Growth5 Blog

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Steve Jobs Bio

I just read (listened to) Steve Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson. It's an extraordinary look into the life of Steve Jobs. Isaacson conducted a series of approximately 40 interviews over the past decade and up until the last weeks of Mr. Jobs' life.

Isaacson writes that “Jobs revolutionized or re-imagined seven industries: Personal Computers, Animated Movies, Music, Telephones, Tablet Computing, Digital Publishing, and Retail Stores. He did it by standing at the crossroads of science and the humanities, connecting creativity with technology and combining leaps of imagination with feats of engineering to produce new devices that consumers hadn’t even thought of.”

I'll never forget what it was like going from the Treo to my first iPhone. It was like a product from the future. It couldn't make calls (AT&T's fault) but who cared, it was a tiny computer that fit into your pocket.

Of course we take it all for granted because it's all about the latest and greatest technology...but the iPhone, downloading music from iTunes, the iPad, my Macbook Pro... thank you Steve Jobs.

In looking at what made Steve Jobs tick, we can look at his 2005 Stanford commencement address. He told three stories.

1. Connecting the dots: Jobs was adopted, when his birth mother put him up for adoption she demanded that he go to college. Jobs dropped out Reed College, but he audited a calligraphy course. When designing the mac he included various elements of this typography into the system.
"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."
2. Love and loss: Jobs lost his job at Apple and eventually found it refreshing to start over, marking it one of the most creative periods of his life. He started NeXT (and built software that would eventually turn into MAC OS X and provide for his return to Apple), and he founded Pixar.
"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."
3. Death: Jobs had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer (which would eventually lead to his death).
"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...
...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."

Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

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