June 7, 2011. Meadow's Alma Mater, Ravenswood, Connecticut
Thank you, Chancellor Banks, and may I say you have an even lovelier posterior in the daylight. Dean McDonald, regents, faculty, dear students, and friends, including new friends from last night. I have the check right here for the damages Delta Phi Gamma, stop by my hotel room later as agreed.
Commencement. WikiPedia calls commencement "the ceremony at which students receive academic degrees." It's also the name of an album by the rock band "Deadsy," it turns out, which proves, once again why I love the Internet. Never before have so many been able to be sidetracked so easily. Still, Groupon made me a fortune so who's complaining.
[inset pos=left]Now you can Tweet your junk everywhere and it's perfectly legal.[/inset]Commencement. It's a time of transition, to be sure. Transition is also an operation of a finite-state machine, in case you were wondering. But in this case, we're talking about a transition from one reality to another. A reality in which you are surrounded by your peers, many of whom are holding and are chronic insomniacs; a reality in which powerfully fun drugs are a campus call away, as I confirmed myself only last night. Jesse, you have a future in logistics, and I'm a man of my word. I'm calling Fred Smith over at FedEx as soon as I leave here, I hope you can start Monday.
The rest of you, however, won't be nearly as lucky as Jesse. I remember graduating from Yalvard myself, too many years ago now, smack into one of the worst job markets in a decade. It was a tough, tough ride. But that was nothing compared to what you're about to face, thank god for that. You guys are pretty screwed.
Yet, there is hope. When I graduated, the prospect of tweeting your junk to coeds across the country was an unthinkable reality. The Internet and Twitter had yet to evolve. If you wanted to send lewd pix of yourself to anonymous coeds, you had very few options. Sure you could mail them, but that made it a federal crime. Now you can Tweet your junk everywhere and it's perfectly legal. Yes, you'll lose your job, but nothing associated with your junk is free, trust me on that.
[inset pos=right]History is never made by people who followed the rules, and billions are made by those who aren't afraid of a few gallons of blood. Don't be a wimp.[/inset]My point is that new technologies always create opportunity for those ambitious and curious enough to pursue them. Each tragic invasion of our privacy that the Internet provides, creates a unique opportunity to exploit and profit from it. In a way, that's what you're seeing in the recent attacks from "hacktivist" groups against major corporations. They're creating opportunities for themselves to profit from their activity, and significantly boosting the profit margins of computer security firms across the globe. It's a win-win for them, of course a considerable loss for consumers affected by fraud, but you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs. You can try to scramble them in the shell, but that damn thing never works right.
So there is hope, dear students, that at least some of you will find your place in the new economy. Those with English, social science, history, or philosophy degrees, however, well there's still time to reconsider getting that associates degree from a tech school. At least then you'll have some sort of marketable skill, after all you've got... wow... about $240,000 to repay, and those payments start real soon.
But, no matter which path you choose, don't despair. Suicide may seem like the answer, with your enormous debt, limited opportunities, and complete inexperience, but I'm a gambling man, and I'll wager that a few of you, at least, will summon up the courage to push forward and forge your own trail, perhaps helming the next Enron, Tyco, or Global Crossing, like alumni before you. You've got the Ivy League credentials, now all you need is to surround yourself with avaricious psychopaths. No doubt several are already your friends and acquaintances at this very institution. Never be afraid to network!
Yes, feathering your own nest surrounded by amoral executives is the American Dream, but along the way, don't forget to develop your personal life as well, lest investigative journalists run out of material and you're portrayed as one dimensionally as a Jeff Skilling or Ken Lay. Keep up with the friendships you make here. Looking at our crest, I'm reminded that our founder John Pearson, the inventor of the modern cracker, never once forgot the friends he made in his youth before he made his millions. In fact many of them were with him right up to the end, only one was ever convicted of any wrong doing, and six others each received stock and cash compensation equivalent to $18 million today.
Never forget your friends: you'll never know which ones can profit you the most. And when opportunity presents itself, seize it, even if you have to break a few rules or even necks. History is never made by people who followed the rules, and billions are made by those who aren't afraid of a few gallons of blood. Don't be a wimp.
I see that my time is nearly over, and I'm sure many of you are anxious to get out of here and start draining those trust funds, so I'll be brief.
Madam Chancellor, Dean McDonald and Yalvard's entire board of regents who sobered up quite well: I present to you the Class of 2011. They weren't the best class, they weren't the worst. They followed the great tradition of this fine institution to the tune of a couple hundred thousand dollars, and I can see by all the eager, and terrified faces out there, they realize the gig is up. It's time to buckle down and climb that ladder to the top, over the lifeless bodies of their peers, and to that end, I wish them well. Unless you're in media, in which case, I'll crush your scull and sniff it like a line of blow.