We awoke to the news this morning (in the UK at least) that Steve Jobs had died. A revolutionary, he’s actually quite relevant, even without all of the tech that he’s famous for, to indies. And I thought today, given that he was an icon of the times, that I’d share something that I wrote in 2005 after his legendary Stanford address.
“Stay Hungry, stay foolish”
It’s a piece of advice I just heard while listening to a podcast of an address that the amazing Steve Jobs gave at Stanford. And I think it applies to a lot of life – not just graduating, and commencement, not just business. Everything.
And that’s the thing. Here I am, less than 30 years, insanely jealous of everything that’s coming in the future of those kids, and, the guy that gave the speech.
I don’t follow my passions often enough. I’d love to be published, but the opportunity for that takes so much work, and takes so much time, and is so based on luck that I’d starve. I wouldn’t be hungry – I’d be gone. but I’m still going to passionately chase it, because that’s the foolish part all over again. So maybe, just maybe, this is the hint that again, I need to change my life. With a graduate partner of my own, I’ve got the possibility I need – hungry and foolish, signing [email protected]=
D Kai Wilson, diary archive.
Six years on, you might wonder what this has to do with indies. We are our own revolutionaries. There are many that speculate that without the drive that Steve Jobs put into innovation that we’d never have gotten e-readers. There are many more that speculate that the e-reader spawned the iPad, something I consider to be an essential tool. But this isn’t about the tech – it never has been. It’s the spirit underneath that’s important. Staying hungry as a writer means always devouring writing, learning, satisfying ourselves, then working out till we’re hungry again. Staying foolish isn’t encouragement to do stupid things, like not edit, or burn bridges in the community – in fact, it’s quite the opposite – it’s taking risks and making them pay. Foolish people are often considered such because they take risks. If it pays off, they’re eventually called visionary.
Deeper and more intrinsic though, we learn from mistakes. If we choose not to make mistakes – choose not to be foolish – and acknowledge our foolishness, when we’re mortified because it didn’t work, then we’re not staying true to the inner core of what we, as visionaries should be. You can’t be a visionary by demanding and shoving and working with entitlement. In fact, I think that just marks you as small and closed-minded. Visionaries don’t just innovate – they make it effortless, and they share. Maybe they don’t share for FREE, but they do share.
So, indies, stay hungry, and stay foolish.
- “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” or Pearls of Wisdom for Change Agents, Visionaries , Dreamers, and People of Passion (theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com)
- Steve Jobs’ big lesson: ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish’ (news.cnet.com)