One of the most powerful CEOs in the world, Google’s Sundar Pichai might be living his dream now, but he had his own share of struggles before making it to the top. Speaking at YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020 virtual ceremony on Monday, Pichai talked about his humble beginnings and revealed how his father spent his one-year salary on his flight ticket to the US so that he could pursue his studies at Stanford University. Also Read - Google Play Store Pulls Down India's Mitron App After Pakistani Software Developer Company Claimed to be Its Original Owner
He said, “My father spent the equivalent of a year’s salary on my plane ticket to the US so I could attend Stanford. It was my first time ever on a plane. America was expensive. A phone call back home was more than $2 a minute, and a backpack cost the same as my dad’s monthly salary in India.”
“The only thing that got me from here to there other than luck was a deep passion for technology, and an open mind,” he added.
Pichai further drew a comparison between how he grew up without much access to technology but the children today have access to ‘computers of all shapes and sizes’.
“I grew up without much access to technology. We didn’t get our first telephone till I was ten. I didn’t have regular access to a computer until I came to America for graduate school. And, our television, when we finally got one, only had one channel,” said the Google CEO.
Urging students to not lose hope amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said, “Be open, be impatient, be hopeful. If you can do that, history will remember the Class of 2020 not for what you lost, but for what you changed. You have the chance to change everything. I am optimistic you will.”
The virtual ceremony also saw participation from former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, Korean pop group BTS, singers Beyonce and Lady Gaga, and activist Malala Yousafzai.
Here is the full video:
(With PTI inputs)