Friday, October 7, 2011

In Memory of Steve Jobs, A Brief History, and Invaluable Life Lessons

Yesterday, October 5th, Steve Jobs, one of the world's most influential force in design, technology and innovation.  He is sure to become immortalized and forever remembered as such.  He pioneered the world's first personal computer, feature length 3-d animated film, and combining emotion with computer interaction.  He was a believer that design and engineering needed to be blended together from the start, not a two step process.

A brief of history highlights 

Imitation is the best form of flattery- During a 1979 visit to the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Jobs again spotted mass potential in a niche invention: a computer that allowed people to access files and control programs with the click of a mouse, not typed commands. He returned to Apple and ordered the team to copy what he had seen.

User Centered Design- It foreshadowed a propensity to take other people's concepts, improve on them and spin them into wildly successful products. Under Jobs, Apple didn't invent computers, digital music players or smartphones — it reinvented them for people who didn't want to learn computer programming or negotiate the technical hassles of keeping their gadgets working

Open vs. Closed- Meanwhile, Microsoft copied the Mac approach and introduced Windows, outmaneuvering Apple by licensing its software to slews of computer makers while Apple insisted on making its own machines.

Software developers wrote programs first for Windows because it had millions more computers . A Mac version didn't come for months, if at all.

We are Mortal- In 2005, following the bout with cancer, Jobs delivered Stanford University's commencement speech.  "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," he said. "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."

Here is a summary of some things that Steve has left for us...

Advice from his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address::

Connecting the Dots - Steve didn't graduate from college.  Instead he was dropping out of the classes that didn't interest him, and dropping in the classes that did interest him.  He followed his curiosity and intuition.  He learned about what makes great typography because he enjoyed it.  That is why the computer had multiple type faces.  It is impossible to connect the dots looking forward (seeing relevancy in the random).  You can only connect them looking backwards.  You have to trust that the dots will connect in the future, have to trust in something, life, destiny, karma, the belief 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.

Creativity- Getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to him.  "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."

Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick, don't lose faith.

You have got to find what you love.  The only way to be truly satisfied its to do great work.  And the only way to do great work is to do what you love.  If you haven't found it yet, keep looking and don't settle.  As with all matters of the heart you'll know when you find it.  Keep looking, don't settle.

Follow your heart and intution, they truly know what you want to become.  Everything else is secondary.  Focus on what you have.  Focus on the positive.

"Stay hungry, Stay foolish"

Lessons Steve Taught Us:

  1. Enjoy what you do: Steve Jobs talked about how important it is to enjoy the work you do—and if you don’t like the work you are doing, to keep searching for what you love. As children, we all have things we have to do but there is always time to concentrate on what you love as well. What is it?  Don’t do something simply because your friend does it, all the kids in the area do it, your brother or sister did it, or your parents played it or participated in it as a child. As parents, that means, we need to step back and allow our children’s passion to emerge rather than forcing them to commit to something because of an outside reason.  Support them to trying different things and then, allow them to choose based on what they love.
  2. Encourage experimentation and creativity:  Explore the world around you, discoverallow your children to feel, think, take things apart, put them back together, or make something completely different from the materials.  Let them believe that there are no wrong answers, just undiscovered ones.
  3. All paths are not conventional: Steve Jobs dropped out of college. He expressed that he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life.  Then he started taking classes that excited him. Take healthy risks based on insightful thought.
  4. Everyone has the capacity to change the world:  Everyone has gifts to share but they must cultivate them and go for it.  As parents, that means, we need to see our children in terms of their assets rather than their deficits.
  5. There is success in failure: When Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, he bought Pixar and made a huge splash with the mega-hits Toy Story and Finding Nemo. When things don't go as expected, it may be just the thing that provides the space for greatness. 
  6. What goes around comes around: Goodbye doesn’t always mean goodbye forever and that a break from what you always do may mean an opportunity for growth.  Hiatus from a relationship can allow perspective. Submerging yourself in new responsibilities can be freeing.  Time away doesn’t need to be seen as a time of interruption but rather, room for innovation.
  7. You never know:  Don’t be afraid to do something nobody ever did because that is how inventions are created.

Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

7 Lessons The Life of Steve Jobs Can Teach Children (and Parents)

Apple Says Company Co-Founder Steve Jobs Has Died

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