R.I.P. Michael Hawley, the polymath who helped pen Steve Jobs’ famous commencement speech

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Mike Hawley
Hawley carried out pioneering work in multiple domains.
Photo: Choki Lhamo

Michael Hawley, the man who helped Steve Jobs write his famous 2005 Stanford commencement address, has died as a result of cancer at the age of 58.

Hawley, who shared a house with Jobs at one time and worked with him at NeXT, was a polymath and pioneer in his own right. At NeXT, he created one of the world’s first digital libraries. He also helped conceive of the Internet of Things, worked at MIT’s world-famous Media Lab, was scientific director for one of the first major scientific expeditions on Everest in 1998, and was an accomplished piano player and organist.

I had a few passing interactions with Mike Hawley over the years, and he was always exceptionally kind and polite. My most recent was last year when I contacted him to ask if he would speak with me about his role helping Jobs write his 2005 Stanford commencement address.

“I am touched,” he wrote. “But it’s not something I talk about publicly and was really just a favor for a dear friend who needed a sounding board.” When I told him what a wonderful speech I thought it was, he replied: “It was indeed wonderful and I’ve always felt it should be remembered simply and with the purity of heart intended.”

Rest in peace Dr. Hawley. While it’s just one of his many achievements, here’s the iconic speech he helped Steve to write:

Via: New York Times