edgecase
Author: StJohn Piano
Published: 2020-02-09
Datafeed Article 134
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277 words - 65 lines - 2 pages




In 2015, Ben Horowitz gave a commencement address at Columbia University entitled "Don't Follow Your Passion". [0]


Here is an excerpt from that address:





The more generalised case of "don't listen to your friends" is "think for yourself". And "thinking for yourself" sounds both simple and trivial, but in reality, it's extremely difficult and it's profound.

And here's why.

As human beings, we want to be liked. It's anthropological. If people didn't like you, in caveman days, they would just eat you. So you really have a natural built-in instinct to want to be liked. And the easiest way to be liked is to tell people what they want to hear.

And you know what everybody wants to hear? What they already believe to be true. And so the last thing they want to hear is an original idea that contradicts their belief system.

So it's very hard to even bring that kind of stuff up. But those are the things - those are the only things - things that you believe, that everybody around you doesn't believe - when you're right - that create real value in the world.

Everything else - people already know. There's no value created. It's just business as usual. So it's so important to think for yourself.










[start of footnotes]


[0]
Title: Don't Follow Your Passion
Speaker: Ben Horowitz
Date [shown near start of video]: May 18, 2015
Published: Jul 15, 2017
Description: Ben Horowitz commencement address at Columbia University to the Fu School of Engineering and Applied Science class of 2015.
Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaSqh4DiQSw

The excerpt in this article is a transcription of the section that runs from 4:15 to 5:20 in the video.

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[end of footnotes]