Sorry I missed you in China.
I was officiating my business partner's wedding in ZhengZhou. I hope you enjoyed your trip. By the sounds of it, the Chinese students at Tsinghua University certainly did!
My friend Sam Hamadeh, Founder and CEO at PrivCo, was once quoted saying that many felt you were "in over your hoodie as the CEO of a multibillion-dollar public company." I believe you are here as well.
Your attempt to speak Mandarin was charming. However, your tones were off, the pronunciation garbled, and the sound of your voice? It would be kind to say ear piercing. In a word, your Mandarin was terrible.
Mark, thank you. You're an inspiration.
You're an amazing example to so many Americans who believe Chinese is too difficult to learn. You weren't perfect. But you were good enough to be understood. You connected with well over a billion Chinese language speakers. You also connected with everyone who has ever attempted to learn.
You may not be a language expert but you grasp the importance of language. You took the time to learn one of the most difficult languages in the world. You did that while running one of the world's largest companies. On top of that, you had the bravery to speak Chinese for the first time on an international stage. Impressive.
You've done America a great service. You've shown the millennial generation two things. First, that when you make it even in as massive a fashion as you have, that you should continue to improve yourself. Second, and as important, you've shown them that it is possible to learn Mandarin. By extension, you've proven to them that it is possible to learn any language.
Now I ask you to get in over your hoodie.
Use Facebook, use your publicity, and the international stage to promote language learning. Currently only 18 percent of Americans speak a second language other than English. I've been on a 4-year mission to improve that. I need your help.
I'm reaching out to you today as a fellow Mandarin speaker. I'm reaching out as someone who knows what it's like to struggle to learn a foreign language. I'm reaching out as someone who knows that the benefits of speaking a second language far outweigh the hours spent toiling away. I am reaching out for help 请帮我一个忙！
Help me make the "Ignorant American" the "American Polyglot!"