Steve Jobs wise and audacious parting words pronounced in a commencement speech to the Stanford class of 2005 will forever resonate in our hearts and minds (to listen to the speech again go to a previous post: Steve’s Speech). This speech is now considered by some as the Gettysburg address of commencement speeches. The man considered as California’s modern Thomas Edison…the great visionary…and its Henry Ford…the greatest CEO of all time… is no longer with us.He said in the same speech that when you wake up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror—if you’re not excited about that day, you need to change what you’re doing. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just a year before and he realized more than anything that death is a great motivator and consequently we all need to take full advantage of our time because our time is limited.
With his keen eye for design, he excited us over and over again with his wonderful products that he spent hours perfecting. He was the icon of Silicon Valley proving every day that its future was limitless. He inspired technology like no one before him. His passing will leave an empty space that will be hard to fill…
Condolences and praise are flowing into the valley…from every corner of the earth…from the International Space Station, from Antarctica, and from Cupertino, California his hometown. Since the announcement of his passing, there have been 10,000 messages per second on Twitter and thousands of articles and tributes written on news and Hi-Tech sites throughout the internet.
I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today. Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email email@example.com.
No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.
Jobs’ sense of humanity and his intuition that Apple should be building products for real people…not for investors, engineers, or for business people like himself made him into a High Tech rock star. And when he presented his products with his trademark black pullover and jeans, he communicated his passion and excitement in such a simple and direct way that he made people believe they had an invisible relationship with him. He was a master of the art of giving presentations and communication specialists studied his techniques so that they could share them with other professionals.
He became a part of us because he had understood what we wanted even before we ourselves did. As a native Californian, we all marveled at his technological genius. Let us remember him in this slide show put together by CNN:
Here are two of my favorite quotes:
We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who
were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.
When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces
the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.
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.
Do something great.
Thanks…and RIP (Rest In Peace) Steve…
**This is a quote from a book called The Whole Earth Catalog. It was a counterculture publication first published in 1968 with the lofty goal of giving people the possibility to pick up their phone and get information about literally anything but especially about handcrafted objects, learning centers, communes, and organic foods…sort of the precursor to Google. Steve used to say: “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 sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along. It was idealistic and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.” During his commencement speech, Jobs also quoted the farewell message placed on the back cover of the 1974 edition of the catalog: “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”