I missed an amazing speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford this summer and caught up to it yesterday. It kept me up most of the night because it was so revealing. Jobs, of course, is a mercurial man, intensely private, so his public words are all that more powerful. For all those CEOs and top managers who constantly say they want to be "more like Apple," this speech is essential reading.
Jobs told three stories about himself. The first was about serendity, curiosity and trust. He said "You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
The second story was about love and passion for work. "You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."
The thid was about death and time left. He said "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart."
I don't know who who exactly invited Jobs to talk. He's old friends with David Kelley, co-founder of IDEO, who teaches at Stanford. Kelley is building a new D-School that embodies the philosophy and methodologies that make Apple the most innovative company in the world, according to a recent BCG survey. Jobs' speech reveals some of why it has those strengths. And perhaps hints at why it has a few weaknesses as well. Read it.