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Monday, June 13, 2005

steve jobs tells graduates the virtues of dropping out

I love this story from the Washington Post. As Stanford University's commencement speaker, Jobs spoke of opportunities that opened up for him when he dropped out of college after only eight months.
Jobs, 50, said he attended Reed College in Portland, Ore., but dropped out after only eight months because it was too expensive for his working-class family. He said his real education started when he "dropped in" on whatever classes interested him _ including calligraphy.

Jobs said he lived off 5-cent soda recycling deposits and free food offered by Hare Krishnas while taking classes.

He told the graduates that few friends could see the value of learning calligraphy at the time but that painstaking attention to detail _ including mastering different "fonts" _ was what set Macintosh apart from its competitors.

"If I had never dropped out I might never have dropped in on that calligraphy," Jobs said.
I find it very interesting that neither Jobs nor Bill Gates ever completed college. I do believe there is way too much emphasis placed on the necessity of obtaining a college degree for success. The problem arises when the degree becomes your focus instead of learning. I am not generalizing here - I know there are many young people these days who utilize all the resources available in their quest for knowledge, many of these resources outside of the classroom. The educational establishment, which in many ways gets in the way of learning, stands a lot to lose from the success stories of people who bucked the system. But Kudos to Stanford for inviting Jobs!


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