Publisher, Entrepreneur, Founder of O’Reilly Media, Inc
This great commencement address was given by Tim O'Reilly in2006 at theUC Berkeley School of Information(often called SIMS,for its old name, the School of Information Management andSystems).
Thank you very much for having me here to speak to you. I know that this isan important day in your lives, and I’m honored to be the one chosen to give you advice as you begin the next stage of your careers. I hope that you willfind that advice useful.
I hope also that I am able to make my comments meaningful to those who helped get you here -- the spouses, parents, grandparents, and other family members who are so proud of you today. We work in a profession that can be mysteriousto the layman, with a private language that sets us apart like one of the secret societies depicted in The Da Vinci Code! I still remember my first exposure tothe computer industry as a humanities graduate. I was an experienced writer, but knew nothing about technology. I'd agreed to help a friend of mine, a programmer, to land a contract job writing a manual. We interviewed twoengineers about their project while I took increasingly desperate notes. It was asif they were speaking a foreign language! As we walked away, I turned to my friend and asked "Were they just pulling my leg?" It was hard to believe that this jargon-filled dialog was actually meaningful. It was an inauspicious start to my career.