Apple announced this evening that Steve Jobs is dead. He was perhaps the greatest business leader of our age, and he was a visionary who lived long enough to see much of his vision come to life. He was a hero for me and for many others. He died at the age of 56.
I think this is a good time to listen again to the commencement speech that Jobs made six years ago at Stanford University. In it, he talks about his life and the ways in which he saw things differently after his health problems started. It’s just 15 minutes. It’s worth watching. A quote from that speech that’s even more poignant than it was at the time. We all need to remember this:
”Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
I’ve already written extensively about Jobs when he recently retired as CEO. I’m going to miss having someone around who I greatly admired.