Mink Machine

Inspiration from Steve Jobs

So he resigned. I guess that didn’t come as a shock, but it’s nevertheless sad to see him go. He is one of the few industry leaders who has been around since the computer business started.

I remember one of the first times I noticed him. There was a cover photo on a magazine, around 1985 I think, where he was posing in a room full of Macs. I had very little experience with the Apple line of computers back then, so this was probably the first time I realized that this “fruit company” maybe was a serious contender.

You don’t get successful without making enemies though. Unlike Microsoft, Apple has managed to make zealots out of their users which of course gives fuel to many conflicts. And Jobs himself is quite relentless. I remember when he was fired and started working with NeXT. Everybody thought he was out but fast forward a number of years and suddenly I got an iPod along with pretty much everybody else. The rest is history and today Jobs is one of the most influential industry leaders in the world.

While Woz was the technology genius, Jobs strength came from charisma and vision. Nobody cares what Steve Ballmer says but the world stops when Jobs enters the stage. Just have a look at any broadcast from WWDC which resembles a religious gathering.

In 2005 Jobs was invited to Stanford University, where he held what many considers to be the speech of his life.

“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.”
“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.”

This was two years after he was first diagnosed with cancer. At first he tried to get help from a great scriptwriter, but ended up writing the entire thing himself. The result was a surprisingly honest and personal speech.

In some ways it reminds me of the Sunscreen Song, with the distinct difference that this one is for real. (The Sunscreen speech is often attributed to Kurt Vonnegut in a supposed speech at MIT, but it was actually written by Mary Schmich for the Chicago Tribune in 1997).

But I’m certain this is not the last we’ve seen of Steve. There’s always one more thing. Until then, also check out the Commence Speech by Neil Gaiman.

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