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

I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to 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 months, but then stayed around as a drop!in for another "# months or so before I really $uit. %o why did I drop out& It started before I was born. 'y biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. %he felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. ()cept that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. %o my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night as*ing+ ,-e have an une)pected baby boy. do you want him&, They said+ ,/f course., 'y biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. %he refused to sign the final adoption papers. %he only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college. 0nd "1 years later I did go to college. 2ut I naively chose a college that was almost as e)pensive as %tanford, and all of my wor*ing!class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. 0fter si) months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. 0nd here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. %o I decided to drop out and trust that it would all wor* out /3. It was pretty scary at the time, but loo*ing bac* it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop ta*ing the re$uired classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that loo*ed interesting. It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned co*e bottles for the 45 deposits to buy food with, and I would wal* the 1 miles across town every %unday night to get one good meal a wee* at the 6are 3rishna temple. I loved it. 0nd much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. 7et me give you one e)ample+ 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. 2ecause I had dropped out and didn't have to ta*e the normal classes, I decided to ta*e a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what ma*es 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. 2ut ten years later, when we were designing the first 'acintosh computer, it all came bac* to me. 0nd we designed it all into the 'ac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the 'ac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. 0nd since -indows 8ust copied the 'ac, it's li*ely 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. /f course it was impossible to connect the dots loo*ing forward when I was in college. 2ut it was very, very clear loo*ing bac*wards ten years later.

0nd then I got fired. Toy Story.If you live each day as if it was your last. as 0pple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me. 0s with all matters of the heart. I was luc*y : I found what I loved to do early in life. I'm convinced that the only thing that *ept me going was that I loved what I did. -e had 8ust released our finest creation : the 'acintosh : a year earlier. -o. %o you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. 2ut something slowly began to dawn on me : I still loved what I did. 0nd so I decided to start over. and since then. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. for the past @@ years.e for screwing up so badly. you can't connect the dots loo*ing forward. I really didn't *now what to do for a few months. -hen we did. This approach has never let me down. I *now I need to change something. I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from 0pple. 'y second story is about love and loss. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down ! that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. you'll *now when you find it. you can only connect them loo*ing bac*wards. but I was still in love. whatever. I have loo*ed in the mirror every morning and as*ed myself+ . . 0nd the only way to do great wor* is to love what you do. %o at @= I was out. It made an impression on me. -e wor*ed hard. I didn't see it then. someday you'll most certainly be right. %ometimes life hits you in the head with a bric*. Aon't settle. and I had 8ust turned @=.ing woman who would become my wife. 9ou have to trust in something : your gut. and it has made all the difference in my life.No.0gain. I met with Aavid Bac*ard and 2ob Noyce and tried to apologi. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. I had been re8ected. destiny. I was a very public failure. and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. would I want to do what I am about to do today&. another company named Bi)ar. li*e any great relationship.If today were the last day of my life. and the technology we developed at NeCT is at the heart of 0pple's current renaissance. and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great wor*. Aon't lose faith. It was awful tasting medicine. -hen I was "1. Bi)ar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film. and it was devastating. it 8ust gets better and better as the years roll on. 'y third story is about death. 6ow can you get fired from a company you started& -ell. The turn of events at 0pple had not changed that one bit. 9our wor* is going to fill a large part of your life. and I even thought about running away from the valley. 0nd 7aurene and I have a wonderful family together. and for the first year or so things went well. Auring the ne)t five years. 0nd. I read a $uote that went something li*e+ . 9ou've got to find what you love.. less sure about everything. I returned to 0pple. our 2oard of Airectors sided with him. *eep loo*ing. *arma. life. If you haven't found it yet. In a remar*able turn of events. %o *eep loo*ing until you find it. for too many days in a row. 0nd very publicly out. but I guess the patient needed it. but it turned out that getting fired from 0pple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I started a company named NeCT. and I started 0pple in my parents garage when I was <=. 0nd that is as true for your wor* as it is for your lovers. 0nd whenever the answer has been . 2ut then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. and fell in love with an ama. Aon't settle. 0pple bought NeCT. and in "= years 0pple had grown from 8ust the two of us in a garage into a >< billion company with over ?=== employees. -hat had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone.

0nd most important. No one has ever escaped it. scissors. so don't waste it living someone else's life. who was there. It clears out the old to ma*e way for the new. and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. -hen I was young. and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. 2ecause almost everything : all e)ternal e)pectations. but it is $uite true. %orry to be so dramatic. It was the mid!"D1=s. 0nd I have always wished that for myself. but someday not too long from now. where they stuc* an endoscope down my throat. Aon't be trapped by dogma : which is living with the results of other people's thin*ing. 0bout a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. %tay 6ungry.Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me ma*e the big choices in life. Right now the new is you. and that I should e)pect to live no longer than three to si) months. I didn't even *now what a pancreas was. Aon't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. 0nd now. and I was your age. before personal computers and des*top publishing. leaving only what is truly important. I lived with that diagnosis all day. . 'y doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order. but my wife. which was one of the bibles of my generation. (verything else is secondary. so it was all made with typewriters. It was sort of li*e Eoogle in paperbac* form. It is 7ife's change agent. 0nd yet death is the destination we all share. There is no reason not to follow your heart. which is doctor's code for prepare to die.. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable. %tay Foolish. It was their farewell message as they signed off. It means to try to tell your *ids everything you thought you'd have the ne)t "= years to tell them in 8ust a few months. put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. they put out a final issue. the *ind you might find yourself hitchhi*ing on if you were so adventurous. I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept+ No one wants to die. %tay 6ungry. I had a scan at 1+@= in the morning. all pride. 0nd that is as it should be. Than* you all very much. This was the closest I've been to facing death. %tewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog. and polaroid cameras. I wish that for you. told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. as you graduate to begin anew. 2eneath it were the words+ . (ven people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. It means to ma*e sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.ing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog. all fear of embarrassment or failure ! these things 8ust fall away in the face of death. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I *now to avoid the trap of thin*ing you have something to lose. They somehow already *now what you truly want to become. I had the surgery and I'm fine now. /n the bac* cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road. It means to say your goodbyes. 9ou are already na*ed. and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. there was an ama. This was in the late "D ='s. 6aving lived through it. I was sedated. you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. @4 years before Eoogle came along+ it was idealistic. because Aeath is very li*ely the single best invention of 7ife. 7ater that evening I had a biopsy. and then when it had run its course. through my stomach and into my intestines. %tay Foolish. %tay Foolish.%tay 6ungry. It was created by a fellow named %tewart 2rand not far from here in 'enlo Bar*. 9our time is limited.