Stay hungry, stay foolish

[ Steve Jobs obit — cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
Steve Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

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.

— from Steve JobsCommencement Address at Stanford University, June 2005


I have removed an image from this post on request — I do however believe it complements the sentiments expressed here, and it can be found here should you wish to see it.

8 thoughts on “Stay hungry, stay foolish”

  1. There are so many great Jobs stories – from the time he and Wozniack were just starting – they went to a small electronics shop in San Jose offering the owner a 3rd of the new Apple Computer if they’d just give them some parts – you know how that went…

    I think he will be remembered most of all for coming back after 11 years – forced outr by I htink John Scully – and turning what everyone thought was a has been company to what it is…

    The question is without him can they still do it?

  2. The trouble with following your heart is it’s a great idea for Steve Jobs, but not such a great idea for people whose hearts tell them to do something stupid. So his advice really should be: “First be a one-in-a-billion genius. THEN follow your heart.”

    David Foster: I’m sending that Peter Robinson piece to everybody.

    Bill Brandt: They might have done it if Jobs had appointed a top-notch product-design/marketing guy to run the place. Did Jobs most enjoy hanging out with product-design nerds, or with other CEOs? Which meeting did he lose track of time in?

    To run Apple, you need a guy who can’t be overruled and who feels like product design and marketing is What Really Matters, and everything else is just regrettably necessary bullshit that supports the mission. Cook is a really world-class, magnificent operations guy, but that just means the company’s core mission will be orphaned. He should be running UPS instead. Or he should stay in his old job at Apple. But anybody that good is ambitious and won’t sit there at the same desk forever. What a bummer.

    Remember when HP was a great engineering company? Engineers ran it. Then business people took over, and now they’re just another bunch of self-important bores in expensive suits.

    Man, what a shame.

    Is Intrade taking bets on how long before Jony Ive leaves?

  3. Brandoch – a company like Apple needs both product guys and organization guys. This morning, a friend of mine – really an exceptional programmer who worked for Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Facility) – was saying that early in Apple’s existence if it weren’t for a guy named Dan Bricklin in San Jose and a then revolutionary product called Visicalc – the first spreadsheet program – Apple would have just been more technological flotsam like Imsai and Altair – really one of the first PCs.

    How did Dan help Apple?

    He had an Apple at home and developed Visicalc to run on an Apple.

    People who had to have Visicalc had to buy an Apple to run it.

    I was remarking this morning on how amazing the dynamic nature of this industry has been – you are on top of the world one year and in a few years can be the “whatever happened to….”

    Think DEC and Ken Olson. In the 80s, Digital, who developed the mini computer – putting computing in range of smaller business – was 2nd in sales only to mighty IBM.

    Today they are of course gone – nearly forgotten.


    because Ken Olson, the engineer who helped develop so many great products, wouldn’t let go of the reins when change – as it always comes – affected Digital.

    During the Scully era Scully, who ran PepsiCo so well (and was brought in by Jobs) – forced his mentor out in a boardroom fight.

    To have both forces at the top of their game in a company in this industry – is rare.

    Now back to (programming) work…

  4. Bill: Absolutely they need organization guys! They’re indispensible, and as I said, Cook is apparently one of the best. But you don’t make that guy the CEO if organization itself isn’t your product, that’s all.

    And as for Ken Olson, I said being an engineer was necessary to build a great engineering company and keep it great — not that it was also sufficient. It isn’t. I’ve worked at my share of failed tech startups. I even founded my own failed tech startup.

    It’s not easy.

  5. Sure, a great guy who made a lot of money. However, most of his later work was just building fancy, expensive hula hoops. In some ways he was more fashion designer than inventor.

    NOT that there’s anything WRONG with that!

    As an inventor, he’s WAY below Edison in my book – but who isn’t?

    As a business titan, way below Rockefeller, Watson, Kaiser, or Carnegie.

    Still, glad he was around and due our respect at his passing.

  6. Too bad about taking the photo down – that was one great stereo system! An MP3 file would have sounded crappy over it.

  7. VisiCorp (which made VisiCalc) had two co-founders, Bricklin who wrote the program and Dan Fylstra, who first has the idea that software could be shrink-wrapped and sold as an individual consumer item. The Apple founders resented the hell out of the fact that VisiCalc made money from selling software for the Apple — they originally wanted all Apple software to be proprietary. However, you are right. It was VisiCalc that made the Apple II more tha a hobby machine. Before VisiCalc,only large corporations did variant-case spreadsheet analysis.

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