Steve Jobs Commencement Speech

In front of a crowd of newly Stanford graduates, Steve Jobs sent out a strong message that consisted of three stories that were clearly highlighted in his speech.


Before Jobs starts telling his story he jokingly states, “This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.”


Jobs starts his first story which he calls “connecting the dots.” He started by giving a brief description of his life starting with adoption. The adoption process he recalls now is the first experience of him making the decision of ultimately dropping out of college.


When the time came around for college, Jobs “naively” chose to go to Reed University in Portland Oregon.


“I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out.”


When Jobs dropped out of classes he started “dropping in” on classes that interested him. “Looking back it was the best decision I’ve ever made”


One of the classes Jobs dropped into was a calligraphy course. He briefly describes what happened in this single class he was taking about “serif and san-serif type faces, varying the amount of space between letter combinations and about what makes great typography great.”


He went on by giving credit to the class that it all came back to him ten years later when they were designing the first Macintosh computer.


Ten years later is when he finally connected the dots. “You can’t connect the dots looking backward, only looking forward.”


Jobs makes it clear to the audience that it is important to keep your trust in something. He makes it well noted that he had no idea where his path was going but he stayed passionate in whatever he did.


“Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you down the well-warned path, and that will make all the difference.”


The second story he tells is about the love and loss Jobs endures during his life.


He starts by talking about his relationship with “Woz” who was his partner in starting Macintosh in his parent’s suburban garage. Not only did he love his work partner but also he loved what he was doing at the age of 20.

The loss starts to creep in shortly after his love when he got fired from his 2-billion company that he started. He asks the crowd “How can you get fired from a company you started?”


At just 30 years old he built his billion-dollar company only to be forced out. Jobs was a self-made public figure and extremely wealthy.


John Sculley, who Jobs hired, was the head of Pepsi-Cola and ultimately the Apple’s new chief executive. Scully and Jobs ended up not seeing eye to eye and got into a lot of disputes.


Jobs was later fired in 1985 when the board of Apple sided with Scully on the disputed between the two.


There was a sense of humiliation and lost in his voice when he was describing his determination from Macintosh.


“Didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let down the previous generation of entrepreneurs.”


Jobs went into detail that he contemplated “running from the Valley” but he still knew what he loved and Apple wasn’t going to take that away from him. That’s when Jobs started a new computer company called NeXT and Pixar.


“It freed me to enter the most creative periods of my life.”


Apple later then began to take a hit and bought out NeXT. Not long after Jobs was back to be the CEO at Apple.


Jobs’ final touching story was about the subject of death. It is a subject that has looked at him face to face.


A decision making tool Jobs lives by every day is by “remembering you will die is a simple way to escape the fact that you have something to lose.”


It doesn’t take somebody to experience cancer like Jobs did to have that quote hit you because everyone knows their time is limited.


Jobs mentions when he was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago.


“The doctors told me this was incurable and I should expect to live no more than 3 months.”



Jobs later describes he was miraculously cured from the cancer. He admits he gets dramatic but truthful when he speaks the facts about death. He now knows after his near-death experience “the old will die off to make room for the new.”


Jobs ends his wisdom-filled speech by reiterating to the graduates to “stay hungry, stay foolish.”


1 Response to “Steve Jobs Commencement Speech”

  1. 1 Janelle

    I read your post and wished I’d wreittn it

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