Dropbox founder and CEO Drew Houston recently gave the commencement speech at MIT, where he shared what’s on his personal cheat sheet.
You can read his full commencement address on MIT’s website here.
Houston, who was involved with numerous startups before creating online backup and storage platform Dropbox, discussed giving himself an MBA’s education at his Phi Delta Theta fraternity house through books purchased on Amazon, in an effort to prepare himself for a future of quick success.
But things didn’t immediately pan out that way.
Frustrated, Houston talked about “taking a little break,” where he gave in to some distractions, such as designing a poker bot program to participate in online poker games.
“What scares me the most is that both the poker bot and Dropbox started out as distractions,” Houston said. “That little voice in my head was telling me where to go, and the whole time I was telling it to shut up so I could get back to work. Sometimes that little voice knows best.”
Houston went on to speak to the importance of the company you keep — referring to an old saying he had heard that you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.
With a general focus on the methodology “stop preparing and start,” Houston touched on how failure is no longer important, and that “You only have to be right once.”
He finished his commencement urging students to understand that the clock was ticking.
“Instead of trying to make your life perfect,” said Houston, “Give yourself the freedom to make it an adventure, and go ever upward.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.