I didn’t “like” Steve Jobs. I didn’t know Steve Jobs. But, Steve Jobs was an individual who indelibly left his mark on the balance of my existence, and many of us will miss him.
What made a stranger important to a nobody like me in a world full of strangers? He was part of a revolution in human culture that connected all of us “strangers” in a way that was inconceivable mere decades ago. He blazed a trail for every entrepreneur or creator to follow, then to leave, to forge their own paths, to think of design “king”, to think of dreams as road maps, not stumbling blocks. If free enterprise is to have any meaning for the future of humanity, one will HAVE to look back on Steve Jobs’ many accomplishments, and mistakes, to make sense of it going forward
His impact has already created vast ripples ahead of us, molding our future history, and the most important lesson I will take from his presence in our lives was summed up nicely in the closing to his commencement speech for Stanford’s graduating class of 2005:
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. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. 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.
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.
Thank you all very much.