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Here’s the life advice YouTuber Mark Rober gave to MIT’s 2023 graduates




“Try to remember, if someone cuts you off on the freeway, maybe they’re not out to get you. Maybe they just have diarrhea.”

MIT guest speaker Mark Rober, founder of the CrunchLabs YouTube channel, brings out a drone fitted with his commencement cap as he ends his commencement speech. Barry Chin/The Boston Globe

YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober gave MIT’s Class of 2023 three bits of life advice in a humor-filled commencement speech Thursday.

Rober is known for his MythBusters-inspired YouTube channel and recent spinoff CrunchLabs, which focuses on popular science and make-it-yourself gadgets for kids. He is not a graduate of MIT himself, but spent nine years working in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including on the Mars Curiosity rover.

The YouTube star kept his 20-minute speech fun and optimistic, even punctuating his main points by having the university play music he often uses in his videos.

“I’m Mark Rober, a former Apple and NASA mechanical engineer who became a YouTuber. And yes, I know to some of you it sounds like I just said I quit the NBA to work at Foot Locker, or traded a Picasso for an NFT of a stoned monkey. But I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he began.


The YouTube star then promised the graduates a place in a video he plans to make 30 years from now about the commencement speech if they succeed in changing the world in a positive way.

And to help them achieve that, Rober said, he would give them three pieces of advice. The first was to “embrace naïve optimism.”

“Think back on the first week at MIT. How naïve you were about the number of all-nighters and cans of Red Bull that would be required to be sitting where you are right now,” he said. “…If you truly understood what would be required, that discouragement might have prevented you from even starting it. Sometimes it’s an advantage not to be the expert.”

Rober’s second piece of advice was to “frame your failures” in a positive light as something to learn from. He compared this idea to playing video games and not giving up when you lose, but instead figuring out how to beat the level.

“If you want to cross the river of life, you’re gonna get wet. You’re gonna have to backtrack. And that’s not a bug, that’s a feature,” he said. “Frame those failures and slips like a video game, and not only will you learn more and do it faster, but it will make all the successful jumps along the way that much sweeter.”

The YouTube star’s third piece of advice was to put effort into fostering relationships with friends, family, and coworkers, and to assume the best of people.

“Try to remember, if someone cuts you off on the freeway, maybe they’re not out to get you. Maybe they just have diarrhea,” he said.


Rober made a point of having a memorable exit, adding a fourth piece of advice — to “engage in occasional playful anarchy.” He showcased this concept by having a drone fly his graduation cap up instead of simply throwing it.

You can watch the full speech below.

Source: Boston Globe

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