I never met Steve Jobs in person, but I make a living using his products and have admired him as far back as I can remember. When I was in high school, I wrote to him (he was still at NeXT at the time) for career advice, figuring there’s no way I’d ever see a response. I got one. I’ve posted this before, but after today I think it’s worth sharing again.
My note (excuse the high school-level writing) sent on 6/12/94:
Dear Mr. Jobs,
I am very impressed by your life. I am a 16 year old male and I’m typing this letter on a Mac. I have a question for you. I am positive that I want to go into a career in the computer field. I love to draw, I can read music, I like fooling around with stuff, I like e-mail and I can program in BASIC and I’m trying to learn some other languages. What kind of career involves any of those things? How does one break into the industry these days? What kinds of classes should I take? I know these are a lot of questions, but I would greatly appreciate it if you could mail me back.
Steve’s reply on 6/13/94:
My suggestion is to go to a great college or university, at least for a year or two. Don’t limit your study to just computer science, but rather explore everything that catches your heart. This will serve you well later in your life.
I have always remembered a phrase I read when I was your age: stay hungry, stay foolish.
I believe it more now than ever.
R.I.P. Steve, from an Apple-product-loving liberal arts graduate that is both hungry and foolish.