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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A quote from Steve Jobs

Here's a quote from Steve Jobs speech that I found very moving and makes me rethink of what I pursue in my life.

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5ยข deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. 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.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky โ€“ I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. 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 โ€“ I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. 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. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

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 โ€“ 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.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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 other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.


Friday, July 22, 2005


Back to office, today my boss is on training, so it's not busy at all *big grin*. So I'm going to write about my experience during the past one and a half week on training at KL.

Sunday, July 10, 2005:
The night before I left, I played games at Nexus with my friends John, Imam, Kustini (Imam's gf), and Marcus. I played with John until 5.30 am, then we went home. I was so tired. I went straight to bed to sleep until 11 am. Then my big sister started to yell to wake me up (her shrieking voice woke me up instantly). Oh god... I still haven't made the preparation for leaving! I was helped by my big sister to pack (yeah, she tried to help, but she just made it slower).

Then me and my sisters (Amanda and Shishi) went to the airport to drop me and also to meet my parents that will also arrived on Jakarta. I met Helmi and Ditto at the airport. I still could meet my dad for 10 minutes in KFC. Then I should go. My mom will arrived in the next hour but I don't have much time left.

One and a half hour in the plane, we arrived at KL International Airport. Looking confused, we were approached by a man with a tie and nice suit then he asked us where we stay, then he helped Helmi with his traveling bag. But as he took us to a transportation company, we reluctantly agreed to use Mercedez to go to our hotel and back to airport (two-way trip) with 300 rm payment in advance. Since that moment, we often used "two-way" word to make fun of ourselves that had been easily tricked!

The first night there I tried 'nasi lemak' (yummy) in a place near the office and order 'ice kosong' (haha they know this word as I suspected). Ditto was quite surprised. Along our way back to hotel, he wore a step measurement device that could count how may steps we make when we walk or run, what a strange useless device!

Monday, July 11, 2005:
I overslept. My phone alarm was set wrong because of the time difference. Not having breakfast, I rushed go to the Schlumberger office at Rohas Perkasa street. My two friends were already there (yeah, what a great friends hehehe). When I arrived there, all of the trainee has sit nicely and waiting for the class to begin. The class finally started at 09.30 (grrr if I've known that, I would have had a nice breakfast first in hotel). Then the boring class started... It's about Linux cluster something.

Skip the boring part...

Everyday we tried something new to eat. Then on the night, we went to KLCC mall (Petronas twin tower) and ate at a Thailand cafe. I'm not quite fond of the northern asian food (Thai, Myanmar, Korean, Japan), they have a strange concept of what's a good taste is. But Helmi seems very willing to try it so we go anyway. I tried their special menu 'tomyam' with noodles that taste funny, bah...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005:
I've received notification from my mobile phone that my international roaming function has been activated. It means I could send SMS now haha... Today we went to KL tower by foot. It's one of the tallest buildings in the world. It's quite far from our hotel (Crowne Plaza), so we walked for 30 minutes I think. We watched sunset there. Then rain started to fall. We walked in the rain. Helmi got sick that day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005:
We went to China town today. I bought two watches for my greedy big sister. It's very cheap because it's not original. Then it's raining again. We tried Indian food, I like the spicy flavor of Indian food, it's very tasty, nyum... Ditto ordered the same food as I did, I think we have a common food selection (we both very very like junk food like KFC, McD, but Ditto always say that he only like a subset of food that I like... yeah right). Ditto spotted that there's 4 McD and KFC around the China Town haha...

Thursday, July 14, 2005:
We made a reservation on Awana hotel, Genting highland for this weekend. We were very excited to go to Genting. It's the recommended hotel by Ditto's sister. In the evening, Helmi got worsed. I went to Times Square with Ditto. We both watched 3D movie in IMAX. It's titled Haunted Castle. We felt the objects seem to be in front of us. During the movie, I saw Ditto trying to 'reach' the objects with his hand with no luck. We ate fried rice that day. It's became our favorite meal.

Friday, July 15, 2005:
The training suddenly finished. Why?? But I don't care. It's Genting that's what keep my interest now. That evening, the three of us went to Law Yet plaza that sell cheap computer stuff. I bought HP Office Jet 2550 that have phone, fax, printer, scanner, copier built-in for only 500 rm. Ditto felt sorry that he didn't bring his broken handphone, the sparepart price was just half the price as in Indonesia. We watched another 3D movie in IMAX about a girl that feels like she was in a jungle with real dinosaurs when she visited her father's office in the museum. What a lunatic girl... We ate the same fried rice again. It's so spicy, tasty, with a very fried chicken that crunch at every bite in your mouth, aaargh...

Saturday, July 16, 2005:
The fun day has arrived!!! Too bad, Helmi got worse again. He can't join us to Genting. So Ditto and I went to Bird Park in the morning in hope that Helmi will get better in the afternoon. We were dissapointed to find there's very few kind of birds there. The ad said it's largest bird park in Asia (yeah right!). The only strange kind of bird there is 'burung onta'.

We ate in a restaurant in Bird Park. I ordered "Mie Mamak" (Mother's noodles haha). We went back to Hotel, but Helmi said he doesn't feel well. But Ditto and myself were already very much like to experience the cold weather and the natural forest and trees in Awana. So we went to Genting anyway. We took monorail from hotel, then switched to Putra RLT to Gombak. Then we took a bus that would take us directly to Genting Theme Park. We arrived at 6 pm.

In Genting Theme Park, I took Sky Ride, a ride that makes us experience how to feel like superhero flying around with great speed. It took us up, down, twirl, spin horizontal, vertical. It definitely not comfortable to be Superhero flying around!! Too bad the other two persons beside me don't scream, so I just hold my scream in my stomach. Ditto was having fun shooting me with my camera while I hold my breath forcing my scare down. He just laughed and said no when I forced him to try this "joyful" ride (hey that's not fair). Then we went into Snow world. So this is how snow feels like! I took snow games, riding down a snow path using a big rubber tires. But this time I forced Ditto first. Haha now he looked scared as hell wakakak...

Then we took Awana Skyway, a cable car that took us straight to a station very near to the hotel. There's already a shuttle bus waiting. In our room, we watched some not interesting movies in TV, and then Ditto went to sleep. While Ditto was sleeping, I marked exciting places in Genting Theme Park based on magazine review while sipping a nice hot coffee.

Sunday, July 17, 2005:
When I woke up, Ditto already wear a nice shirt and went downstair to have breakfast. Why so hurry?? I took a bath, then went downstair having a breakfast with a forrest hill view and cold wind blew at us. Wow it's so nice! I ate like a pig, Ditto watched me finished my meal in awe. After we checked out from Hotel, we took the Hotel shuttle bus to Genting Skyway. I took a camera recording the fun trip to Genting Theme Park using cable car. It's very refreshing to feel the cold morning wind that flew directly from forrest hills. It's like in the first part of "Sound of the Music" movie.

We played casino. I won 10 rm there! I followed the simple tips: stop when you win. Ditto also tried the casino machine and he has won 15 rm but he kept playing, and he lost all of his winning (I told you!!). When we entered the casino in the morning and later in the evening, Ditto was TWICE mistakenly identified as kid under 21, he must show his ID to the security to prove his age (hahaha...).

After we ate at McD, finally Ditto agreed to take Flying Dragon ride. He seemed very scared, he held the safety bar very firmly along the way. He said it's a very wild dragon haha... In fact, it's a very nice ride compared to the Sky Ride! I asked Ditto to try the Space Shot, a ride where we will be lifted up high to the sky, and then drop to the ground with enormous speed then lifted up again. He said no way. Tired to force Ditto to take the "exciting" rides with no success, I tried the Sky Venture ride alone. This is a ride where we are blown by 190 km/h wind from below so that we could really fly inside. It's very hard to keep your body stable. I almost blown to the top when I'm not carefully followed the trainer instructor to keep my sight parallel to the ground. When I looked down, suddenly my body went up and I almost panicked. It's very scary but excited as well! (Ditto you don't know what you miss heheheh...).

Then we ate at Kenny Rogers. In my two days with Ditto, we ate KFC in the first night, then McD this afternoon, then Kenny Rogers now haha. They're all junk food. I don't want to know my cholesterol level right now.

When we waited for our bus to arrive at 9 pm, a cold wind from rain outside blew makes me shivering, brrrr.... We arrived back to Hotel at 23 pm.

Monday, July 18, 2005:
I went breakfast at 10.15. Very late to enter the class, I decided to join the class after the first break. The mentor was from Beijing, a small lady with white nurse dress. Her English pronounciation was beyond comprehension. She used words like "so lis" (so this), "is le lim", "le job" (the job), "ifu" (if you). Being sick and unable to take more torture from her, Helmi went to hotel after lunch. Ditto and I went to Garuda office in Ampang street to get the sticker for our tickets. On the way back to Office, we went through KLCC, made a wrong turn there and accidently found "Helmi's park" (a couple days before, Helmi insisted that there's a pool and park near KLCC, we have searched the area but never found that place until now).

At night, we went to Law Yet to buy USB drive 1 GB for Imam, my friend. Helmi suddenly wanted to eat 'sop buntut' (hahaha where on earth could we find it here). We went to the 10th floor of Times Square mall near IMAX theater for dinner. Helmi chose a kind of chicken soup, both Ditto and I ate our favorite food: fried rice. I really wanted to take roller coaster ride in Times Square, but Ditto and Helmi didn't want to take it (da*n).

Tuesday, July 19, 2005:
The last day of the class. This morning, I went breakfast on 08.25. I met Helmi in the elevator. Ditto was already finished with his breakfast, but he had to wait for us (if he didn't want to leave by himself bwahahah). In class, the trainer immediately used the strange Chinese-like words that in some parts contained recognizable English words. Most of the trainees were busy with their own laptop checking e-mail, browsing, etc. The ones that seemed still interested and paying attention to her were Bryan, our GigaViz instructor, and the two chinese trainees (maybe they could understand her language, but I'm not sure).

Finally the class finished early at 15.30. Some trainees said goodbye to each other and went back to hotel. We went to China Town later that evening. Then we took LRT to KLCC (Petronas Twin Tower Mall). We ate KFC there (finally Helmi agreed to eat junk food with us hehe). Then we watched Fantastic Four movies. Ditto already watched this movie, but he went with us anyway. Then in the night at 22.30, we took a picture of KLCC at night (thanks god, it's not raining this night) with night shot and flash. Cool! We could finally capture the lights from KLCC twin tower at night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005:
We checked out from the hotel at 10.30 am. In the airport, we exchanged the pictures from each other cameras during lunch. The plane departed at 13.30 and reached Jakarta at 15.40 (there's one hour time zone difference). Coincidently, my mom had just arrived from Banda Aceh, so I went back home with her. This trip was definitely one of the memorable experiences in my life.