Steve Jobs: How to Live Before you Die

Steve Jobs’ name has become synonymous with innovation here in the U.S. and around the world. Many people credit him with single-handedly saving Apple from the brink of disaster in the 1990s when it had to rely on a capital infusion from archenemy Microsoft following the ouster of disastrous CEO Gil Amelio in 1996. However he will likely go down as being credited for transforming the mobile, home, and touch computing industries with the tens-of-millions of iPods, iPhones, and iPads he brought to the world. Fortune Magazine summarized his impact on the world simply when they stated that “[t]he past decade in business belongs to Jobs.”

Yesterday Mr. Jobs delivered the message that Apple’s fans (and investors) had been expecting for the past several weeks following his decision to go on medical leave for the third time since he’s assumed the CEO mantle. Having survived pancreatic cancer and a recent liver transplant, most feared that this recent leave might be his final. In his announcement Jobs explained that he could no longer perform the duties required of him and as a result he was stepping down from the helm of the world’s most valuable technology company.

Personally I have had a love hate relationship with Apple having warmly embraced their computers (II, II Plus, IIe, IIc, IIGS, Macintosh, Macintosh Plus, Macintosh IIcx, PowerBook 180, and the Centris 610) during the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. Like many people this love affair soured and I embraced Windows 3.11 through Windows 7, as well as several flavors of UNIX for professional reasons. With the rise of the hyper-elegant products that have become the norm at Apple these days, I find myself in possession of a few iPods, an iPad 2, and – like millions of rabid fans – am feverishly awaiting the release of the iPhone 5 in a few weeks (we hope).

I hope that Mr. Jobs spends his remaining time, be it days, weeks, or years, with the people he loves bringing joy into their lives as he has done for so many millions through the connections his products enable.

Below you will find Mr. Jobs’ 2005 Stanford University Commencement Address entitled “How to Live Before you Die” which certainly rings true given yesterday’s announcement.