Archive for October, 2014

October 31, 2014

This is Why People Leave Your Company

There are a number of ways to keep your best people, but no silver bullet. As you think through your own retention strategy, remember the following:

  • Recognize that employees have lives outside of work — cultivate a deep respect for employees’ time.
  • When employees leave because of their boss, it rarely comes from personality mismatches; it stems from a lack of confidence
  • Counteroffers are (an expensive) band-aid; they won’t fix an employee’s fundamental unhappiness.
  • Building a genuine sense of community is crucial to employee retention. Make sure your hiring process incorporates and heavily weighs cultural fit.
  • Hashing out a concrete “work from home” policy can improve employee happiness/retention, but it’s largely dependent on your organization’s needs. Make sure you’re being fair across the board.
  • Good mentorship happens organically, and should be directed by employee interests and growth. It also creates another opportunity for a natural, short feedback loop you can definitely use.
  • It’s never too early to invest in good HR, whether it’s processes or people. This can absolutely include HR contractors. An outside perspective can be invaluable for founders who need big-picture reality checks.
October 23, 2014

The platform wars go local


The Android and iOS duopoly commands the attention of both developers and consumers and remains firmly established. However, the platform wars are not over.

On a global level Microsoft is still fighting to build a sustainable third ecosystem and making some headway with developers, 28% of whom now adopt the platform, despite failing to make significant device market share gains. The mobile computing market is so much bigger than any before it, that even a tiny share of the market represents an installed base that is too large for developers with global ambitions to ignore. Apps aiming for maximum reach with an advertising- supported business model, or social apps depending on network effects target any platform with the potential for tens of millions of users. At the same time, these global apps are now a table stake for new platforms. A platform without WhatsApp or Instagram, for example, will struggle to gain acceptance in many countries.

Developer attention consolidates

The problem for any platform wanting to challenge the duopoly appears at a regional or local level. This is also the level at which the battle between Android and iOS continues. With global apps available on all platforms, the strongest differentiators becomes the niche and local apps. In order to compete with their peers, these smaller developers increasingly choose to focus on fewer platforms.

The average number of platforms a developer targets has fallen from 2.9 a year ago, through 2.5 in our Q1 report to 2.2 in this survey. If we exclude games developers (see chapter 6) the average number of platforms targeted is just 1.75 with 43% of those only targeting 1 platform. Developer mindshare for iOS is down slightly over the last 6 months but this is not fewer developers making the platform their primary target, just fewer choosing to support both Android and iOS. In most local markets developer mindshare is related to platform market share, with a bias towards iOS due to its disproportionate share of the high-end customers – latest official figures imply that the average iOS user is worth 4 Android users in terms of store revenues. Eastern Europe and the former CIS is an interesting exception to this rule; Android has a massive majority of device sales locally, yet 38% of developers prefer iOS, exporting their apps to wealthy western markets. Russia in particular has a high concentration of Hunters, developers seeking direct revenues from the app economy, combining their excellent technical skills and lower living costs to compete for direct revenues on the App Store. In a world where the developers that differentiate platforms now focus on only the top 1 or 2 platforms in their region, challenger platforms don’t stand much chance of growing their market share.

Windows Phone hanging on, BlackBerry 10 sees weaker traction

BlackBerry 10 has been hit hardest here as they attempted to sell premium devices without a broad selection of valuable local content and services. Without significant device sales, developer mindshare has fallen to just 11%. They have now decided to ship their devices with Amazon’s App Store, moving the focus of their developer outreach to enterprise and Internet of Things offerings.

In contrast, Microsoft has been able to gain some traction with lower cost devices aiming at first-time smartphone buyers with a trusted brand device, offering a superior overall experience to a comparably priced Android device. The problem with this low-end device strategy is that these users don’t spend as much on apps and are less attractive to brand advertisers, which in turn makes them an unattractive target for developers. With Google having launched the Android One initiative to provide a quality Android experience in emerging markets at under $100, Microsoft’s window of opportunity here may be closing. They are up against formidable network effects that make it impossible to win the race with money alone.

HTML5 developers are abandoning the browser

Web technologies have had a very bad year in the battle for developer mindshare. In our last survey (Q1 2014) we asked developers if they used HTML5 as a platform to target mobile devices. We also asked how they used the technology: 37% of HTML5 developers were building websites or web apps and a further 15% built hybrid apps or used tools like Appcelerator Titanium to build native apps with JavaScript. Since HTML5 is a set of technologies and the browser is the distribution platform, this time we asked developers if they targeted the mobile browser as a platform. We also asked about the programming languages developers use. The result is that only 15% of developers are targeting mobile browsers and a total of 42% are using HTML, CSS & JavaScript at all. It’s now clear that the majority of developers using web technologies are not targeting mobile browsers. Although there are still a lot of hybrid app developers, the overall proportion of developers using HTML5 on mobile devices is falling, both through those switching to native code and new entrants adopting native platforms.

October 23, 2014

To go native, or not to go native, that is the question devs face

How many developers are building native apps? What other languages do they use if they don’t go native? Our survey data has the answers.


Adopting the native language and frameworks for a platform represents a significant learning investment and also makes it more difficult to port apps to other platforms. The trade-offs are the ability to exploit all of the functionality and performance of the platform and the capability to deliver an experience that matches device users expectations precisely. On the other hand, by adopting a cross- platform approach developers can save significant development costs when targeting multiple platforms, making it easier to adopt each new platform. As such, we can use the fraction of developers using the native language on each platform as a measure of developer investment and loyalty.

Android leads iOS in priority and loyalty

Android is pulling significantly ahead of iOS as a primary platform globally (42% versus 32% of developers). This is despite the fact that Android-first development is not very common amongst the high- profile startups that attract all of the media attention in the West. Then iOS also has a lower percentage of developers building apps in its native Objective-C (53%) than Android developers building native Java apps (58%). If we combine these measures we have 24% of mobile developers primarily creating native Android apps against just 17% creating native iOS apps; that’s a significant advantage to Google’s ecosystem in terms of fully invested developers. The paradox here is that Apple and Google both seem to be making strategic moves to close the gap. Apple recognised a weakness with the relatively small population of Objective-C developers prior to the launch of the iPhone and initially banned all third-party runtimes and cross-platform tools, forcing developers to learn Objective-C. Having relaxed those rules to keep up on application volume they’ve now created Swift, which they hope will lower the perceived barriers to entry for native development. Google’s strategy on the other hand would really like everyone using web technology so they can more effectively track users for ad targeting purposes. Their latest design and technology moves blur the lines between native apps and the web. They are indexing apps like websites and allowing searches to deep link. The new Material design lets developers build UIs with a completely native feel using native or web technologies.

Microsoft developers the most loyal?

Windows Phone developers have the highest levels of investment in their platform with 63% developing apps in the native language, C#. There are likely multiple reasons for this; first it is hard to develop most types of app cross-platform and target Windows Phone because the UI is very different from the other platforms; second, cross- platform games built using Unity (the most popular tool) are also likely to be using C#; third, Microsoft’s changes to what can can’t be used to develop for the platform between WP7 and WP8 make it very difficult to target both versions (and thus the entire installed base) in many other ways.
Microsoft has far greater developer mindshare in its tooling than its platform. There are almost as many developers using C# with iOS or Android as their primary platform via Unity and Xamarin as there are building native apps for Windows Phone. In the case of Xamarin, developers have to learn the native UI framework on their target platform as the tool provides a thin wrapper around the APIs. This still involves significant investment in the platform, whilst sticking with a preferred language. There are about twice as many C# developers primarily targeting iOS versus Android, suggesting that many of them may be using a cross-platform tool to target just the one platform. This data suggests that Microsoft should accelerate their recent moves to embrace the other platforms with their tools as well products. In the same way that Satya Nadella’s new strategy has Microsoft’s products embrace other platforms, they can enable existing C# developers to keep using their technology without missing out on the obvious scale advantages of the other platforms.

BlackBerry developers are keeping their options open

For the loyal few remaining developers that still prioritise BlackBerry 10 you might expect to find the highest levels of investment in native apps. Instead, we see the lowest level of native app developers at 43% and the greatest fraction of web developers at 27%. This is partly due to BlackBerry 10 having first class web apps, which goes some way towards explaining this. It’s also a safety net as building a web app, even one that uses some native platform APIs, does leave developers with a fairly portable code base if things don’t work out. Java is less popular as a primary language at only 3% of those that prioritise BlackBerry 10, yet much more popular amongst those who also target the platform. Adding an Android runtime is a viable way to bootstrap an app offering with low cost ports, but it doesn’t buy you any developer loyalty. In this context it’ll be interesting to watch the fortunes of the initially successful Amazon Fire OS and Nokia X platforms as they inevitably diverge further from Google’s version of Android.

“The gap between HTML and native is widening. The native SDKs introduce new APIs at a faster rate than HTML5 can keep up with. To harness the power of these new APIs native is the only viable option.”

Peter Oloo,
Managing Architect and Strategist – Dotmax IT Ltd

October 19, 2014

Kenyatta University Partners With Firms To Offer Paid Internships


Kenyatta University, my Alma mater, has signed a deal with 50 companies to offer paid internships for its students.Some of the companies that have signed up to the programme include Safaricom, Nation Media Group, Britam, KCB, Family Bank, PwC, Ecobank, Co-op Bank, ABC Bank, SevenSeas and the Chandaria Group.

The placement programme is expected to offer learners opportunities to gain experience and network with employers.
The university launched the initiative in June, targeting continuing students in their second year of study onwards. It will see learners work for up to five months per academic year each time they are off-session.


Olive Mugenda, KU’s vice-chancellor, said 100 students will be absorbed by the firms in the first edition which started in July 1.

“Unlike typical internships where students are not paid, the proposed programme will require that students be paid like other employees at a rate to be agreed upon by the employers,” said Prof Mugenda during the launch.

“About 50 companies have registered with us already while others have shown interest.”

The vice-chancellor said the number of students admitted in the initiative is set to grow as the varsity creates more linkages.

Gender rule

The KU deal is a boon to both students and companies as it gives employers an avenue to select the most talented and innovative learners to work for them.

Firms will be provided with academic and discipline background of top learners, easing the selection process. The companies will then have the option of recruiting the learners after completing their studies.

Students will apply at the university before being picked based on academic performance and discipline, with the one-third gender rule observed.

The launch now offers students a structured platform to alternate study and work.

“It will give the students a total of one and a half to two years of work experience,” said Prof Mugenda.

The idea is modelled around a Canadian concept dubbed Co-op Education where universities have established solid linkages with industry where learners are put in a study-work programme that contributes to their overall college performance.

Employers have continually raised concerns over a glaring gap between formal education and industry skill needs among graduates.

October 19, 2014

Twitter and IFTTT Kiss and Make Up


Twitter and IFTTT have made peace; or, at the very least, the two companies have worked together to create some new, awesome triggers, which IFTTT officially unveiled today.

If you’re scratching your head and wondering what all that means, we’ve got you covered. Twitter, as you might recall, is a ubiquitous microblogging service. IFTTT, which stands for “If This, Then That,” is a website that allows you to create links between different services based on rules and triggers. For example, you can tell IFTTT to flick your Philips Hue smart lights on and off whenever ESPN indicates that your favorite team has scored. Or, if you prefer a less dramatic approach, IFTTT can send a notification to Android.

Twitter and IFTTT had a bit of a falling out in 2012, when Twitter tightened up the policies for its API and ended up killing off some of the more useful ways you could interact with the service via IFTTT—including ways you could use IFTTT to save topical tweets to cloud storage. IFTTT brought back new Twitter triggers last year that were more in line with Twitter’s API restrictions, but it just wasn’t the same.

Today’s triggers, however, bring IFTTT and Twitter back to the old days, a move that’s sure to please those who have been upset about the loss of the prior functionality ever since. Now, you can chain Twitter to Google Docs and have IFTTT automatically populate a spreadsheet with any tweets that include a specific hashtag. You can also run a search on Twitter and update Slack with the results you’ve found.

If you want to get a little crazier, you can set up an IFTTT rule that allows you to receive a daily emailed digest of tweets that were posted from a particular location, assuming Twitter users have geo-tagging enabled. You can also do the same for anyone who sends a tweet from a particular neighborhood (useful for when your neighbors are complaining on Twitter about your house party).

Other rules include the ability to receive a notification on your Android or Apple smartphone whenever a particular person you like tweets out a message. And, of course, the ability to have your Philips Hue lights blink whenever someone mentions you on Twitter (here’s hoping you’re not super popular, lest your living room turn into a rave).

To take advantage of these new features, be sure to check out IFTTT’s blog post, where you’ll be able to add them into your IFTTT roster of rules with just a few mouse clicks.

October 19, 2014

Dropbox Hacked! Claims Of 7 Million Accounts Compromised


It would be a great idea right about now to head on to your Dropbox account and change your password before the exact details come to the fore. This is after ann anonymous Reddit user pasted some hundreds of usernames and passwords for Dropbox accounts with a threat to leak more should he get donations via Bitcoin.

The person claims to have compromised over 7 million accounts and has pasted usernames and passwords for some 400 Dropbox accounts on Pastebin. Dropbox has already initiated a password reset action for users even though the cloud service company has not owned up to the hack. This won’t be the first time Dropbox has been compromised and coming so close after iCloud compromise this puts cloud computing at quite a bad PR when many more are convincing users that they are secure with their data online.

Dropbox has enabled two-factor authentication and users who have set this up need not to worry, though it’s recommended to change the password still.

Dropbox removes the blame on themselves for the hack saying that this was not tied up to their services exactly but the compromise came from third party services. See below their statement.

Dropbox has not been hacked. These usernames and passwords were unfortunately stolen from other services and used in attempts to log in to Dropbox accounts. We’d previously detected these attacks and the vast majority of the passwords posted have been expired for some time now. All other remaining passwords have been expired as well.

October 10, 2014

Experts fault Kenya’s cyber security after 18-month test

cyber crime

Kenya’s cyber security remains among the weakest in the world despite the central role technology has assumed in the country’s economy, Information Security experts have warned.
Millions of mobile phone subscribers and internet users remain exposed to snooping and data interception because the service providers are using outdated network security software, industry regulators were told.
Tyrus Muya, my fellow information security expert, said that an 18-month test on the security of consumers using the four telecommunication networks had produced unsatisfactory results.
The consultant said he had managed to intercept voice traffic and obtain temporary secret keys for some subscribers, revealing the high level exposure.
Mr Muya said all the four telecommunication service providers Essar, Airtel, Telkom and Safaricom are using old technology to encrypt information, making them susceptible to attacks.
The older technologies, A5/1 and A5/2, attracted global attention mid this year when a German cryptographer, Karsten Nohl, revealed that he was able to manipulate mobile handsets into granting access to device location, SMS functions and allow changes to voicemail number.
Telkom Kenya has said it had started migration to a safer platform.
Kenya’s four telecoms operators have a combined subscriber base of 30 million.
Digital security has become even more critical in the recent past because more than two thirds of the 30 million subscribers use mobile money transfer services or mobile banking that require high level security.
“Our survey has so far revealed that anyone with basic knowledge of encryption and GSM technology together with an investment of a Universal Software Radio Peripheral can gain access and listen to the voice communication from the four operators,” said Mr Muya, at an Information Security and Public Infrastructure forum, organized by ICT Authority.
The authority said the tests are meant to inform policy on regulation that will ensure the take the matter network security more seriously.
Mr Muya is among the growing number of local information security experts who are skilled in penetration testing on IT systems such as servers.
The tests are meant to determine vulnerability of such systems with the aim of sharing the acquired information with the affected parties or government agencies for purposes of policy formulation.
The tests come at as ICT Authority and industry regulator the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) are working on an online identity and verification system popularly known as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that will give each user a unique online identity (digital certificate) they must apply whenever they take part in online transactions.

October 8, 2014

Topyster Muga, new Airtel Money head

Topyster Muga

Bharti Airtel has appointment Topyster Muga and Venkateshwaran Ramakrishnan the new head of Airtel Money and Finance Director respectively for its operation in Kenya.

“I am delighted to have Topyster and Venkat join our leadership team in Kenya. They both bring along unique individual qualities, diverse cross cultural and international experience that will add to the quality of our leadership team’s capability to better serve our customers. I wish them the best of every success and prosperous careers in their assignments with us,” Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi said while commenting on the appointments.

In her pervious role, Muga was the principal product development Manager for M-PESA, Vodafone Group Services in the UK.

She comes with over eight years experience in the telecoms industry, five of which have been with Airtel Kenya and a year within Airtel Africa.

Muga started off as an IT project coordinator and development engineer and grew within the ranks to become Manager, Information Systems.

She then joined Airtel Africa in 2010 as Senior Manager, Group Value Added Services.

Muga holds a First Class Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from Kenyatta University.

Meanwhile, Ramakrishnan joined Airtel in India in 2006 as a Financial Reporting Manager. Prior to joining Airtel, Ramakrishnan worked for Vodaphone in Banglore where he was the Head of Consolidation for the Vodaphone Group in India.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Sir Sayatha Sayi and is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a member of the institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

October 8, 2014

Top Technology Trends for 2014

future technologies 2014Peter Oloo Blog is continually at the forefront of current technology trends. That’s just one of the reasons that my blog is the community for tech savvies. As a technology professional, keeping on top of tech trends is my responsibility. Below are a list of technology topics that will be trending in 2014.

1. Emergence of the Mobile Cloud
Mobile distributed computing paradigm will lead to explosion of new services.

Mobile and cloud computing are converging to create a new platform—one that has the potential to provide unlimited computing resources. Mobile devices are constrained by their memory, processing power, and battery life. But combined with cloud computing, data processing and storage can happen outside of mobile devices. What IDC calls the “Third Platform” will allow for better synchronization of data, improved reliability and scalability, increased ease of integration, anytime-anywhere access to business applications and collaborative services, rich user experiences, and an explosion of new services.

2. From Internet of Things to Web of Things
Need connectivity, internetworking to link physical and digital.

Going beyond the Internet of Things, where identifiable objects are seamlessly integrated into the information network, the Web of Things takes advantage of mobile devices’ and sensors’ ability to observe and monitor their environments, increasing the coordination between things in the real world and their counterparts on the Web. The Web of Things will produce large volumes of data related to the physical world, and intelligent solutions are required to enable connectivity, inter-networking, and relevance between the physical world and the corresponding digital world resources.

For more information, see the special issue on Web of Things.

3. From Big Data to Extreme Data
Simpler analytics tools needed to leverage the data deluge.

It’s more than the three Vs—volume, velocity, and variety—that make big data such a difficult tiger to tame. It’s that the technology world hasn’t quite caught up with the need for trained data scientists and the demand for easy-to-use tools that can give industries—from financial and insurance companies to marketing, healthcare, and scientific research organization—the ability to put the data they gather into meaningful perspective. The current era of extreme data requires new paradigms and practices in data management and analytics, and in 2014 the race will be on to establish leaders in the space.

4. The Revolution Will Be 3D
New tools, techniques bring 3D printing power to masses.

New 3D printing tools and techniques are empowering everyone from global corporations to do-it-yourselfers to create new devices and realize new concepts more quickly, cheaply, and easily than ever—from car parts, batteries, prosthetics, and computer chips to jewelry, clothing, firearms, and even pizza. A future where digital functionality can be “printed into” a physical object will continue to be built on in 2014, driven by new toolkits, services, and platforms and innovative business models and processes, such as online 3D printing bureaus and crowdfunding sites. Digital fabrication is revolutionizing the way that hardware is designed, prototyped, and produced. Advances in additive processes like 3D printing, and subtractive processes like laser cutting have increased the quality, speed, and ease of physical prototyping while simultaneously bringing down costs.

5. Supporting New Learning Styles
Online courses demand seamless, ubiquitous approach.

These days, students from all corners of the world can sign up for online classes to study everything from computer science, digital signal processing, and machine learning to European history, psychology, and astronomy–and all for free. As interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continues to explode, there will be a corresponding need for technology to support these new learning systems and styles. Platforms such as Coursera, with more than 3 million users and 107 partners; and edX, a partnership between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University with 1.7 million users; are hosting classes with thousands of online enrollees each. And although lectures are still the mainstay of MOOCs, the classes require web forums, online meetups, and keystroke loggers to check identities, as well as powerful servers to handle the volumes. MOOCs and other new online classes are creating a demand for learning that is seamless—happening continuously via different technologies; ubiquitous—drawing from pervasive and embedded technologies; and contextual—drawing awareness from location-based and other sensor-based technologies.

6. Next-generation mobile networks
Mobile infrastructure must catch up with user needs.

Ubiquitous mobile computing is all around us, not only when we use smartphones to connect with friends and family across states and countries, but also when we use ticketing systems on buses and trains, purchase food from mobile vendors, watch videos, and listen to music on our phones and portable music playing devices. As a result, mobile computing systems must rise to the demand. The Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update projects that global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold between 2011 and 2016. Many systems in urban areas take advantage of robust networking infrastructure, gigabit-bandwidth backbones, high-speed relays, and unlimited power and recharging capabilities. However, many operate within degraded network, power, or computing environments, such as for first-responders in a catastrophe, mobile phone users in remote regions or countries with degraded communication infrastructure, or when millions of people watch fireworks and overwhelm the local networking infrastructure. In these scenarios, the needs of mobile customers can outstrip the infrastructure’s capacities and result in degraded performance. Researchers must develop tools, middleware, and applications that can help with these quality-of-service issues.

7. Balancing Identity and Privacy
Growing risks and concerns about social networks.

Social networks have quickly become the key organizing principle of Internet communication and collaboration. Although Internet-enabled social networks offer tremendous opportunities, widespread interest in and growth of these systems raises new risks and growing concerns. For instance, social network users can be bullied, their pictures can be stolen, or their status posts can reach unwanted audiences. Even when profiles don’t list any information, social graphs can be analyzed to infer personal information. Risks are also related to identity management because, in these social scenarios, an individual’s online identity, which is strictly related to reputation and trust, is less and less virtual and has more and more impact on real, offline life. A battle now exists between individual privacy and the interests of the system at large.

8. Smart and Connected Healthcare
Intelligent systems, assistive devices will improve health.

Computing plays an important role in many facets of our lives, increasingly so in aspects of individual and social well-being. Individual health is encouraged with the development of intelligent systems, apps, gadgets, and mobile systems that focus on diet, exercise, and information provision. Medication, surgery, and assistive devices rely on intelligent systems to analyze data and human responses, guiding the implementation and management of therapies and interventions. In addition to work that focuses on individuals, there is a proliferation in use of intelligent systems for large-scale analysis of biomedical data, socially relevant data, and metadata, such as the spread of disease or certain health-habits in populations.

9. E-Government
Interoperability a big challenge to delivering information.

Electronic government, e-government, or digital government refers to the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to provide and improve government services, transactions, and interactions with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government. Interoperability is essential to broad success in e-government. Challenges emerging in this area focus on e-government interoperability in cloud computing, open government, and smart city initiatives.

10. Scientific Cloud Computing
Key to solving grand challenges, pursuing breakthroughs.

Scientific computing has already begun to change how science is done, enabling scientific breakthroughs through new kinds of experiments that would have been impossible only a decade ago. It is the key to solving “grand challenges” in many domains and providing breakthroughs in new knowledge, and it comes in many shapes and forms: high-performance computing (HPC), high-throughput computing (HTC), many-task computing (MTC), and data-intensive computing. Big data is generating datasets that are increasing exponentially in both complexity and volume, making their analysis, archival, and sharing one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Not surprisingly, it becomes increasingly difficult to design and operate large scale systems capable of addressing these grand challenges.

October 4, 2014

A must read – Inspiring Speech by Steve Jobs

Here we see Steve Jobs delivering his commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005.

Steve Jobs

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

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.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

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.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Famous Steve Quote: ‘I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.’ Tim Cook becomes Apple CEO

Steve Jobs former CEO of Apple Computers passed away at home on October 5, 2011 surrounded by his family. He was one of the greatest innovators and entrepreneurs in history, read more on Steve Jobs . . .