Steve Jobs – Stay Hungry & Stay Foolish, Stanford 2005 Revisited

It goes without saying that Steve Jobs is one of the most influential people in the world, and has been for some time. When I heard a successful investor talking on the radio about getting inspiration from a commencement address that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford a while back, I had to check it out…

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs – Commencement Address at Stanford, 2005

I don’t know much about Steve Jobs except that his comapny makes really cool stuff, his health is an issue, he’s (at the time of this writing) the largest shareholder of Disney stock, and he started Pixar Animation Studios.

If you have about fifteen minutes to watch the whole address, (it’s worth the time) click on the link below. If you don’t have time, or don’t want to watch it, I’ll give you some of the  highlights,  although it won’t be as good as watching the actual speech.

Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address


Steve Jobs, a Microphone, Three Stories, and a Smart Audience

It wasn’t the greatest speech ever, it wasn’t emotionally charged so everyone would get all worked up, and it wasn’t all that funny. But it was authentic, it was real, and it gave some insight into a very creative and successful person. When addressing the audience at the Stanford commencement in 2005, Steve Jobs told three stories.

1. In the first story, Steve Jobs talked about how he was adopted, and never graduated from college. He dropped out of college after about six months because he realized that it was taking all the money that his parents had saved their whole lives, and he just didn’t see the value in it. He dropped out of the classes he was “supposed” to take, and dropped in to the classes he wanted to take. It was during this time that he took a calligraphy class and learned all about fonts, serifs, san serifs, spacing, etc. Ten years later, he was able to use what he learned about fonts, and put that knowledge to use while working on the first Macintosh.  A great line in this part of the speech goes something like this: You can’t connect the dots of your life looking forward, you can only connect the dots looking backwards. You’ve got to believe the dots will connect down the road.  It’s better if you watch the video.

2. The second story in the speech dealt with love and loss. Steve Jobs had gotten fired from the company he started! He said that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened. He then started a company called neXT, and a company called Pixar. Apple bought neXT, and look who was back at Apple. A great part about this part of the speech is the comments he made about “You’ve got to find what you love”. Love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. You’ll know when you find it.

3. In the third and final part of the speech, Steve jobs spoke about death. He said “No one wants to die, and yet it’s a destination we all share.” He mentioned that for many years, every morning he looks in the mirror and says something like “If this were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If he gets to many days in a row were the answer is no, it’s time for him to change something.

He also said something that goes like this…You’re time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped  by living with other people’s thinking, don’t let the noise of the opinions of others drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and your own intuition – They somehow know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

 Steve Jobs – Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

As Steve Jobs wrapped up is speech, he talked about the Whole Earth Catalog from the 1970’s, and how on its final issue, there was a saying on the back cover. “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” Jobs said that he always wished that for himself, and that he also wished it for the graduating students in the audience. “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”

I like the part about finding what you love, love what you do, and if you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. That’s good stuff. I wrote a post a while back about knowing yourself and finding out who you really are, if you are interested in that journey, go here. 

To Steve Jobs – Stay Hungry, Stay Healthy

10-05-2011  Your time on this earth was too short, but it was not wasted. Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs.

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