What Did Steve Jobs Mean When He Said 'Stay Foolish'

Steve Jobs Speaks at Stanford Commencement AddressWe produce here the full transcript (Edited version) of the famous Steve Jobs’ ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish’ speech given at Stanford on June 12, 2005. This transcript is without the intro by Stanford President John Hennessy. If you want the full transcript with the intro version, please click here.

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“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage khổng lồ follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want lớn become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs – CEO of táo apple Computer & of Pixar Animation Studios

Thank you.

I am honored to lớn be with you today for your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world.

Truth be told, I never graduated from college. Và this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.

Today I want khổng lồ tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.


The first story is about connecting the dots. I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit.

So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed graduate student, và she decided to lớn put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me khổng lồ be adopted at birth by a lawyer & his wife.

Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl.

So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We’ve got an unexpected baby boy; vày you want him?”

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They said: “Of course.”

My biological mother found out later that my mother had never graduated from college & that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused lớn sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would go to college.

This was the start in my life.

And 17 years later I did go lớn college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition.

After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to vì chưng with my life & no idea how college was going to lớn help me figure it out.

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And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to lớn drop out và trust that it would all work out OK.

It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, & begin dropping in on the ones that looked far more interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the $0.05 deposits khổng lồ buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night khổng lồ get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it.

And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out khổng lồ be priceless later on.

Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed.

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Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to lớn take the normal classes, I decided lớn take a calligraphy class to lớn learn how to vày this. I learned about serif & san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great.

It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life.

But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back khổng lồ me. & we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography.

If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. & since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.

If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.