“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

My wife and I worship at the altar of Apple. Well… I worship. She think it’s pretty cool. Between the two of us, we have a MacBook Pro, a regular MacBook, an iPad 2, 2 iPhone 4’s, and 3 iPods. Sure it’s a bit excessive, but what’s an altar without vestments? So needless to say, I took the news yesterday particularly hard. Steve changed the way the world communicates. He was a leader in a field of leaders. He knew what we wanted before we even could dream of wanting it. Now that he has passed, people put him up there with Thomas Edison. Thomas freaking Edison! It blows my mind the kinds of things he was able to think of and actualize.

But I think what stands out to me is the way he kept his drive through making mistakes. In a commencement speech he gave at Stanford in 2005, he wrote this.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” These are good words to live by. Stay hungry enough that you’re never satisfied with where you are. Stay foolish enough so that you always think the impossible is possible. It’s a good legacy that he leaves behind. As I type this (on my MacBook) I know I’ll sit with this a while longer. But I hope that throughout my life I can stay half as hungry and foolish as Steve was.


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