This speech was originally delivered by Reid Hoffman in English on September 8, 2023 at the Bologna Business School at the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the Western world.
I’ve used AI—no human editing—to translate this speech into over 100 languages. View those versions here.
Thank you for the kind introduction, Professor Manca.
Ladies and gentlemen, President Prodi, Dean Bergami, Rector Molari, esteemed faculty, proud parents, it’s my distinct pleasure and privilege to be with you today to honor the extraordinary graduates of the University of Bologna Business School.
Graduates, well done! You did it.
I’m honored to join everyone here today to celebrate your achievement.
But I’m also here to invite you to your next course of study: you.
And by you, I mean all of us. And by all of us, I mean humankind. Right now.
In the poem, “An Essay on Man,” English poet Alexander Pope wrote:
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Now he tells you, right? After you just spent all that time studying Fintech, Marketing, or Business Management. Thanks a lot, Alexander!
Of course, the truth is, that in developing your expertise in your chosen field, you actually have been studying humankind.
In fact, as an entrepreneur, investor and a perpetual philosophy student, I’ve always believed that any new venture must have a strong theory of human nature underlying it.
In other words, you need to know about humanity: the (Read more…)