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10.07.11

15 Best Steve Jobs Quotes

The Apple visionary inspired a whole generation with his words. From his iconic Stanford University address to some choice words about competitor Bill Gates, read some of Jobs’s famous statements.

On His First Computer

“A neighbor down the block named Larry Lang was an engineer at Hewlett-Packard. He spent a lot of time with me, teaching me stuff. The first computer I ever saw was at Hewlett-Packard. They used to invite maybe 10 of us down every Tuesday night and give us lectures and let us work with a computer. I was maybe 12 the first time. I remember the night. They showed us one of their new desktop computers and let us play on it. I wanted one badly.”—Playboy interview, 1985

On Computers:

“It takes these very simple-minded instructions—‘Go fetch a number, add it to this number, put the result there, perceive if it’s greater than this other number’––but executes them at a rate of, let’s say, 1,000,000 per second. At 1,000,000 per second, the results appear to be magic.”—Playboy interview, 1985

On Design:

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”—Pitch to John Sculley to join Apple, 1985

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”—BusinessWeek, 1998

On Success:

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” [The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993]

“I’ll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I’ll sort of have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I’m not there, but I’ll always come back.”—Playboy interview, 1985

“I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year…  It’s very character building.”—In Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company (2004) by Owen W. Linzmayer

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”—NBC Nightly News, 2006

“We used to dream about this stuff. Now we get to build it. It’s pretty great.”—Keynote address at the Apple Worldwide Development Conference, 2004

“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.”—Stanford Commencement, 2005

On Competition:

“The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. I don’t mean that in a small way. I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas and they don’t bring much culture into their products. I have no problem with their success—they’ve earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.”—Triumph of the Nerds, 1996

“Nobody has tried to swallow us since I’ve been here. I think they are afraid how we would taste.”—Businessweek, 1998

On Technology:

“Look at the design of a lot of consumer products—they’re really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.”—Newsweek, 2006

“I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.”—Newsweek

On Life and Death

“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.”—Stanford Commencement Address, 2005

“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—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.”—Stanford University Commencement Address, 2005