Sunday, October 30, 2005


STEVE JOBS, the everything of APPLE INC. never needs introduction. It is this no-nonsense man who has shaped and later reshaped Apple. I love to love everything what he does. Without him, desktops of our personal computers would not have been this much ‘sexy’ or our operating systems this much user-friendly. Here you can read an excerpt from the commencement address he delivered at Stanford University recently. It is longer than ‘enough’. But it is worth reading. If you are not patient enough to read it on the screen, take a print and read at once. It will certainly have an Alchemist (of Paulo Coelho) Effect on you.

This 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 before I really quit. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting. 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 seven 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.

Here's one example: Reed College offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about what makes great typography great. 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.

If I had never dropped in on that course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or for that matter even proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied Mac, it's likely no personal computer would have them. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college.

But it was very clear looking backwards 10 years later. 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.

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.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalogue.In the final issue, on the back cover, they put a photograph of an early morning country road. Beneath it were the words: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. It was their farewell message as they signed off. I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you: STAY HUNGRY. STAY FOOLISH.

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