Weili Dai, co-founder of fabless chip vendor Marvell Technology Group Ltd., urged new graduates of the University of California-Berkeley's engineering school to follow their passion during a commencement address delivered last month.
Weili, who graduated from UC-Berkeley before going on to found Marvell along with her husband, Sehat Sutardja, recounted her inspiring story—she moved to the U.S. from Shanghai speaking almost no English before attending UC-Berkeley. She delivered a message of hope, urging the newly minted grads to believe in themselves and told tales of Marvell, from its humble beginnings to its present status as one of the world's largest fabless chip vendors.
Dai also told the graduates that the days of engineers working on discrete problems and stand-alone systems are gone for good. "Today, we work in a world of connecting every aspect of the digital lifestyle—whether at home, at work, or on the go, always-on devices, delivering interdependent products and services."
Weili Dai speaks at the UC-Berkeley school of engineering commencement on May 12.
Another message Dai delivered—arguably the most fundamental of her commencement address—is that graduates must follow their passions in order to succeed.
"Most of the time—at best—I find that people follow their enthusiasm—until they run out."
Dai said Marvell was founded on enthusiasm—the romance of starting a company. But that faded pretty quickly, she said, and only the passion to make a difference drove Marvell to succeed.
"To me, following your passion means a willingness to give everything you have every day," Dai said. "Anything you aren't truly committed to—night and day—is not really your passion, so don't do it."
A news report from NBC Bay Area including a snippet of the speech can be seen below.