Connecting The Dots

As I sat at my Mac last night and watched the world pay homage to Steve Jobs, it was interesting to see how many people referenced his now very famous Stanford commencement speech and how different pieces of it have personally moved people. I often wonder if the graduates in the audience that day realized the magnitude of his words and what they’ve gone on to do with their lives.

Almost 10 years ago, my partner Phil sent me the link to this brief but remarkable talk. I remember quite clearly how it affected me then and I’ve watched it many times in the ensuing years. While the entire speech is brilliant, one particular passage has helped me make some of the most important decisions in my life, including a very big one recently. I know that without hearing these words ringing in my ears over the last decade, I wouldn’t have had the courage to consider moving past Highway 12 Ventures (the firm that’s become such a big part of who I am) and turn the page to the next chapter of my professional life.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference.”

The message behind these words is not unique. My wife Pam has her own version and they’re represented in one of the few pieces of art we own. “Trust That The Wind Knows Where It’s Going” hangs in our home as a talisman for our family and Pam has often used it as guidance for all of us.

I’ll never forget these 15 minutes. Thanks for these words Steve. They continue to help shape who I am and who I’d like to become…

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  • […] we announced our new $150 million fund at Techstars. Many people have heard Steve Jobs’ famous speech about only being able to connect the dots looking backward and I’ve been reflecting lately on […]

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