Amazon CEO David Clark this past weekend gave the keynote speech at the spring commencement for his alma mater, Auburn University.
During the speech, he challenged graduates to consider taking chances and not to fear failure. He used his own experiences to highlight “nonlinear” paths to a career and provide necessary life principles.
Commenting on his reflective view of his career he told the more than 4,600 graduates that taking chances didn’t mean failure.
“Trust me, you’ll live to tell the tale, and you might even see some very nonlinear results of your own,” he emphasized.
Clark gave additional career and life advice which included advice on how to approach work and relationships both in the professional and personal realms.
Reflecting on the Auburn Creed, he invoked, “It comes down to a commitment to ‘work, hard work,’ delivering on your promises and a commitment to service to others. That’s really the main ingredient in the secret sauce.”
He encouraged the graduates to surround themselves with people who are brilliant and challenge them.
This, in his opinion, included life partners.
He advised, “Make sure your life partner is someone who challenges you and will always tell you the truth, no matter how much it hurts. They’ll make you better like no one else will.”
He credited his wife for filling this role in their relationship.
Clark shared how surrounding yourself with smart, driven people is invigorating, adding that it made problem-solving more fun.
He shared anecdotes with the graduates of his time at Auburn and congratulated them on persevering through challenging times during their time at the university, particularly dealing with the pandemic and the challenges it presented.