“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”


Steve Job’s 2005 Stanford commencement speech is a perfect example of effective public speaking, as it demonstrates perfect understanding of its exigence, audience, and constraints. As Job speaks to graduating students who are entering the work force, he realizes that there are students who are unsure of what their future brings as well as others who have the potential to get sucked into a profession that they do not enjoy. Through finding this common ground, he then is able to effectively demonstrate the importance of following one’s heart and not settling until love and happiness are achieved. Job is also obviously aware of his role in the occasion (a type of constraint) as he demonstrates sincerity in his delivery, especially beginning with a proper salutation. Although many commencement speeches can be long and drawn out, Job is also aware of the constraints of his audience’s attention span and therefore utilizes power brief to his advantage. By splitting his speech into three stories, his message becomes more effective in keeping the audience engaged.

In each of the stories, a strong sense of cohesiveness is established with the organization, making the message stronger. Job begins each section with a power point and supports these points with ethos, pathos, and logos. As the speech begins, he establishes his credibility by making it known that he is the creator of Apple without displaying arrogance. In the first story, he further explains that because he made the sacrifice of dropping out of college to take classes that he wanted, it lead him to creating the typography in Macintosh computers that were copied by other computer companies including Windows. Because nearly all of his audience members have been impacted by computer typography, his personal story is a credible and logical example of what he is trying to convey: to trust that following your gut will lead to somewhere in the future. He further uses logos in his analogy that “it is impossible to connect dots looking forward” and that believing in connecting the dots is important because it will give people confidence to follow their heart and achieve something that has meaning (even if it involves going on an unknown path like him).

In his second story, Job establishes his credibility through describing how he founded NeXT and Pixar, one of the most successful animation companies in America. He uses pathos to describe that at the low point of his life after being fired from his own company and publicly humiliated, the only thing that kept him going was doing what he loved. Because he still loved what he did, this led him to starting NeXT and Pixar. This story also establishes the logic behind his power point: if you are not doing something that you love, keep looking, don’t settle.

In his last story, Job grabs the attention of the audience by using a quote as a power opener. He states, “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” Job explains that this quote has been influential to him starting at age 17 because to him, remembering that he will be dead soon reveals what really matters in life. However, his credibility and the speech’s emotional peak is not achieved until he reveals that he was a survivor of pancreas. Job explains that facing death made “death” more than just an intellectual concept. Because this story involves more pathos, the audience is lead to accepting his message: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life” and “have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Finally, after sharing three important and inspirational stories of his life, Job leaves the audience with a short and catchy goal: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” By explaining that it is something that he wishes for himself, he ends his speech bringing himself to a common level with his audience, making his ultimate message more sincere and therefore motivational.

Irene Tsai


1 comment so far

  1. brownk19 on

    I really enjoyed this speech too. He is able to develop a strong speech becaue he demonstrates a great understanding of his audience, exigence, and constraint. His opener is great. He includes a small joke and is able to capture the audiences attention right away.

    He is also able to connect to the audience by relating his story back to his time at college. By looking back at his college experience he is able to relate and entertain the audience. Also, he is able to connect with the audience with his second story, drawing on the idea that its okay to be fired and stay hungry and go out and get a job. He really sends the message to the students that they need to find something they love to do and do something they believe is great work. Keep looking and dont settle. He really delivers these messages well within the context of his stories.

    Like Irene said, he is able to know the constraints of the speech. He only speaks for 15 minutes and never goes off the path but stays inside a great time period.

    Great speech overall. Only complaint about the speech is that he did not look up enough from his note but did not seem to effect the speech that much.

    Kyle Brown

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