you have a dream, you can spend a lifetime studying and planning and getting ready for it. What you should be doing is getting started.

Honestly, I don't think I've ever been "ready." I remember the day our first investors said yes and asked us where to send the money. For a 24 year old, this is Christmas — and opening your present is hitting refresh over and over on bankofamerica.com and watching your company's checking account go from 60 dollars to 1.2 million dollars. At first I was ecstatic — that number has two commas in it! I took a screenshot — but then I was sick to my stomach. Someday these guys are going to want this back. What the hell have I gotten myself into?

You already know this feeling: at MIT we call it "drinking from the firehose." It’s about as fun as it sounds, and all of us have the internal bleeding to prove it. But we’ve also learned it's good for you. Today, one valve shuts off. Now you need to go out and find another firehose.

Dropbox has been mine. As you might expect, building this company has been the most exciting, interesting and fulfilling experience of my life. What I haven't really shared is that it's also been the most humiliating, frustrating and painful experience too, and I can't even count the number of things that have gone wrong.


誠實地說,我從來沒有「準備好」。我還記得第一個投資人準備向我注資並問我將錢匯到哪裡的那一天。對一個 24 歲的年輕人人來說,這就像是聖誕節你的禮物正在不停的增加,看著你的公司支票從 60 美元,上升到 1 千 200 萬美元。我變得異常興奮,帳戶上的數字達到百萬,我還特意截圖,但後來卻受到打擊,某天這些人卻想要把錢要回來。

你一定明白我的感受,在 MIT 這叫做從消防栓裡狂飲(drinking from the firehose),聽起來十分搞笑,但我們卻紮紮實實地體會到了。今天你們可以以此為鑑,一個閥被關上了,你們所做的是找到下一個。


Fortunately, it doesn't matter. No one has a 5.0 in real life. In fact, when you finish school, the whole notion of a GPA just goes away. When you're in school, every little mistake is a permanent crack in your windshield. But in the real world, if you're not swerving around and hitting the guard rails every now and then, you're not going fast enough. Your biggest risk isn't failing, it's getting too comfortable.

Bill Gates's first company made software for traffic lights. Steve Jobs's first company made plastic whistles that let you make free phone calls. Both failed, but it's hard to imagine they were too upset about it. That's my favorite thing that changes today. You no longer carry around a number indicating the sum of all your mistakes. From now on, failure doesn't matter: you only have to be right once.

I used to worry about all kinds of things, but I can remember the moment when I calmed down. I had just moved to San Francisco, and one night I couldn't sleep so I was on my laptop. I read something online that said "There are 30,000 days in your life." At first I didn't think much of it, but on a whim I tabbed over to the calculator. I type in 24 times 365 and — oh my God, I'm almost 9,000 days down. What the hell have I been doing?

(By the way: you guys are 8,000 days down.)

So that’s how 30,000 ended up on the cheat sheet. That night, I realized there are no warmups, no practice rounds, no reset buttons. Every day we're writing a few more words of a story. And when you die, it's not like "here lies Drew, he came in 174th place." So from then on, I stopped trying to make my life perfect, and instead tried to make it interesting. I wanted my story to be an adventure — and that's made all the difference.



我以前常常杞人憂天,不過我還記得讓我突然冷靜的那個時刻,當我搬到舊金山的時候,一晚睡不著覺,於是打開了電腦,在網上讀到了一則新聞「人的一生只有 30000 天」。當我拿起計算器將 24 乘以 365 ,天呀,我已經用掉了 9000 天!我都幹了些什麼?

(而在座的你們已經用掉了 8000 天)

在這張作弊紙條上的 30000 就是這個含義。那晚我意識到生活中沒有熱身,沒有練習,也沒有重啟的按鈕。每天我都會寫一個小故事,當你去世,並不會寫著「這裡躺著 Drew ,學分排名第 174 位」於是從那時起,我便放棄了讓自己完美的計劃,我希望我的生活變得更加有趣。我希望自己的故事充滿了冒險,因此而與眾不同。

My grandmother is here today, and next week we'll be celebrating her 95th birthday. We talk more on the phone now that I’ve moved out to California. But one thing that's stuck with me is she always ends our phone calls with one word: "Excelsior," which means "ever upward."

And today on your commencement, your first day of life in the real world, that's what I wish for you. Instead of trying to make your life perfect, give yourself the freedom to make it an adventure, and go ever upward. Thank you.

我的奶奶今天也來了,再過一周就是她 95 歲的生日。由於我已經搬到了加州,於是我們常常通過電話交流,每當電話的結尾她總是會說「精益求精(Excelsior)」。



MIT Commencement 2013 - Speeches

翻譯來源:Dropbox 創辦人 MIT 畢業典禮演說:最大的風險不是失敗,而是過得太安逸了