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The Greatest Speeches in History: Alexis Ohanian and His Address at Carthage College

The Greatest Speeches in History is a weekly column that compiles the most memorable speeches in history with the goal to emphasize on the power of public speaking, to illustrate its importance, impact, and necessity to master.

This week we focus on Alexis Ohanian’s “Failure is an option” address to the Carthage College Class of 2014. Alexis Ohanian is the famous co-founder of social news website Reddit and a co-founder of the early stage venture capital firm Initialized Capital.

Here are the most important outtakes:

“It’s O.K. to not really know what you’re doing, and just trust your gut. Make the best judgment you can. There’s not going to be a syllabus assigned to you. It’s going to be using whatever knowledge you’ve gained, whatever resources you have, to just figure it out, to just hack it. I mean, most of the time, I still don’t know what I’m doing.”

“That’s not to say you won’t find your way. You are going to figure it out, and failure is going to be part of the process. You’re all here because you’re good at not failing, right? This is the culmination of doing a great job at not failing. However, There are no G.P.A.s after this. There’s going to be lots of setbacks. There’s going to be lots of failures […] But that’s O.K. Failure is an option.”

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