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Jimmy Iovine為2013年南加州大學畢業生演講

Jimmy Iovine USC Commencement Speech

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Jimmy Iovine

2013年5月17日演講

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恆

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講(來源YouTube

2013年5月17日,音樂產業大亨Jimmy Iovine於南加州大學第130屆畢業典禮演講。

 

關於Jimmy Iovine(來源Wikipedia

James "Jimmy" Iovine(生於1953年3月11日)是美國音樂製作人及企業家,為Interscope Records唱片公司共同創辦者及Interscope Geffen A&M唱片公司董事長,同時也是Beats耳機的共同創辦人及公司的執行長。

 

Jimmy Iovine為2013年南加州大學畢業生演講

 

在座所有畢業生,我無法想像此刻你們腦海裡在想什麼;我不曾有機會就讀這麼棒的大學。我今天能站在這裡的原因和各位不同-藉由勤奮學習和優異表現。但我站在你們面前,站在你們輝煌的人生十字路口。因此,此時的問題是:我能傳授你們什麼?我如何協助你們-即使只是盡綿薄之力-為下階段人生做好準備?

 

因此我自問:是什麼造就了今日的我?經過反覆思量,我領悟到有兩項人生教訓改變了我的一切。這些經歷令我震驚、恐懼和謙卑;最終,這些經歷成了我今天能站在這裡的兩大原因。

 

因為我的教訓來自音樂界,你們或許聽過其中一些人的名字,心想:這傢伙的經歷怎麼可能適用於我?但我確信這兩項經歷絕對適用於任何人,及人生旅途中所有你想做的事。

 

首先,從我23歲時的經歷談起-比在座大多數人大不了多少-這是我一切成就背後的潛因。我試著將這個教訓灌輸給所有為我效力的人,那些學到這個教訓的人,依然為我效力。

 

我以第二錄音師的身分展開職業生涯。聽起來挺稱頭,但實際工作是接電話、掃地、沏茶和泡咖啡。聽起來或許沒什麼了不起,但這使我有機會從頭開始學習,這是每位初入職場者都該樂意從事的入門工作。

 

這使我有機會與約翰.藍儂在同一棟大樓工作。替他泡了第50杯茶之後,他感受到我學習的熱情和意願,允許我參與幾場他的錄音工作。在那裡,我得到與布魯斯.史普林斯汀合作的機會,替他錄製一張名為《天生贏家》的專輯。《天生贏家》成了一張里程碑大作;如果你們不知道《天生贏家》,問老爸老媽吧!(笑聲)

 

但對我父母和他們的朋友來說,《天生贏家》並非布魯斯.史普林斯汀的專輯,而是Jimmy Iovine的專輯;他們認為這全是我的功勞。不久後,我也開始相信這個幻想。因此當布魯斯和他的經紀人兼製作人Jon Landau邀我製作下一張作品-最後定名為《陰暗城市邊緣》的專輯時,我欣喜若狂。

 

當時製作專輯的首要之務是錄製鼓聲,尋找適合鼓聲的工作就落在錄音師身上-也就是我。我們花了六星期時間,不眠不休地尋找布魯斯鍾意的鼓聲;無論我們費盡多少心思,就是無法找到。

 

你無法想像我們所做的一切:我們把鼓放在走廊上、放在電梯裡、放在浴室中,除了把鼓放進水裡,我們什麼都試過。我只記得布魯斯老是對我說:「Jimmy,我聽見鼓棒擊鼓的聲音。」某天,我看著他說:「布魯斯,本來就是鼓棒在擊鼓!」

 

但他是老闆,這無法令他滿意;我們束手無策。我找到的聲音是「匡、匡、匡」,布魯斯想要的聲音是「崩、崩、崩」。因此最後布魯斯建議從紐澤西找來某個傢伙,協助我尋找這種難以捉摸的鼓聲。我心想:「為什麼我需要幫助?難道我的能耐只有兩年前的一半?」對我來說,這聽起來就像超級不信任。六星期以來,把麥克風放在所有你能想像的地方之後,我感到顏面盡失;我感到尷尬透頂。借用我公司那些20歲小毛頭常用的說法-我覺得不受尊重、我覺得超級不受尊重;我想建議布魯斯不如把麥克風塞進某個地方。(笑聲)

 

我回到所有工作人員下榻的旅館,告訴製作人:「我不幹了!我費盡心力幫助這個傢伙,現在他卻讓我難堪。」回頭看來,我只是唱片製作界的新手,但布魯克林青年的傲慢使然,我自以為已學會一切,自以為無所不知。喔,我錯了。

 

布魯斯的經紀人直視我的雙眼說:「等等,Jimmy,我要告訴你一些將違背所有你在這種情況下本能反應的事:『你不是主角』。」布魯斯的經紀人接著說:「我希望你明白什麼是所謂的『大局』。」我沒聽過什麼「大局」;在家裡,我就是「大局」。(笑聲)

 

布魯斯的經紀人繼續說:「此時此刻,重要的並非你的感受,Jimmy;重要的是布魯斯.史普林斯汀和他的專輯。這才是大局,不是你或任何人的感受。」老實說,我完全不明白Jon的意思。我想尖叫、我想爭辯、我想一走了之,但出於某個幾十年後仍令我百思不解的原因,我採取相反的作法;我沒有堅持維護我的自尊。相反地,我停頓了一會兒,聆聽這個或許確實比我懂更多的人說些什麼。因此我對Jon說:「你說的有道理。」因為我確實想瞭解其中含意,而這個建議聽起來就像亞里士多德的學說一樣難懂。我不知道亞里士多德是誰,但我喜歡這個名字。(笑聲)

 

Jon對我說:「我要你走進那個房間,告訴布魯斯:我支持你,我會盡力達成你的要求。」於是我這麼做了。

 

結果那個來自紐澤西的傢伙也無法找到正確鼓聲。我們設法找到盡可能接近布魯斯想要的聲音,繼續攜手打拼。六星期後,我不僅仍是布魯斯團隊的一員,他還將自己最棒的作品之一給我-《因為這一夜》,由我替佩蒂.史密斯製作。

 

這是我第一張以製片人身分走紅的唱片,從此開啟我的事業生涯。Jon的五字箴言-「你不是主角」,成了我生命中第一件關鍵性的禮物。從那時起,我開始學習如何將個人問題及對正確做法的執著置之度外,使自己專注於真正重要的東西-遠大的目標。

 

別擔心,我並沒有完全矯正過來。我仍然與不安、自我、驕傲等問題奮戰,尤其是天天擔心受怕。這些問題經常阻礙我釐清大局,但我學到的是,某些強烈的不安可轉變成人生最大的動力-最強的「五小時能量飲料」,稍微老套的說法就是「恐懼」。

 

我知道何謂恐懼。我曾經在90天內丟掉兩份工作,我感到人行道彷彿在我身後崩塌。但那種不安總是驅使我不斷向前邁進,而不是如逆風般阻止我前進。我開始學習如何將這些不安轉變成推動我前進的順風。

 

好,現在我們稍微快轉些,也許前進25、30年。我第二個關鍵性人生教訓來自1999年。當時我感覺自己就像「世界之王」:我創立世上最炙手可熱的唱片公司-Interscope Records,旗下傑出藝人包括德瑞博士、吐派克、不要懷疑合唱團、阿姆、黑眼豆豆;我們甚至剛簽下U2。我們勢如破竹,我們自認所向無敵、無人能比,除了-Napster(音樂分享網站)。(笑聲)

 

身為Interscope唱片公司創始人,一個建立在付費基礎上的音樂公司,我立刻嚇得要死;我與生俱來的不安全感再次湧現。我在布魯克林長大,父親是碼頭工人,因此我知道去商店付費購物和有機會免費獲得商品之間的區別。我感到這種偷竊行為真的會大為風行!(笑聲)

 

因此我拜訪英特爾公司創始人之一Les Valdez。不知何故,我認為我能和這個即將摧毀我事業的產業理論一番。有時恐懼驅使我們保護及捍衛我們自認已知的事物,但有時在人生過程中,你必須學習新的教訓。私下告訴各位,在我的經驗中,我遇過最聰明的人,是那些最能清楚表達自己不明白之事的人;這並非我和Les見面時的表現。我只是不斷試著告訴他我認為該怎麼做才對。

 

聽我說了20分鐘後,Les終於開口。他直視我的雙眼說:「哇,Jimmy,多棒的故事。但你知道嗎?並非每個行業都能永垂不朽。」這句話太深刻、太真實、太有見地、太具毀滅性,我幾乎當場決定退休。我走進Les的辦公室時,感覺自己就像貓王,接著有個聲音輕輕提醒我:貓王已死。

 

我認為在這個日新月異的世界,Les的教誨將日益重要。不妨思考一下:你所知道的一切或許已不合時宜。

 

當我走出Les的辦公室、不再冒冷汗時,我打電話給好友Doug Morris-環球音樂董事長,我當時的老闆。我說:「Doug,我們完了!」好吧,這或許並非當時確切的用詞,但是-嘿,我沮喪透頂。我說:「Doug,這些傢伙不要我們的領土;他們打算把我們的資源奪去灌溉他們的領土。」

 

當時我怕得要命;事實上,此時我也怕得要命-在現場所有人面前演講。但我希望你們都能適應自己的恐懼,因為恐懼是可為你所用的人生現實;因為當你學會駕馭恐懼的力量,它可帶領你前往意想不到的地方;因為好消息是-恐懼擁有強大的火力。

 

我一生當中曾與許多我心目中的英雄合作,或許有些也是你們的英雄。從約翰.藍儂、布魯斯、波諾、吐派克到阿姆;不妨告訴各位,我從未遇過任何傑出藝人不曾恐懼辜負大眾的期待;但所有傑出藝人都用恐懼激勵自己。

 

我想起約翰.藍儂藉由訴說自己的恐懼及對變化的信念所做的突破。在一首名為《藍領英雄》的歌曲中,約翰唱道:「當他們折磨恐嚇你二十多年後,讓你選擇一種職業;當你因滿懷恐懼而無法展現實力時,不妨做個藍領英雄。」約翰是能真正表達恐懼並征服恐懼的人。

 

2003年,音樂產業處於一個轉捩點;我們可以竭力捍衛過去、堅持相同做法,或者也可放眼未來。相信我,55歲改變方向比25歲困難多了,不妨問問你們的父母。那天,Les啟發我在不斷演進的音樂產業中繼續前進。舊模式正發生變化,於是我開始思考:也許有某種途徑,可藉由全新方式駕馭傳統音樂產業文化。那段期間,我有幸結識蘋果的史蒂夫.賈伯斯。我代表環球音樂處理iTunes相關業務,與史蒂夫和他的團隊互動三年後,我想我可以從這些傢伙身上學到很多東西。他們正開創新局,他們正改變遊戲規則,他們正贏得勝利。

 

我注意史蒂夫如何蒐集世上所有音樂和影片,製造一個美麗、閃亮、名為iPod的白色東西來播放它們。我們喜歡這個閃亮的白色小東西,我和好友德瑞博士唯一不喜歡的部分,就是閃亮白色iPod附帶的白色閃亮耳機,因為聽起來糟透了。音效並非蘋果關注的重點。

 

於是我們想,如果我們製造一個美麗、閃亮的黑色玩意兒,讓大家能舒適地聆聽史蒂夫iPod裡的聲音?因此我和好友德瑞博士著手打造了Beats耳機(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。過程並非如此容易,但你們明白我的意思。我領悟到,即使已50歲,我還是得再次成為初學者;這是我第一次說出如此充滿禪意的話。誰相信我和德瑞博士能賣硬體?沒有人。但我們相信自己,我們駕馭恐懼,並付諸行動。

 

今天,在座每個人都有絕佳理由相信自己。你們已獲得USC(南加大簡稱)學位,你們畢業於世上最棒的大學之一(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。記得你們成長過程中聽過的那些特權分子嗎?恭喜,你們現在已成為特權分子,因為你們知道何謂特權。意味著你們擁有優勢,無論背景如何、無論來自何方,現在你擁有不可否認的優勢-一流的教育。

 

但請記住一點-你的文憑不代表學習的終點,而是繼續學習的起點。持續學習-以謙虛而非傲慢的態度;傲慢令人厭惡。因為今天你手中拿著的文憑,其實只是往後人生中繼續學習的許可證。記住,你不必比其他人聰明,你只需要夠聰明,而且比其他人更願意努力。看看現場情形,就知道你們夠聰明了。

 

現在你們已聽過改變我人生的故事,到了該宣佈一件事的時候了,希望這將使南加大的生活更美好。今天在南加大校園閒逛,似乎每個人都是博士。這很有趣,因為我今天帶來一位夥伴,正好也是博士(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。因此,引用阿姆的說法:真正的德瑞博士請站起來,和我一起站在臺上(掌聲)。這就是我所說的壓軸好戲。(掌聲)

 

德瑞博士:耶!大聲點,特洛伊人(南加大學生暱稱)(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。耶!首先我要向Jimmy Iovine博士說聲恭喜。是的,我喜歡這個稱呼。我也要感謝現場所有傑出的USC人,使我們有機會在這所卓越的大學成立一所學院。我很興奮、也很自豪能成為特洛伊家族的一員(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。是的,我也想對南加大2013年畢業生說聲恭喜,祝好運!(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

Jimmy Iovine:在Beats,德瑞和我發現很難找到同時受過科技、藝術、創新三種教育的年輕人,因此我們與USC合作,創立一個全新的項目,名為「Jimmy Iovine與Andre Young科技、藝術及商業創新學院」。(掌聲)

 

2013年畢業生是成長於這個新世界的第一代,藝術與科技之間的差異正逐漸消失;這是好事。因此德瑞和我與這所卓越的學府合作創立一所新式學院,以因應這個現狀。我們希望盡一己之力,培養更多優秀學生,成就意想不到的偉大事業。我們期待的學校-夢工廠-能廣泛提供足以激發挑戰,及滿足下一代創新者好奇心的教育,並使他們擁有科技及人文素養,這就是我們計劃在USC做的事。(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

我想對學生說些話。最後-因為我相信人們能做出意想不到之事和創新之舉,我想嘗試一些不曾有人在畢業典禮上做過的事。我不打算引用莎士比亞或Robert Frost的作品,我打算以我最喜愛詩人的作品做結束-勞.凱利(歡呼聲)(掌聲);我最擅長的K歌就出自他的筆下。因此,讓今晚成為你們一切努力的回報,和往後繼續學習的「點火」儀式:

 

今天是你們的「點火」混音派對

 

你們是剛出爐的新鮮貨

 

全體學生齊聚一堂

 

每位畢業生都前程似錦

 

家長們,他們或許啜飲著可樂配蘭姆酒

 

他們或許甚至有點微醺

 

那又如何

 

這是他們的畢業典禮,寶貝

 

今晚他們要瘋狂一番!

 

祝你們有個愉快的週末、精彩的人生,尤其是今晚!

 

和平!(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

自由!(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

Music industry executive Jimmy Iovine delivered the commencement address at USC's 130th commencement on May 17, 2013.
 
About Jimmy Iovine
James "Jimmy" Iovine (born March 11, 1953) is an American music producer and entrepreneur, the co-Founder of Interscope Records and chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M.
 
About the transcript
To all the proud parents here today, just one year ago, I sat all the way in back, I mean the last row, watching my own daughter Jessica graduate from USC. Look, if they asked me to do this, you better pay attention because next year they could ask you.
To all of today’s graduates, I can’t imagine what’s going through your minds right now. I never had the opportunity to go to a great university like this. I didn’t get here today like you did — by studying hard and excelling in school. Yet here I stand before you at this amazing crossroads in your life. So the question of the hour is what can I teach you? How can I help you even in the slightest way to be ready for whatever comes next?
So I asked myself, how did I get here? After a lot of thought, I realized there have been two life lessons that changed everything about me. These were moments that shook me, scared me and humbled me. In the end, these moments are two big reasons I am here today. And since my education came in the music business, you may recognize some of the names and think, how can this guy’s stories possibly apply to me? Yet I truly believe these two experiences apply to absolutely anyone and anything you want to do in this journey called life.
Let’s start with something I learned when I was 23 — not much older than most of you guys. It’s been the subtext to whatever success I’ve had. I have tried to instill this lesson in everyone who works for me, and the ones who have learned it, are still working for me.
I started my career as a second recording engineer, which sounds fancy but the reality is that I answered phones, I cleaned the floors and I made tea and coffee. That may not sound impressive, but it allowed me to learn my business from the ground up and it’s the kind of entry-level job that anybody starting a career should be happy to take. And it got me in the same building with John Lennon who — after the 50th cup of tea I served him — felt my enthusiasm and willingness to learn and allowed me to sit in on his sessions.
From there, I got the opportunity to work with Bruce Springsteen to help him record an album called Born To Run. Born To Run became a landmark album. If you don’t know it, ask your parents. But to my mother and father and their friends, Born To Run wasn’t Bruce Springsteen’s album — it was Jimmy Iovine’s album. They thought it was all about me. And before long, I began to believe that too.
So I was thrilled when Bruce and his manager and producer Jon Landau asked me to engineer the follow-up that eventually became Darkness on The Edge of Town. Back in those days, the first thing you did when making an album was record the drums. The job of getting the right drum sound fell to the recording engineer — and that was me. We spent six weeks working around the clock trying to get the sound that Bruce had in his head. And no matter what we did, it just wasn’t coming.
You cannot imagine everything we tried. We put the drums in the hallway. We put the drums in the elevator. We put the drums in the bathroom. We did everything but put the drums underwater. All I can remember is Bruce constantly saying to me, “Jimmy, I hear the stick hitting the drum.” At a certain point, I looked at him, and said, “Bruce, it is a stick hitting a drum!” But he was the Boss and that didn’t satisfy him. We were stuck. The sound I was getting was CLUNK-CLUNK-CLUNK and the sound Bruce wanted was BOOM-BOOM-BOOM.
So eventually, Bruce suggested bringing in some other guy from New Jersey of all places who could help me get this elusive drum sound. And I thought, “Why do I need help? What am I, half as good as I was two years ago?” To me, it sounded like a massive vote of no confidence. After six weeks of putting a microphone everywhere you could possibly imagine, I felt humiliated. I felt embarrassed. To use a word I hear way too often from 20-year-olds who work at my company, I felt disrespected. I felt so disrespected I wanted to suggest one more place Bruce could put that microphone.
I went back to the hotel where we were all staying, and I told Jon Landau, ‘I quit, I’ve done nothing but support this guy, and now he’s embarrassing me.” Looking back, I was just a beginner in the record-making process, but in the arrogance of my Brooklyn youth, I felt as if I had already arrived — that I knew everything. Boy, was I wrong.
Bruce’s manager looked me STRAIGHT in the eye, and said, “Hang on, Jimmy, I’m going to tell you something that will go against every instinct you have about how to react in a situation like this: “THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU.”
Then Bruce’s manager said: “I want you to understand something called `The Big Picture.’ I’d never heard about this Big Picture. In my mother’s house, I was The Big Picture.”
Bruce’s manager continued, “And at a moment like this, it’s not about how you feel, Jimmy. It’s about Bruce Springsteen and his album. That’s the big picture — not your feelings, or anyone’s feelings.”
Inside, I had absolutely no idea what Jon meant. I wanted to scream. I wanted to argue. I wanted to walk. But for reasons I’m still thinking about three decades later, I did the opposite. I didn’t protect my ego. Instead, I paused for just a moment and listened to someone who might actually know better. So I told Jon, “You got it” because I did want to learn and this advice sounded like Aristotle to me. I had no idea who Aristotle was, but I liked the sound of his name. Jon told me, ‘I want you to walk in that room and tell Bruce Springsteen “I am here to support you. I will do whatever you need me to do.”’
So that’s what I did.
Turned out, the other guy from Jersey couldn’t get the drums right either. Somehow we got closer to the sound Bruce wanted and we moved on together. Six weeks later, not only was I still on Bruce’s team, but he also gave me one of the greatest songs he ever wrote called “Because The Night” that I produced for Patti Smith. That was my first hit record as a producer and launched my career. Listening to Jon’s five words — “This Is Not About You” — became the tipping point for every gift that’s followed in my life.
At that moment, I began to learn how to push aside my own personal issues and my desperate need to be right so I could focus on what was truly important — the greater good. Don’t worry, I wasn’t cured — I still battle with these issues of insecurity, ego, pride, and especially fear every day. Too often those issues get in the way of me seeing The Big Picture. But what I have learned is some of these powerful insecurities can be harnessed into life’s greatest motivator, the strongest 5-hour energy drink ever. It’s called a little old fashioned fear.
I know about fear. I was once fired from two jobs within 90 days. I felt as if the sidewalk was collapsing behind me, but that insecure feeling always kept me moving forward. Rather than stop me in my tracks like a headwind, I began to learn how to make those same insecurities the tailwinds to propel me forward.
Okay, now let’s fast-forward a little bit . . . maybe 30 years.
My second pivotal life lesson came in 1999, and now I was feeling like the King Of The World. I had built the hottest record company in the world, Interscope Records, the home of great artists like Dr. Dre, No Doubt, Eminem, The Black Eyed Peas and we had just signed U2. We were on a roll. We felt invincible. Nothing could touch us.
Except . . . Napster.
As a founder of Interscope Records, a company built on people paying for music, I was instantly scared to death. My God-given insecurities kicked in again. See I grew up in Brooklyn, so I knew the difference between going to a store and paying for something, and the opportunity to get it for free. I felt this stealing thing could really catch on.
So I went to see one of founding guys at Intel named Les Valdez. Somehow I thought I could reason with the industry that was about to destroy mine.
Fear, at times, makes us protect and defend what we think we already know. But sometimes in life, you need to learn a new lesson. And between you and me, in my experience, the most intelligent people that I meet are the ones who can best articulate what they don’t know. That’s not what I did with Les that day. I just kept trying to tell him how I thought things should be.
After listening to me for 20 minutes, Les finally spoke. He looked me in the eye, and said, “Wow, Jimmy, what a nice story. But you know what? Not every industry was made to last forever.” That statement was so profound and so true and so insightful and — to me — so devastating, I nearly retired right there and then. I walked into Les’ office thinking I was Elvis, and I was gently reminded Elvis was dead.
The lesson Les taught me is one I believe is increasingly important to learn in the fast-changing world we live in today. Think about this: EVERYTHING YOU KNOW COULD ALREADY BE WRONG.
When I got outside Les’s office and stopped sweating, I called my buddy Doug Morris, the Chairman of Universal Music and my boss at the time. I said, “Doug, we’re screwed.” Okay, I might not have used that exact word — but hey, I was upset. I said, “Doug, these guys don’t want our land. They want our water to take back to their land.”
At that moment, I was scared to death. In fact, at this moment, I am scared to death speaking in front of all you people. But I want you all to get comfortable with your fears because fear is a fact of life that you can use to your advantage. Because when you learn to harness the power of your fears, it can take you places beyond your wildest dreams. Because here’s the good news; fear has a lot of firepower.
I’ve spent my life working with many of my heroes and maybe some of yours too. From John Lennon and Bruce to Bono, Eminem. And let me tell you, I never met a great artist who wasn’t afraid of not living up to people’s expectations. But all of the greats used their fear to inspire them. I think today of the way John Lennon broke ground by speaking of his fears and his belief in change in a song called “Working Class Hero.”
As John sang,
When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
John was a guy who could really express his fears and conquer them.
In the music business back in 2003, we were standing at a crossroads. We could desperately defend the past and keep digging the same hole, or we could open our eyes to the future. Trust me, it’s a lot harder to change directions at 55 than at 25 — and I think your parents will vouch for me.   Les inspired me that day to go find my way in a music business that was evolving. The old model was changing. So I began to think that maybe there was some way to harness the culture of the old music industry in a whole new way.
Around that time, I was lucky enough to get to know Steve Jobs from Apple. I was representing Universal Music dealing with iTunes. After three years of hanging around Steve and the team at Apple, I thought I could learn a lot from these guys. They were breaking new ground. They were changing the game. And they were winning.
I noticed how Steve took all the music and videos from the world and built a beautiful shiny white thing called the iPod to play them on. We loved this shiny little white thing. The only part my friend Dr. Dre and I didn’t like were the shiny white ear buds that came with the shiny white iPod because they sounded terrible, sound wasn’t Apple’s focus. So we thought what if we make a beautiful shiny black thing so you can properly hear what’s in Steve’s shiny little white thing? So with my friend, Dr. Dre, there we had the beginning of Beats. It wasn’t that simple, but you get the idea.
I learned even at 50, I had to be a beginner again — and that’s as Zen-like a statement as you’ll ever hear from me. So who believed that Dr. Dre and I could sell hardware? No one. But we believed in ourselves. We harnessed our fear into power and turned it into action.
Today each one of you have an excellent reason to believe in yourselves. You’ve earned a degree from USC. You are graduating from one of the greatest universities in the world. Remember when you grew up hearing about people that are privileged? Congratulations you are now officially privileged. Because you know what privileged means — it means you have an edge. And whatever your background, wherever you come from, you now have the undeniable edge of a first-class education.
But please remember this — your diploma does not represent the end of your education, but the beginning of your continuing education. Continue to listen and learn, with humility not hubris. Because that diploma you hold in your hands today is really just your learner’s permit for the rest of the drive through life. Remember, you don’t have to be smarter than the next person, all you have to do is be willing to work harder than the next person.
So now, that you’ve heard the stories that changed my life, it’s time for an announcement we hope will change some lives for the better in the future here at USC. Walking around USC today, it seems everyone’s a doctor. Which is funny because I brought my partner today who also happens to be a doctor. So in the words of Slim Shady, will the real Dr. Dre please stand up and join me onstage?
DRE
USC! Great to be back in my hood — up to some good. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2013!
JIMMY
At Beats, Dre and I have found it really difficult to find kids with an education that encompasses technology, the arts and innovation. So with USC, we’re creating a brand new program right here. It’s called the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy of Art, Technology & the Business of Innovation.
The Class of 2013 is among the first in history to have grown up in our new world where the distinctions between the arts and technology are disappearing So Dre and I are teaming with this great institution to create a new kind of Academy to address this reality. We want to do our part to prepare more brilliant students to do great and unexpected things.
What we need are schools — dream factories — that are broad enough to inspire, challenge and satisfy the curiosity of the next wave of game-changers that have a feel for technology and the liberal arts. That’s what we plan to do right here at USC.
In closing, because I believe in people doing the unexpected and being innovative, I would like to try something that’s never been done at a major graduation ceremony. Rather than quote William Shakespeare or Robert Frost, I close with the words of my favorite poet, R. Kelly, who penned my personal Karaoke anthem. So let tonight be the reward for all of your hard work, and the “Ignition” to a continuing education of the rest of your lives:
Today is your remix to ignition
You’re hot and fresh out the kitchen
You got the entire student body here
You got every graduate here wishin
Parents they might be sippin on coke and rum
And they might even get a little drunk
So what, it’s their USC graduation baby
And tonight they’re gonna have some fun!
JIMMY
So have a fun weekend and a great life and especially a great night!
DR. DRE
Peace! We out.

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