Jun 8, 2020 - Technology

"Be impatient": Google CEO Sundar Pichai's advice to the class of 2020

A young Sundar Pichai, wearing a Stanford sweatshirt.
A young Sundar Pichai. Photo: Google

Google CEO Sundar Pichai got personal in his address Sunday to the class of 2020, sharing his own story of coming late to the PC revolution, while also encouraging this year's graduates to take on the problems they see in modern society.

Why it matters: Pichai, also CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, remains fairly unknown outside tech circles. And his earnestness and origin story could prove to be an asset as the company faces increased regulatory scrutiny.

Details: Pichai, who grew up in India, told graduates he was 10 when his family got its first telephone, his family's TV — when they finally got one — only had one channel, and he didn't have regular access to a computer until he came to America for graduate school.

And he pushed graduates to challenge the things they find wrong with the industry.

  • "There are probably things about technology that frustrate you and make you impatient," he said.
  • "Don't lose that impatience. It will create the next technology revolution and enable you to build things my generation could never dream of."

Pichai's talk was delivered Sunday on YouTube, but recorded before the killing of George Floyd.

The big picture: Pichai encouraged students to raise questions in other important areas, too. "You may be just as frustrated by my generation's approach to climate change, or education," he said. "Be impatient. It will create the progress the world needs."

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