Steve Jobs Stanford Speech, 2005…

An inspiring speech by Steve Jobs on 12-June-2015 to the Commencement students of Stanford University. I go back to this speech at times, when I feel little vacuum in professional work / life!

Steve Jobs mentions 3 stories in the speech, which I have gone back few times in my career.

(a) Connecting the dots – While he uses the technology example and that it is easier to do it retrospectively, leaders’ challenge is to connect into the future! Even if Apple had Jonathan Ive, we need leaders who will allow such people the time to focus and keep doing the right things; resolve dependencies in finance, manufacturing, SW etc; market compulsions to deliver every quarter. Steve has been successful earlier as well at Apple, Pixar and NeXT. When he returned to Apple it had 300 products, he cut it down to low 2 digits to focus!

(b) Love and Loss – Work occupies a large part of our life and atleast in my case of project based organizations, end up working with a large % of new people every 2 years. Find great work, if you haven’t – keep looking, don’t settle. However, the challenge is not many of us can walk away into what we like quickly – the same applies to each of creative leadership team at Apple. Hence the leader’s job is to unite this group that the best is to yet come and towards a common goal.
Haven’t we heard of brighter people, who didn’t make it? (e.g Larry Page refers to Nikola Tesla as a brilliant inventor who died in poverty and he / Google wants to be an Edison and not Tesla).

(c) Death – Death is a great equalizer and looking into the mirror each morning and leaving as it is your last – giving the best. We see death every day around us, we age ourselves but how many of us really can convince ourselves @EOD that we have given the best each day that day? (Office politics, running for chores, our own energy levels after the beer last night, broken relationships etc.)

For such kind of people like Steve Jobs (he led), Jonathan Ive (he created) and Tim Cook (he executed) come occasionally, rise our levels and move on. Their way of doing things working together inspire us for long – rather than just one of them.

Ref: YouTube is available at lecture at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHWUCX6osgM. You can jump to 7:35, if you would like to skip introduction,
The text is available at http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html.

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