One More Thing …
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact—and that is: everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.
And you can change it.
You can influence it.
You can build your own things that other people can use.
And the minute you can understand that you can poke life, and if you push in, then something will pop out the other side; that you can change it, you can mold it—that’s maybe the most important thing: to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there, and you’re just going to live in it versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
I think that’s very important, and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better. Because it’s kind of messed up in a lot of ways.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
I grow little of the food I eat, and of the little I do grow I did not breed or perfect the seeds.
I do not make any of my own clothing.
I speak a language I did not invent or refine.
I did not discover the mathematics I use.
I am protected by freedoms and laws I did not conceive of or legislate, and do not enforce or adjudicate.
I am moved by music I did not create myself.
When I needed medical attention, I was helpless to help myself survive.
I did not invent the transistor, the microprocessor, object oriented programming, or most of the technology I work with.
I love and admire my species, living and dead, and am totally dependent on them for my life and well being.
Stay hungry. Stay foolish.
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.
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.
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.
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
Sometime life’s gonna hit 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.
Another way to think about this is that your life is a story. It’s hard to see it that way when you’re looking forward at 22. But imagine yourself as an old person looking back on your life. Your life will be a story. It will be your story, with its highs and lows, its heros and villains, its forks in the road that mean everything.
And if you can remember that your life is a story in the making, it will help you make those important decisions. When you have to decide between taking the prestigious job that pays well, or the offbeat job with no future that makes your heart sing, just imagine yourself looking back on your life in 50 years and you’ll know what path is yours. You will give yourself the right advice. You will intuitively know if something is part of your story or not.
When I was 17, I read a quote that said something like “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” And since I was 17, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself “If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And when the answer has been “NO” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something in my life.
The most important thing I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices is to remember that I’ll be dead soon. I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true. And when I remember this, I realize that all of the expectations and standards and restrictions of others and society mean nothing in the end. I realize that I have nothing to lose by following my heart and intuition, even if I embarrass myself or fail in the eyes of others. Because I’ll be dead soon. And I realize that I don’t have forever to decide to find what my intuition tells me is waiting out there for me.
I asked her if she would have dinner with me on Saturday.
She said yes and gave me her phone number. As I was walking to my car, I asked myself: “If this was the last day of my life, would I rather have dinner with the important customers or her?” I raced back to her car, just as she was about to drive off, and asked her “How about dinner tonight?” She said: “Sure,” and we were married 18 months later. Yea, it might have worked out if I had waited until Saturday night, and those customers might have given us a few more orders if I had shown up.
But who knows, maybe she had a hot date Friday night and things would have turned out much differently… . You can’t plan to meet the people who will change your life. It just happens. Maybe its random, maybe its fate. Either way, you can’t plan for it. But you want to recognize it when it happens, and have the courage and clarity of mind to grab onto it.
[...] a teacher is someone who stands with you in the dark and holds their flashlight just long enough for you to find your own flashlight.
From: Steve Jobs
To: Steve Jobs
Date: January 15, 2005, 10:35 a.m.
This is the closest I’ve ever come to graduating from college
- they’ve asked me to say a few things today that you can learn from
- I should be learning from you
1. Habits are very powerful things
- 20 years - now until you’re 42
- meditate 20 minutes a day
- walk to work (30 minutes × 2 = 1 hour/day × 5 days/week
= 250/yr × 20 years = 5000hrs / 10 hours per day = 500 days = >1 year
2. You are what you eat
- how many cows, chickens, milk, soda, coffee
- fasting (jesus) 1 day per week
- autobiography of a yogi quote “what is miraculous is all around us”
4. When I was 20 years old I took classes here just as Apple was getting started
- no money
- my wife and I donating in your name one free scholarship per year for offbeat student
You are going into a crazy world
- nuclear, biological weapons, less than great leadership, etc Gandhi quote - become the change you want to see in the world
So, I’m going to focus on you - your inner world - how you approach your life
[...] what happened at Apple was that Apple’s goals used to be to make the best personal computers in the world. And then the second goal was to make a profit so we could keep on doing number one. Right?
What happened was that, for a time, those got reversed: “We want to make a bunch of money, and so, OK, to do that, we’re going to have to make some good personal computers.” But it didn’t work. It never works. And so things start to fall apart.
[...] what happened at Apple was that Apple’s goals used to be to make the best personal computers in the world. And then the second goal was to make a profit so we could keep on doing number one.
[...] called it management by values. What that means is you find people that want the same things you want, and then just get the hell out of their way.
[...] what I found is that nobody in their right mind wants to be a manager. [Audience laughs.] It’s true. It’s a lot of work, and you don’t get to do the fun stuff. But the only good reason to be a manager is so some other bozo doesn’t be the manager—and ruin the group you care about.
But getting older does that [helps you grow] too. You get married. You know, you have a family. And your perspective starts to change on things.
People say you learn more from failures than you do from successes, and that’s probably true. And I’ve made more mistakes than most people I know.
The creative process is as disciplined as any engineering process I’ve ever seen in my life. And they’re as passionate about it as any technical person I’ve ever seen.
[...] it’s optimism and passion, because it’s really hard. And if you don’t really, really care about what you’re doing, you’re gonna give up if you’re a sane person—because it’s just super hard.
Email to Apple Employees
Steve said this was his favorite quote.
From: Steve Jobs
To: Apple employees
Date: January 20, 2002, 12:47 p.m.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
The engine driving these transformations was a remarkably consistent set of values that Steve held dear: Life is short; don’t waste it. Tell the truth. Technology should enhance human creativity. Process matters. Beauty matters. Details matter. The world we know is a human creation—and we can push it forward.
“Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”
In most cases, strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin. A strength in one situation is a weakness in another, yet often the person can’t switch gears. It’s a very subtle thing to talk about strengths and weaknesses because almost always they’re the same thing.
It’s also good every once in a while to really piss somebody off in an interview to see how they react because, if your company is a meritocracy of ideas, with passionate people, you have a company with a lot of arguments. If people can’t stand up and argue well under pressure, they may not do well in such an environment.
What I look for is for someone to come right back and say, “You’re dead wrong and here’s why.” I want to see what people are like under pressure. I want to see if they just fold or if they have firm conviction, belief, and pride in what they did.
[...] sometimes young people haven’t had the opportunity yet to be in a position of influence to create such results. So here you must evaluate potential. It’s certainly more difficult, but the primary attributes of potential are intelligence and the ability to learn quickly. Much of it is also drive and passion—hard work makes up for a lot.
Ultimately the results should lead you to the people. As a matter of fact, that’s how I find great people. I look at great results and I find out who was responsible for them.
There are no shortcuts around quality, and quality starts with people.
“The worst thing that someone can do in an interview is to agree with me.”
On the creative side, though, I think the art of storytelling is very old. And no amount of technology can turn a bad story into a good story. […] Storytelling is a real art, and that’s something that we’re always going to be working on very, very hard. I don’t think it’s changed in a long time, and I’m not sure it will. And I don’t think it’s something that the technology has anything to do with.
So a strange thing happens: the hierarchy of power sort of inverts, and the CEO is actually at the bottom. I sort of feel like I work for most of these people because they’re the ones that are doing all the brilliant work.
And it’s the same in software. It’s the same thing. The best people are very hard to come by, and so it’s management’s job to support them because they’re on the front lines doing the work.
Now, as you live your arc across the sky, you want to have as few regrets as possible. Remember, regrets are different from mistakes. Mistakes are those things that you did and wish you could do over again. In some you were a fool (usually concerning women). In others you were scared. In others you hurt someone else. Some mistakes are deep, others not. But if your intent was pure, they are almost always enriching in some way. So mistakes are things that you did and wish you could do over again.
Regrets are most often things you didn’t do, and wish you did. I still regret not kissing Nancy Kinniman in high school. Who knows what might have happened? Maybe she regrets it too …
Don’t be a career. The enemy of most dreams and intuitions, and one of the most dangerous and stifling concepts ever invented by humans, is the “Career.” A career is a concept for how one is supposed to progress through stages during the training for and practicing of your working life.
So to be a creative person, you need to “feed” or “invest” in yourself by exploring uncharted paths that are outside the realm of your past experience. Seek out new dimensions of yourself—especially those that carry a romantic scent.
Be a creative person. Creativity equals connecting previously unrelated experiences and insights that others don’t see.
Whatever it may be, I bet many of you have had some of these intuitive feelings about what you could do with your lives. These feelings are very real, and if nurtured can blossom into something wonderful and magical. A good way to remember these kinds of intuitive feelings is to walk alone near sunset—and spend a lot of time looking at the sky in general.
Be aware of the world’s magical, mystical, and artistic sides. The most important things in life are not the goal-oriented, materialistic things that everyone and everything tries to convince you to strive for. Most of you know that deep inside.
“What you follow with your heart will indeed come back to make your life much richer.”
We hired people to tell us what to do. We figured we’re paying them all this money, their job is to figure out what to do and tell us. And that led to a very different corporate culture, and one that’s really much more collegial than hierarchical.
Apple has to be 50 percent or 100 percent better, because when you buy something that is out of the mainstream a little bit, you take a risk, and you want a much bigger reward for taking that risk.
“One of the things I always tried to coach myself on was not being afraid to fail.”
Character is built not in good times, but in bad times; not in a time of plenty, but in a time of adversity—[...]
“If you really look closely,” Steve liked to say, “most overnight successes took a long time.”
“You never achieve what you want without falling on your face a few times.”
[At Apple] we’re just getting simpler and simpler and simpler. Very, very simple. Simple.
It’s sort of like in 1844, the telegraph was invented, and it was an amazing breakthrough in communications. And you actually could send messages from New York to San Francisco in an afternoon. And some people talked about putting a telegraph on every desk in America to improve productivity.
But it wouldn’t have worked. It wouldn’t have worked. And the reason it wouldn’t have worked was because you would have had to learn this whole sequence of strange incantations—Morse code in this case, dots and dashes in this case—to use the telegraph. And it took about forty hours to learn how to use Morse code. And a majority of people would never have learned how to use Morse code.
So fortunately, in the 1870s, Alexander Graham Bell filed the patents for the telephone—another radical breakthrough in communications that performed basically the same function, but people already knew how to use it. The neatest thing about it was that, in addition to allowing you to communicate with just words, it allowed you to sing. It allowed you to intone your words with meaning beyond the simple linguistics.
We’re in the same exact parallel situation today. Some people are saying we need to put an IBM PC on every desk in America to improve productivity. But it won’t work. The special incantations you have to learn this time are slash-qz’s and things like that. Most people are not going to learn slash-qz’s any more than they’re going to learn Morse code.
And that’s what Macintosh is all about. It’s the first “telephone” of our industry. But the neatest thing about it to me is, the same as the telephone to the telegraph, Macintosh lets you sing. It lets you use special fonts. It lets you make drawings and pictures or incorporate other people’s drawings or pictures into your documents.
So whenever you start with nothing, you can always shoot for the moon. You have nothing to lose.
We’re trying to get away from programming. We’ve got to get away from programming because people don’t want to program computers. People want to use computers.
The problem was, you can’t ask Aristotle a question. And I think, as we look towards the next fifty to one hundred years, if we really can come up with these machines that can capture an underlying spirit, or an underlying set of principles, or an underlying way of looking at the world, then, when the next Aristotle comes around, maybe if he carries around one of these machines with him his whole life—his or her whole life—and types in all this stuff, then maybe someday, after this person’s dead and gone, we can ask this machine, “Hey, what would Aristotle have said? What about this?” And maybe we won’t get the right answer, but maybe we will. And that’s really exciting to me. And that’s one of the reasons I’m doing what I’m doing.
Computers are really dumb. They’re exceptionally simple, but they’re really fast. The raw instructions that we have to feed these little microprocessors—or even these giant Cray-1 supercomputers—are the most trivial of instructions. They get some data from there, get a number from here, add two numbers together, and test to see if it’s bigger than zero. It’s the most mundane thing you could ever imagine.
But the kids growing up now are definitely products of the computer generation, and in their lifetimes the computer will become the predominant medium of communication, just as the television took over from the radio, took over from even the book.
When you are a stranger in a place, you notice things that you rapidly stop noticing when you become familiar. I was a stranger in America for the first time in my life, and so I saw things I’d never seen before. And I tried to pay attention to them for those three months because I knew that gradually, bit by bit, my familiarity would be gained again.
California has a sense of experimentation about it, and a sense of openness about it—openness and new possibility—that I really didn’t appreciate till I went to other places.
I would say that gave one several things. It gave one an understanding of what was inside a finished product and how it worked, because it would include a theory of operation. But maybe even more importantly, it gave one the sense that one could build the things that one saw around oneself in the universe. These things were not mysteries anymore. I mean, you looked at a television set, and you would think, “I haven’t built one of those—but I could. There’s one of those in the Heathkit catalog, and I’ve built two other Heathkits, so I could build a television set.” Things became much more clear that they were the results of human creation, not these magical things that just appeared in one’s environment that one had no knowledge of their interiors. It gave a tremendous degree of self-confidence that, through exploration and learning, one could understand seemingly very complex things in one’s environment.
He had a workbench out in the garage where, when I was about five or six, he sectioned off a little piece of it and said, “Steve, this is your workbench now.” And he gave me some of his smaller tools and showed me how to use a hammer and saw and how to build things. It really was very good for me. He spent a lot of time with me, teaching me how to build things, take things apart, put things back together.