Full text of Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement address available

Stanford University has posted the transcript of Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs’ commencement address. It’s packed full of interesting stuff, straight from the horse’s mouth, like this:

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

And this:

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, 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. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

The full text of Steve Jobs’ commencement address is here.

There’s also a video of Jobs’ during a portion of his address here.


  1. WOW, He is human after all. I thought perhaps he was an alien genius sent to earth to advance our technology, and show earthling how things should work. Very interesting to read things in his own words, instead of the unofficial books that don’t any direct access to Steve.

  2. I don’t think we would have heard that speech from SJ a year ago, certainly not 10 years ago. He is an intensely private man and that was all very personal. Well done. Distilled Truth at it’s best. I hope they were listening.

  3. Lovely speech. That made me really happy. I was very concern when I heard he has cancer and I thought he doesn’t have much time to live. Though I’m a XP user but I always love to see Steve doing fine. What a misrable world we will have if Microsoft doesn’t have any competitor. And Apple is the only proper competitor in the world of OS.

  4. Man, my old 667 Tibook can’t handle QT7 vids at all. I had to watch it in Real Player. That pretty much tells me I am past time for an upgrade. Hope my PowerMac gets here soon!

    Good speech but it didn’t come close to being as good as one of his Keynotes. He mostly read this. The keynotes come from somewhere deeper in his soul – no notes, no teleprompter.

  5. I started reading this with the intent of skimming it. But it was so poignant that it defies a quick read. Very moving, very well-written, and it said some things that I needed to hear.

    Thanks, Steve. You rock.

  6. Wow, just read the full text. That is really heavy stuff. I retract my earlier snap impression from just watching the vid. Steve really went deep with this one. Sorry.

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