“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.”
– Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech
It’s been more than five years since Steve Jobs gave that commencement speech at Stanford, but it’s a speech that I find just as relevant today (perhaps moreso even) as I did then. Even today, I’ll pull it up on my iPhone or MacBook when I need a gentle nudge in the “right” direction. While the adage of “following your heart” is one that is doled out especially often within Western cultures, Jobs articulates it in a manner that resonates particularly well — creating that fine balance between being both personal and vague enough for you to fill in the blanks.
While we all knew that the day would come that Jobs would no longer be at the helm of Apple as the company’s CEO, it’s a fact that perhaps none of us really wanted to accept. After all, here was someone who has truly made a disruptive and lasting impact on our society, in helping us define what we want, disrupting industries, and creating entirely new business ecosystems altogether — multiple times over (of course,the fact that these changes made him one of the wealthiest men in the world helped too ;))
And despite his notorious working style (Apple employees routinely report of his near-Draconian management style), Jobs is a visionary in the true-est sense of the word. From the idea of a “personal computer” to Pixar, to the portable world of iPods and iPhones, Jobs has helped shape the very way we think about media, music, pricing, and technology. And with the introduction of the iPad, it seems appropriate that the individual who introduced personal computing has now sparked the catalyst for the shift into the post-PC world.
The question for Apple will now be how much of the company’s innovation was its own and how much of it was Jobs? Granted Jobs is not fully leaving his place at Apple and will remain on board as an adviser, the cultural and organizational changes will certainly be felt.
As a society, we always have a way of romanticizing the past and the accomplishments at the end of one’s professional tenure, and while this doesn’t mark the end of Jobs’ career at Apple, it certainly is the end of an era. However, in Jobs’ case, and in reflecting on the ideas he has already made come to life, perhaps there isn’t much romanticizing there.
Thank you, Steve Jobs, for your inspiration and work. There are many who can hatch grandeur dreams, but only a few who can translate them into tangible visions. Thanks for being the few among those few, and for so eloquently articulating those words of wisdom that will stay etched in this writer’s mind for many years to come.
a compilation by the WSJ of steve jobs’ quotes from over the years: http://on.wsj.com/nuTYC2