On Wednesday, Steve Jobs was taken from this world. Though there are those with differing opinions on his company and approach to labor, it is difficult to understate the effect his work had on our lives. He took a little company that he started with a couple of friends, who worked out of his parents’ garage, to a global powerhouse that is worth an estimated $350 billion. In 1984, he was involved in the famous Apple Macintosh commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, which changed both the computer and advertising worlds forever. He helped to develop Pixar into what it is today. Their animated movies provide entertainment and inspiration to children all over the globe. Products he and his company developed, like the iPod Touch, help disabled people live better by building skills in ways they never dreamed possible. On Wednesday evening, Apple’s homepage left us with the following message.
“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.”
With all of the technological marvels Jobs has given the world, it is easy to lose sight of other, perhaps more important parts of his legacy. As a creative visionary, he has left us with an adept perspective of life and creativity that should not be forgotten.
In his own words, from the man that asked us to “Think different:”
- “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”
- “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me…Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
- “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.”
In 2005, he gave the commencement speech for the graduating class at Stanford University:
- “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.”
- “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.”
He ended his speech with the following story:
“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…
…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.
For an excellent perspective on how his technology has helped the disabled, please read Tim Carmody’s excellent piece on Wired.com: “This Stuff Doesn’t Change the World: Disability and Steve Jobs’ Legacy.”