Palo Alto High School Baccalaureate Speech 6/11/95
by Guy Kawasaki
Speaking to you today marks a milestone in my life. I am 40 years old. 22
years ago, when I was in your seat, I never, ever thought I would be 40
The implications of being your speaker frightens me. For one thing, when
a 40 year old geezer spoke at my baccalaureate ceremony, he was about the
last person I’d believe. I have no intention of giving you the boring
speech that you are dreading. This speech will be short, sweet, and not
I am going to talk about hindsights today. Hindsights that I’ve accumulated
in the 20 years from where you are to where I am. Don’t blindly believe me.
Don’t take what I say as “truth.” Just listen. Perhaps my experience can
help you out a tiny bit.
I will present them ala David Letterman. Yes, 40-year old people can still
stay up past 11.
#10: Live off your parents as long as possible.
When I spoke at this ceremony two years ago, this was the most popular
hindsight-except from the point of view of the parents. Thus, I knew I
was on the right track.
I was a diligent Oriental in high school and college. I took college-level
classes and earned college-level credits. I rushed through college in 3
1/2 years. I never traveled or took time off because I thought it wouldn’t
prepare me for work and it would delay my graduation.
Frankly, I blew it.
You are going to work the rest of your lives, so don’t be in a rush to
start. Stretch out your college education. Now is the time to suck life
into your lungs-before you have a mortgage, kids, and car payments.
Take whole semesters off to travel overseas. Take jobs and internships
that pay less money or no money. Investigate your passions on your parent’s
nickel. Or dime. Or quarter. Or dollar. Your goal should be to extend
college to at least six years.
Delay, as long as possible, the inevitable entry into the workplace and a
lifetime of servitude to bozos who know less than you do, but who make