Peter Kafka

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Google Co-Founder Larry Page’s Advice to the Class of 2009: “Be More Lazy!”

It’s back-to-school time for Google’s executive team, which is fanning out across college campuses to impart words of wisdom to the classes of 2009. Via Google’s YouTube, here are clips of co-founder Larry Page, CEO Eric Schmidt (twice!) and search boss Marissa Mayer.

Page at the University of Michigan, May 2:

Schmidt at Carnegie Mellon University, May 17:

Schmidt at the University of Pennsylvania, May 18:

Mayer at the Illinois Institute of Technology, May 18:

In case you don’t have time to slug through this stuff–perhaps because you have a job–Google (GOOG) has helpfully provided a transcript of Page’s talk, which is pretty good. My favorite excerpt:

As a Ph.D. student, I actually had three projects I wanted to work on. Thank goodness my advisor said, “why don’t you work on the web for a while”. He gave me some seriously good advice because the web was really growing with people and activity, even in 1995! Technology and especially the internet can really help you be lazy. Lazy? What I mean is a group of three people can write software that millions can use and enjoy. Can three people answer the phone a million times a day? Find the leverage in the world, so you can be more lazy!

And if you’re really pressed for time, here’s the ultimate post-college advice in 57 seconds, via “The Graduate”:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik