The genius of Steve Jobs lies in his hippie period and with his time at Reed College, the pre-eminent Liberal Arts college in North America. To his understanding of technology, Jobs brought an immersion in popular culture. In his 20s, he dated Joan Baez; Ella Fitzgerald sang at his 30th birthday party. His worldview was shaped by the ’60s counterculture in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he had grown up, the adopted son of a Silicon Valley machinist. When he graduated from high school in Cupertino in 1972, he said, “the very strong scent of the 1960s was still there. After dropping out of Reed College, a stronghold of liberal thought in Portland, Ore., in 1972, Mr. Jobs led a countercultural lifestyle himself. He told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand.

If You Get Technology “Convergence” Wrong, Nothing Else Matters I came across this book during my most recent […]

Most people probably have no idea who Jeanette Symons was as a person, or even her name. Yet, she became one of Silicon Valley’s most famous entrepreneurs. She tragically died in the crash of her Lear Jet with her adopted son, some years ago. She is right up there with Steve Jobs in terms of her accomplishments, her intellect, and her utterly horrible personality. I worked for Jeanette. This article from the San Francisco Chronicle is an excellent exploration of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and the “a**hole” conundrum of their eccentricities that can also make them highly successful. There has also been a recent major controversy about SV entrepreneurs arrogance and insensitivity to others. This is definitely NOT Canadian. My fear is that Canadians are not prepared for it. My students know that I have experienced this personally in my Silicon Valley career numerous times, most notably with the late Jeanette of Ascend Communications, who was a notorious asshole like Steve Jobs. Not easy to reconcile it, other than to live with it.

In honor to my UBC Management students graduating this month and early next month, I am posting this compilation of videos of commencement speeches. Yes, the Steve Jobs’ legendary Stanford commencement address is here (Jobs wore his trademark levi’s under his academic gown), but the others are equally compelling. The David Foster Wallace “What is Water?” speech is also here, but as a link to that video at the bottom of this post.

The Wall Street Journal has highlighted this commencement speech, and I thought it so good, I had to share it here with my UBC Management students. It is at least as good as Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford commencement address, and it was also given in the same year, 2005.

In a further episode of my earlier posts on the Mega Mobile Market Share War, it would seem that International Data Corporation (IDC) and Gartner, the two leading high tech industry analysis firms, are haggling over whether the precipitous drop in quarterly PC sales is 11. 2% or 14%. It also adds evidence to the accelerating rate of change in the corporate life cycle. Corporate life cycle events that took a decade are now occurring in a few short years.