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Related story: Mark Zuckerberg to Harvard graduates: Create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose Mark Zuckerberg finally got his Harvard degree How many of you remember exactly what you were doing when you got that email telling you that you got into Harvard?I was playing Civilization and I ran downstairs, got my dad, and for some reason, his reaction was to video me opening the email. I swear getting into Harvard is still the thing my parents are most proud of me for. Mine was Computer Science 121 with the incredible Harry Lewis.The reality is, anything we do will have issues in the future. How about stopping climate change before we destroy the planet and getting millions of people involved manufacturing and installing solar panels?How about curing all diseases and asking volunteers to track their health data and share their genomes? How about modernizing democracy so everyone can vote online, and personalizing education so everyone can learn? Let's do them all in a way that gives everyone in our society a role.As I've traveled around, I've sat with children in juvenile detention and opioid addicts, who told me their lives could have turned out differently if they just had something to do, an after school program or somewhere to go. You see, my hope was never to build a company, but to make an impact.I've met factory workers who know their old jobs aren't coming back and are trying to find their place. And as all these people started joining us, I just assumed that's what they cared about too, so I never explained what I hoped we'd build. We were building the first News Feed, and I thought if we could just launch this, it could change how we learn about the world. Without a sense of higher purpose, this was the startup dream come true. After one tense argument, an advisor told me if I didn't agree to sell, I would regret the decision for the rest of my life.
For more information, see the latest announcement from the NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee, dated 9/20/10.It prevents people with seeds of good ideas from getting started. Anyone taking initiative will get criticized for moving too fast, because there's always someone who wants to slow you down.Oh, you know what else movies get wrong about innovation? In our society, we often don't do big things because we're so afraid of making mistakes that we ignore all the things wrong today if we do nothing. It's time for our generation-defining public works.When our parents graduated, purpose reliably came from your job, your church, your community.But today, technology and automation are eliminating many jobs. Many people feel disconnected and depressed, and are trying to fill a void.
We ended up doing our problem sets together, and now he runs a big part of Facebook.