Today, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke to the MIT graduating Class of 2018. In her speech, she spoke about uncertainty and unpredictability — including her own path to business success as well as the recent challenges that Facebook has faced.
She began her speech reflecting on her own time in college and recalled feeling anxious about the uncertainty ahead. "Certainty is one of the great privileges of youth," she said. "Things won't always end up as you think but you will gain such valuable lessons along life's uncertain path."
Indeed, the past year has been an uncertain time for Sandberg and Facebook. A few of her biggest challenges ahead include addressing concerns of privacy, democracy and freedom of speech.
"Like the generation before us, we have to solve the problems that our technology brings," she said to the crowd of students, family and faculty. "I believe there are three ways we can deal with these challenges: We can retreat in fear, we can barrel ahead with a single-minded belief in our technology or we can fight like hell to do all the good we can knowing what we build will be used by people, and people are capable of great beauty and great cruelty."
Sandberg urged students to choose the third option, calling it the choice of "clear-eyed optimists."