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Today Is Steve Jobs’ Birthday

Steve Jobs speaks to Stanford University's Class of 2005.Steve Jobs speaks to Stanford University's Class of 2005.
Steve Jobs speaks to Stanford University's Class of 2005.Courtesy of Stanford University

As I did when he was still running Apple (AAPL), I’d like to celebrate Steve Jobs’ life by reposting the most personal public speech this intensely private man ever made: His commencement address to the Stanford University Class of 2005.

If you haven’t seen it—or haven’t heard it recently—I give you Steve Jobs on life, death, and calligraphy.

“Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories…”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc]

 

Here’s the link. The transcript is available here.

Fun Fact: Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who won a Golden Globe for his Steve Jobs screenplay, had a hand in the speech, although there’s some dispute about how much he did. “Honestly, I fixed a couple of typos,” says Sorkin. According to Jobs’ biographer, he did less than that.

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From Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs:

For help with the speech, [Jobs] called the brilliant scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The West Wing). Jobs sent him some thoughts. “That was in February, and I heard nothing, so I ping him again in April, and he says, ‘Oh, yeah,’ and I send him a few more thoughts,” Jobs recounted. “I finally get him on the phone, and he keeps saying ‘Yeah,’ but finally it’s the beginning of June, and he never sent me anything.”

Jobs got panicky. He had always written his own presentations, but he had never done a commencement address. One night he sat down and wrote the speech himself, with no help other than bouncing ideas off his wife. As a result, it turned out to be a very intimate and simple talk, with the unadorned and personal feel of a perfect Steve Jobs product.

Another timely video: Here’s Steve Jobs on What Privacy Means to Apple