3 simple stories from Steve Jobs

| April 12, 2012

Based on 40+ interviews with Jobs conducted over 2 years—as well as interviews with 100+ family, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish” were the final words of perhaps the greatest commencement speech of all time.

Steve Jobs’ 2005 presentation to the graduating class of Stanford University has been called “a lesson in life, a morality tale about discovery, passion, vision, morality, redemption, and the meaning of existence—all revealed through three simple stories.”*

VIDEO: Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks– including death itself– at Stanford University’s 114th Commencement on Sunday in Stanford Stadium
(Jobs’ presentation begins at 07:40 … although the introduction is fascinating!)

Some simple tactics by the Apple Computer CEO had people “quickly realize they were sharing in a magical experience, the likes of which they had never heard before”*:

Three strengths of Jobs’ presentation:

1. He identified with the audience—even though they are graduates, he is not, and noted: “This is the closest I have ever got to a graduation”.

2. He set expectations of sharing three life stories—people easily digest and remember three points, and have a general plan for the journey ahead with you.

3. He was authentic and personal—this builds the trust of the audience who feel privy to the intimate thoughts and experience being shared with them.

While the Fortune Magazine “CEO of the Decade” certainly delivered the speech himself, do we really believe he wrote it himself? He could hire anyone in the world to write a scintillating delivery like that. His biography shares the interesting truth:

For help with the speech, he called the brilliant scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The West Wing). Jobs sent him some thoughts. “That was in February, and I heard nothing, so I ping him again in April, and he says, ‘Oh, yeah,’ and I send him a few more thoughts,” Jobs recounted. “I finally get him on the phone, and he keeps saying ‘Yeah,’ but finally it’s the beginning of June, and he never sent me anything.”

Jobs got panicky. He had always written his own presentations, but he had never done a commencement address. One night he sat down and wrote the speech himself, with no help other than bouncing ideas off his wife.  As a result, it turned out to be a very intimate and simple talk, with the unadorned and personal feel of a perfect Steve Jobs product.

My tip: Be actively involved in the development of your speeches. Sure, someone else could build it out for you, but you need to give firm direction and thought—and then put it in your own words.

What did you take away from Jobs’ commencement speech?

* Granville  N. Toogood in his book “The new articulate executive”.



Category: Business Development, Culture, Entrepreneur, Leadership

About Jacqui Buchanan: View author profile.

Comments are closed.

Robe De Mariée festklänningar Balklänning Robe De Mariée Robe De Mariée Balklänning