Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Charlie and some sort of open water

Here is Charlies inaugural visit to the pool. I guess the stiff as a board reaction is his response to being in open water for the first time. None the less, he took it well.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Steve Jobs Legacy

I was never much of an Apple guy and I always bristled when the name Steve Jobs was mentioned among the all-time business visionary elite.  But recently I decided to give into the masses and buy his biography at Costco...I needed something and that something certainly wasn't going to be a pair of Kirkland shoes.

I was unsurprised at the stories of a grating and domineering personality.  My slight disdain for Apple was moderately justified when I read one of the core motto's that Steve lived by, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal'. But then something along the way changed.  I started to gain a little empathy, even profound respect, for what he accomplished.  Maybe it was reading this book in light of his passing, maybe it was a better understanding of how instrumental he has been in shaping industries and the way the humans consume and create.

This understanding didn't really come into focus until I finally was able to separate who he was and what he did.  His life didn't seem too virtuous and he certainly won't be up for any humanitarian awards anytime soon.  The way he treated people, his employees especially, was incredibly bad.  My admiration for him would have grown 10 fold had he been able to accomplish his great feats while being a decent father and employer. 

Regardless I had to come to grips with the magnitude of his marketing and design genius.  Yes, he did steal a lot of ideas, sorry Xerox, but he packaged them and brought them to the masses in a way that no one else could.  His Bauhaus inspired minimalist design not only appealed to our aesthetic instincts they also provided a simple and non intimidating way to experience bleeding edge technology.  His Zen-like approach to design revolutionized computers (Apple), Music (iPod), Music Distribution (iTunes), Movies (Pixar), Tablets (iPad), Phones (iPhone), and Retail Stores (Apple Store).  Did I miss anything?

Reading the last few chapters were poignant and sobering for me.  It was interesting to see what he was doing knowing that he was on his last breaths.  I got a fairly heavy feeling of sadness.  Not because we were losing a great man.  But rather, we were losing a man whose vision and dreams helped magnify our creative instincts in myriad and incalculable ways. 

I finished the book with a greater inclination to buy an Apple product.  I also got some great insights into the minds, egos, and companies that helped shape the last great American created industry.  A good read and a wonderful peak into the life of a man who truly helped shape the last 40 years.

At the same time I was reading the Steve Job's bio I was also reading "How will you measure your life" by Clayton Christensen. I couldn't help but wonder if Steve couldn't have benefited from the principles taught in this amazing book. I also couldn't help but wonder if Steve would have still been able to create such fabulous products without sacrificing his relationship with family, friends, and co-workers. I then wondered what was more important....my family and relations or the output from my work.

3/23/17- A fitting end in Venice

That'll cost you 100 Euros I guess it makes sense to spend the last chapter of our Italian journey in the town most commonly associ...