I remember when we bought a Macintosh SE computer and the Corel publishing software Pagemaker in the mid eighties. That cost about four thousand dollars but it launched my wife into the desktop publishing world. She create pamphlets, fliers, guides, and all kinds of other documents. She would fuss forever over the details of the layout. Now I have a daughter who does that for a living, having been taught by her mother the importance of meticulous spacing, kerning, and layout. They would work together on projects throughout elementary and middle school years. We left Apple, like a lot of people in the nineties when the company lost its way in design and functionality. We came back with the new laptops and pretty much all the kids are on Powerbook Pro’s. It is a ridiculously easy machine but it is also maddening in that I don’t understand how it works. I understand DOS, bios, and how to manuever around inside of the Windows programs to fix and correct things. I don’t have a clue when it comes to a Mac. But I have to say that they shaped the artistic voice of my family.
Here is a segment of Job’s commencement address to Stanford in 2005. This speaks to me because it has been my mantra to my children, if you follow your passion then the money will come. RIP Steve Jobs.
“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 others’ 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.”