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Melinda and Bill Gates’ Commencement Speech At Stanford University

We often discuss notable commencement speeches. We must say majority of commencement addresses are inspirational and motivational. They contain the wisdom of knowledge and experience. Morals, Ethics, Values and Humanity are also some of the learning points we found in those speeches.

Melinda and Bill Gates were invited to deliver commencement speech at Stanford University this year. Usually we don’t see more than one people can address a speech jointly. But Bill and Melinda did it in a fantastic way. Their co-ordination was just perfect, and can be set as an example of how a speech can be delivered together.

They talk about their earlier days when MicroSoft was founded. Then gradually move ahead in their memories and come to the point where they are currently standing. They are more of philanthropist now then the business persons. Their human side will touch your heart. Who says high amount of wealth makes you arrogant only? If you have good characteristics, no one can overpower the good side of you.

They talk about their belief about optimism. Optimism can provide solutions to almost every problem.

They also talk that in early days (70s and 80s) computers were very expensive and can be afforded by businesses only. Over the period of time with the vision and efforts by many technical geniuses (including but not limited to Bill Gates, Paul Allen – and their company MicroSoft); personal computers were made. It was then possible for an individual to use the power of computers. But once again (in late 90s) it is seen that rich kids have computers, they can afford it, but what about the poor kids?!

You need to be a real human being to see these effects of technical innovation. Especially when it was resulted in to a large amount of money for you and your company.

Bill then talks about his visit to South Africa in 1997. He had seen the poverty in real for the first time and he then analysed the situations. Will just providing personal computers can solve their problems. Aren’t they going to wider the gap between rich and poor? He than asked himself again that does he still believe that innovation can solve the toughest problems in the world?

Bill and Melinda then decided to do something to find the cause of poverty and and other issues.

Then the couple talks about their another visit to SA and how meeting patients of TB, AIDS and other disease made them work on providing affordable treatments to them. One good thing they mention is: Optimism is often dismissed as false hope. But there is also false hopelessness.

Melinda talks about their feelings when they see such heart breaking situations. She also talks how the people who are considered as lowest of low in the society and their efforts in keeping the AIDS at the bay. She also talk about how abandoned people like to be touch and want to touch the others. It is a human feeling of being part of the society and accepted by the society. This segment will make you emotional. She also tells that sometimes when you are unable to help someone despite of your genuine wish to do so, it inspires you to make the things better.

They then conclude that rather than being pessimistic, being optimistic is the better approach. The technological innovations and their reach should not be only market-driven. Melinda suggests that: Let your heart break, it will change what you do with your optimism… a very well thought sentence.

They conclude the speech with positive vibes and the message of optimism and humanity.

It is a speech which explores real world problems and how one should look to it, and then try to resolve it. Even the Gates couple’s approach is realistic. They are not saying the students to leave everything and just do social work. It will never work that way. They rather say the students to not to rush towards these things, setup the career, pay your debts, move ahead in the social life. Then there will come a point in a life, when it was the right time to move towards these stuffs. Don’t turn away from it that time.

The speech is long and not just for enjoyment. It will appeal you if you are seriously interested to get the message it is conveying you.

The speech is made available for the public by the Stanford University and here are the links:

YouTube Video:

Text version of the full speech is available here.

What are your views about this commencement speech? Do let us know your remarks via comments below.

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