Michael Hawley, who helped write Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech, dies

Michael Hawley, a computer programmer, professor, musician, speechwriter and impresario who helped lay the intellectual groundwork for what is now called the Internet of Things and who also helped write Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech, died on Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 58.

Mr. Hawley at the piano in 2002 in the Van Cliburn amateur piano competition in Fort Worth. He shared first prize. Formally trained, he studied both music and computer science at Yale, earning degrees in each. (Credit: Michael Hawley)
Mr. Hawley at the piano in 2002 in the Van Cliburn amateur piano competition in Fort Worth. He shared first prize. Formally trained, he studied both music and computer science at Yale, earning degrees in each. (Credit: Michael Hawley)

Cade Metz for The New York Times:

The cause was colon cancer, said his father, George Hawley.

Mr. Hawley began his career as a video game programmer at Lucasfilm, the company created by the “Star Wars” director George Lucas. He spent his last 15 years curating the Entertainment Gathering, or EG, a conference dedicated to new ideas.

In between, he worked at NeXT, the influential computer company founded by Steve Jobs after he left Apple in the mid-1980s, and spent nine years as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, a seminal effort to push science and technology into art and other disciplines…

Mr. Hawley lived with both Mr. Jobs and the artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky, published the world’s largest book, won first prize in an international competition of amateur pianists, played alongside the cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the wedding of the celebrity scientist Bill Nye, joined one of the first scientific expeditions to Mount Everest, and wrote commencement speeches for both Mr. Jobs and the Google co-founder Larry Page…

In 2005, he helped write Mr. Jobs’s Stanford University commencement speech (“Stay hungry, stay foolish” was one of its much-quoted lines), which did much to define the Apple founder as an international celebrity in his last decade.

MacDailyNews Take: Michael Hawley was the very definition of a Renaissance man. R.I.P., Mr. Hawley.

3 Comments

  1. RIO indeed. But do not taint an excellent article by elevating pseudocelebrety Bill Nye to “scientist.” He’s just another global warming hack that claims science, as dies fraud Al Gore.

    Bill Cthulhu.

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