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A College Drop-Out’s Commencement Address

Apple’s Steve Jobs showed up at Stanford over the weekend to deliver the 2005 commencement address to grads. As these perfunctory and stereotypical speeches go, this is a very good one filled with personal revelation and reflection.

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Apple’s Steve Jobs showed up at Stanford over the weekend to deliver the 2005 commencement address to grads. As these perfunctory and stereotypical speeches go, this is a very good one filled with personal revelation and reflection.

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Among other things, he notes that after he dropped out of college,he slept on the floor in friends’ rooms and returned Coke bottle for the 5-cent deposits to buy food. Every Sunday night, Jobs said he walked seven miles across town to a Hare Krishna Temple to get one good meal a week. “I loved it,” Jobs said. “And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”

Steve also reflects on his very public firing from Apple by John Sculley, the CEO who he had recruited from Pepsi-Cola. At the time, Steve was all of 30 years of age. “What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down, that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the Valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me. I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I’d been rejected but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.”

We’re glad he did.