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Speech given by Steve Jobs - C E O, Apple

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Speech given by Steve Jobs - C E O, Apple - April 21st, 2006

Steve Jobs, C E O, Apple

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

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

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 5ยข 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, it's 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 you 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.

t 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 it's 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 hitch-hiking
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.

Steve Jobs.
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Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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