Day 62/365: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Day 62/365: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

March 3, 2011

This is the most read inaugural speech in the history by now. Being the most influential person in the world of technology.

Let this speech inspires everyone and continue dreaming!

Standford University

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.

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¢ 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 returned 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 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. 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 others’ 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.

Day 62/365

Day 50/365: IPad Tips and Tricks

Day 50/365: IPad Tips and Tricks

February 19, 2011

This is a very cool gadget. A nice to have electronic device from Apple.

Here are some Tips and Tricks from Gizmodos on how you can maximize the usage of IPad.

The Soft Reset

The single most common thing people don’t realize about the iPhone OS (from my experience) is how to perform a soft reset—which you’ll find extremely useful in cases when the system freezes.Just hold the top (power) and bottom front (home) button for a few seconds. Your iPad will restart. To force quit an application, just hold the home button by itself in a similar fashion.

Day 50/365

Cut, Copy and Paste for Experts

Copying text is as easy as double tapping a word. But when you want to copy a whole paragraph, like for an address, you have to stretch those annoying little blue knobs…or do you?
Tap any editable text four times. You’ll highlight the whole paragraph.

Import Your Own (Free) Books

Apple’s iBooks app is your portal to reading and buying eBooks on the iPad—and it includes a section with a few free books. But don’t forget, just like iTunes and the iPod can import and play music downloaded elsewhere, the iTunes and the iPad can import and display books downloaded elsewhere. Formats are limited, however. The iPad only supports ePub (with or without DRM). Your local library may be a great source for free ePub checkouts. Also, Project Gutenberg has 30,000 free ePub books you can download, all of which have fallen out of copyright. There’s lots of good stuff in this collection if you read classics, and the project even has an RSS list for new arrivals. If you want to convert PDFs and other DRM-free formats to ePub, you can use Calibre.

Easy Mute

There you are, in the back row of a funeral just minding your own business when, oops, you forgot to mute those YouTube clips on your iPad! No worries. There’s a quick way to cut the speaker. Holding down the volume down button for about two seconds will mute your iPad.

Never Buy a Digital Photo Frame Again

You probably know by now that the iPad doubles as a digital picture frame. You can access this function a few ways, but the easiest way? When you wake the iPad, look to the right of Slide to Unlock. You’ll see a flower. Click it. The slideshow will begin after a moment. Toggle the speed in Settings—oh, and while you’re at it, turn off “zoom in on faces”—it tends to just grain/muck up your photos.

Take Giant Screenshots

Another oldie but goody that many that many people don’t realize you can do in the iPhone OS: screenshot anything you’re looking at. And keep in mind, when this happens on the iPad, it’s at 768×1024 resolution—making it potentially a lot more useful in the full-sized monitor realm than iPhone screenshots.
Push the top (power) and home buttons at once for half a second. The photo will be stored in your photo library.

Super Fast Webpage Scrolling

So you’re all the way to the bottom of a blog when you realize that you want to read a story back at the top. Don’t do the whole repeatedly drag your finger across the screen thing. That’s a horrible method for covering a lot of real estate. Instead: Tap the title bar once. WOOOOSSHHH. You’re right back on top of the page. (Making “wooosh” noises doesn’t expedite the process, but it does wonders for general effect.)

Preview More Of Your Mail

Did you know that you can set your mail to preview more than two lines? The iPhone has this option, too, but its smaller screen means that it’s not so practical. On the iPad, however, I find the feature is pretty handy for skimming several emails without opening them.

Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts and Calendars and select “5 lines” under Preview. Also, while you’re at it, you might want to update your Push email from “Manual” if you like to have your messages waiting when you open the Mail app. Of course, this will drain power a bit more quickly.

Bring Up the Virtual Keyboard With a Real Keyboard

When you have a Bluetooth keyboard connected to your iPad, the virtual keyboard will cease to appear. (This is a good thing.) However, what if, for some random reason, you needed that virtual keyboard? Don’t unpair your Bluetooth. Just…

Hit the eject key on Apple’s physical keyboard. It’ll bring up the virtual one.
Downrez 1080P HD Videos…Or You Can’t Watch Them

You may have 1080P videos on your computer, but the iPad can’t play them—in fact, iTunes won’t even let you copy them to the iPad! The easiest solution? Downrez them to 720P using an app like Handbrake.

BONUS: Put 6 Apps In the Bottom Tray
The iPhone and iPad default to hold 4 icons/apps in the bottom tray. But the iPad can store more!

By clicking and holding on any icon (just as you do to rearrange apps), you’ll unlock each app’s position. Then just drag any two additional apps into the bottom tray. Super handy.

There’s so much to write about IPad and its available application for Business, Professionals, Bloggers, Students and even kids. It is a wonderful invention that will take your digital experience on the next level.