Mornings like this make me reflect on life and all that comes to us in various forms. As I’m sure you know, today we said goodbye to Steve Jobs, a rebel, a visionary and a misfit that never finished college. I just took a few minutes to watch a video of the graduation speech he gave at Stanford University and appreciated the perspective, experience and life of a man that at one time would collect bottles and turn them in for cash in order to eat. During the speech, he told three life stories that each sent a message about life and how to live.
The first story he told was about dropping out of college and remaining there to take classes that interested him rather than those that were required by the school. The class he described was a calligraphy class that he enjoyed and learned about various typefaces, spacing, and lettering. While he saw no application for the class in his future, it was interesting to him. Ten years later, when he started Apple, that class and the beautiful typefaces he learned became one of the foundations for the computers he was designing and developing. Steve’s message?
Life will connect the dots even though you might not believe that an experience or difficult time today is happening for a reason.
As we build our companies, our families, our relationships, it is so important to remember why we get up each morning, why we get emotional or passionate about our endeavors, our commitments or our relationships. Steve’s speech kept coming back to realizing that life is about innovators living with passion, each day doing what you love to do.l
In his second story, he said, “Don’t lose faith when you get hit with a brick…” It was the story of being fired from Apple and after recognizing his faults, starting two very successful companies, Next, and Pixar. Next was purchased by Apple, and as we know, Pixar is one of the top feature animation studios in the world. We all get hit with a brick now and then, and I would like to think that if I don’t manage to duck and get hit, that it’s for a reason. I just need to remember that lesson more often.
In his final story of the speech, Steve talks about Death and being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He said, “If today was the last day of your life, would you do what you are about to do today.” Steve had such a great approach to staying passionate and hungry for life; one that I will take forward as I say goodbye to a man that changed everything time and time again.
Steve had one final message for the graduating class at Stanford University, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”
Randy Eickhoff, CPA is President of Acena Consulting. With more than 20 years of tax and consulting experience, Randy focused on helping companies successfully document and secure tax incentives throughout the US. He has been a long-time speaker nationally as well as conducted numerous training sessions on R&D tax credits and other US tax incentives.