[Offtopic] Steve Jobs at Stanford

Mark Scott msc at staff.luther.vic.edu.au
Sun Jul 3 20:59:19 EST 2005

I agree.

Life can be great if you do who you love, and love who you are doing.

or should that be whom?

Mark Scott

-----Original Message-----
From: offtopic-bounces at edulists.com.au on behalf of Keith Richardson
Sent: Sun 7/3/2005 6:02 PM
To: Information Technology Teachers' Offtopic Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Offtopic] Steve Jobs at Stanford
Thank you Roland for one of the most reassuring stories I have read for
a long time.
Friends ask me "You are 60, why don't you retire?" I reply "I am having
too much fun thank you." And it is true. I once spent so much time
hating what I was doing (it didn't start that way, it just sort of crept
up on me) that when I experienced a Steve Jobs job closure, I thought
the world had ended. But now - wow!!!
Life can be great if you do what you love, and love what you are doing.
I do (most of the time!).
Thanks again Roland.
Ciao, Keith

On Sun, 3 Jul 2005 16:57:26 +1000, "Roland Gesthuizen"
<rge at westallsc.vic.edu.au> said:
> Here is a nice cross post from the QSITE-LAN. It is a fascinating life
> story
> 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  
> papers.
> 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  
> goodbyes.
>         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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Keith Richardson
Leibler Yavneh College
Elsternwick Ph (03)9528 4911
keithcr at fastmail.fm

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