[Offtopic] Steve Jobs at Stanford (Rupert is on leave) (Rupert is on leave until 24/7)

Rupert Russell r.russell at ballarat.edu.au
Sun Jul 3 17:02:23 EST 2005

I am on leave until July 24, 2005



>>> offtopic 07/03/05 17:01 >>>

I am on leave until July 24, 2005.



>>> offtopic 07/03/05 16:57 >>>

Here is a nice cross post from the QSITE-LAN. It is a fascinating life
if anybody is anybody is interested in a holiday read. Apologies but I
cannot seem to find the source.

Regards Roland

------------------------- ><8 snip snip -----------

Stanford Report, June 14, 2005

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

This is the prepared text of the address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple  
Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, who spoke at Commencement on  
June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of  
the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college.  
Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college  
graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life.  
That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

        The first story is about connecting the dots.

        I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but  
then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I  
really quit.

So why did I drop out?

       It started before I was born. My biological mother was a  
young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up  
for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by  
college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at  
birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they  
decided at the last minute that  they really wanted a girl. So my  
parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the  
night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They  
said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out  that my  
mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never  
graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption  

She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I  
would someday go to college.

        And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a  
college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my  
working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college  
tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no  
idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was  
going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the  
money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop  
out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at  
the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever  
made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required  
classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones  
that looked interesting.

        It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept  
on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5  
cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across  
town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare  
Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by  
following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later  
on. Let me give you one example:

        Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best  
calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every  
poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand  
calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the  
normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to  
do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying  
the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what  
makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical,  
artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found  
it fascinating.

        None of this had even a hope of any practical application in  
my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first  
Macintosh computer, it  all came back to me. And we designed it all  
into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If  
I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac  
would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced  
fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no  
personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I  
would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal  
computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of  
course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I  
was in college.

But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

        Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can  
only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the  
dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in  
something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach  
has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

        My second story is about love and loss.

        I was lucky I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and  
I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard,  
and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage  
into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just  
released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I  
had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from  
a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I  
thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the  
first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future  
began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did,  
our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very  
publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was  
gone, and it was devastating.

        I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that  
I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had  
dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David  
Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so  
badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running  
away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me I  
still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed  
that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I  
decided to start over.

        I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired  
from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.  
The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of  
being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to  
enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

        During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT,  
another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman  
who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first  
computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most  
successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of  
events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we  
developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And  
Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

        I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't  
been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the  
patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.  
Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me  
going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love.  
And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work  
is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be  
truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only  
way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it  
yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart,  
you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it  
just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking  
until you find it. Don't settle.

        My third story is about death.

        When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If  
you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most  
certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for  
the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and  
asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to  
do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been  
"No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

        Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool  
I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  
Because almost everything all external expectations, all pride, all  
fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the  
face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that  
your are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of  
thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is  
no reason not to follow your heart.

        About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at  
7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I  
didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was  
almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I  
should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor  
advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's  
code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything  
you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few  
months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it  
will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your  

        I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had  
a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my  
stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got  
a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was  
there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the  
doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form  
of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery  
and I'm fine now.

        This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope  
its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through  
it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when  
death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

        No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven  
don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we  
all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be,  
because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is  
Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.  
Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will  
gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so  
dramatic, but it is quite true.

        Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's  
life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of  
other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions  
drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage  
to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what  
you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

        When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The  
Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It  
was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in  
Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was  
in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing,  
so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras.  
It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google  
came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and  
great notions.

        Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole  
Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a  
final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back  
cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning  
country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you  
were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay  
Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay  
Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And  
now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

        Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

        Thank you all very much.
------------------------- ><8 snip snip -----------

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