glennkelman-speech
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, left, with his mom and twin brother Wes. Photo via Lloyd Kelman.

It’s that time of year when commencement speeches ring out across the nation, with everyone from President Barack Obama to philanthropist Melinda Gates to comedian Jimmy Kimmel offering words of wisdom to recent grads.

Glenn Kelman
Glenn Kelman

Now, LinkedIn is taking a very special approach to the commencement speech tradition, asking several of its so-called “influencers” to write “Commencement Speeches You Wish You’d Heard.”

And here’s something pretty cool. Two of the guest posts just happen to be written by Seattle online real estate CEOs —  Glenn Kelman of Redfin and Spencer Rascoff of Zillow.

Rascoff and Kelman are two of the most well spoken in the Seattle tech business, so I was especially intrigued to hear what each would say to recent grads.

First up, Kelman, who entitled his piece: Class of 2013: Advice for the Lost Ones:

An excellent writer, Kelman talks about those who have not yet figured out their path, drawing on his own experiences of trying to find his calling:

My 20s were so harrowing and tumultuous that I would never recommend them to anyone if I knew of a better way to figure out what we were put on this earth to do.

But the truth is that the search for a career is not a rational process but one of elimination, of being finicky rather than deductive. You can have no better idea of the career that will make you happy than what your future husband or wife will look like.

You just have to plunge into it and then break up, over and over again. And breaking up is hard to do.

He continues:

It has become routine for college students with the righteousness of Superman to duck into a phone booth after graduation and emerge as Clark Kent, often to work for Goldman Sachs, not the Daily Planet. After all, in the different surroundings of the adult world, it starts to feel silly walking around in blue and red spandex. But for the rest of your life you still like to think of yourself as the guy who once wore a cape.

Even if you stop being so self-righteous, you can still humbly, persistently try to do right.

Spencer Rascoff
Spencer Rascoff

Next up, Rascoff, who took a slightly different approach with his piece titled: Class of 2013: Graduating? Don’t Be the Punk Who Fixates on Angry Birds in Your Post-College Life

Rascoff offers six tips to recent grads, including work hard; find a mentor; and join a company that is growing quickly. He also notes:

Look into the future. Wherever you end up, look at the people 10-20 years senior to you at the company and determine if you want their life. I choose the word “life” very specifically — not their job, not their career, not their compensation. Their life — the whole package. Do you want their work/life balance? Would you find their role intellectually stimulating? Is their role autonomous enough for you to be satisfied? Because there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll end up where they are.

Those remarks are similar to some of the things Rascoff had to say at a speech earlier this month at Seattle University. (Previously on GeekWire: Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff’s secrets to startup success: Be a servant to your managers)

Both pieces are filled with great advice, and worth a read. Enjoy.

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Comments

  • Bob Silver

    Great exercise. This reinforces that Glenn Kelman is a terrific story teller (and I mean that in the most positive sense), which explains why Redfin does PR so well. Bravo, to both of you!

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