Tag Archive: Steve Jobs


Write about the one that got away

Write about the one that got away.

My first and only thought is for Steven Paul Jobs.

I know it isn’t original, and I really don’t care about being original right now.

He left us, yet not enough to be considered as leaving us. Apple is his baby and a pretty damn huge legacy.

Here’s my favourite quote from Steve:

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.

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Intuition and iOS: the next step

It comes to me as no surprise to have my mail to Scott Forstall (Senior VP of iOS dev) bouncing back to me yesterday.

Apple made it very clear that they’re not accepting any enhancement request.

Well, to the point:

We’re going towards a Web 3.0 and no matter if we’re individuals or businesses, we have to be prepared for it.

Nobody can tell exactly what it will be like, but one can always guess. There are hints from everywhere.

Wanna read what I wrote to Scott? I bet you wanted it.

Here:

Hi Scott,

While reading Steve’s biography, I had a vision. I want to share it with you and Apple.

I understood that the only complex thing in informatics is the programming language. The rest is deceptively simple.

Actually, I always thought so.

To me, it’s time to get rid of compromises like the Babel of programming languages available today. I know it sounds like a Zen Buddhist master’s words.

I am Buddhist.

Same results can be obtained by following one’s intuition or/and by sinking into mind-dulling, awful algebra.

I’m not into mind-dulling.

IT and computers have to become fully intuitive. The iPad, iOS5, iCloud and the cute Siri are showing the way, but there is still code, programming. I call those two “barbwire”.

The human being and the machine should be able to communicate without any interpreting. They should be as intuitive as the behaviour of the baby calf, which is able to walk few minutes after its birth.

I don’t believe that this is utopia. If one company can make such a revolution, it must be Apple.

Please let me know which your thoughts are regarding this topic.

Thanks for reading this mail. I hope to read your words soon.

Why and what devs must thank Apple for

I’m furious out of my mind. Can’t people open up their eyes?

I waited a few days for the steam to be out, and now I can ask you:

Are you aware of what Apple did for you, developers?

Not only does Apple provide the hardware (iDevices) but also the software to realize your wildest dreams (let’s not forget the forums and the documentation.)

The Apple SDK is packed with gems, chunks of code to ease your life, and so much more that it’s beyond words.

Apple gives you the key to success, to earn money, to do what matters to you, more than any other company (no names here, you know what I mean.)

Is this an ode to Apple? A manifesto?

It certainly is… in its tiniest form.

Now don’t get me wrong. The AppStore isn’t heaven. It is a pile of shit with only a few outstanding apps.

However, what is the most striking is that since the inception of mobile apps, no one really measured the impact those apps have on our daily lives, and also how and why having so much power in our pockets can make us better beings in a better world.

If a better world really exists, it has never been created by developers alone (mostly greedy and with an oversized ego) but by the chemistry made by Apple and the developing community.

I write community as I hate competition and value cooperation.

I think that Steve was as proud of his products as he is of his AppStore.

Don’t dare turn the latter into a place where lower instincts rule.

Thank you Steve, thank you Apple, from the bottom of the worn out heart of another developer (me) who knows what you have done.

I miss you, Jobs.

Do this experiment to generate a post idea

My guess was absolutely spot on. I knew I will fall asleep soon and wake up quite as I’m writing now…

Hey, I just found myself waking up with an iPhone on the chest and in my bed!

As much as I did a crazy and trippy dream with clouds and apples everywhere yesterday, i don’t remind anything but perhaps… Yeah, drums again, practicing again and hanging around with Machine Head. That is how it started to wander, I think.

No fear at all! That was so relieving because I’m such a perfectionnist and a control freak when it comes to music.

I didn’t feel any fear because I have nothing to lose. I will disappear someday and everything will vanish. Please go to YouTube or TED and search for Steve Job’s commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. You’ll know what I mean.

Topic #279: Sometimes you can make a topic appear out of nothing at all. Do the following. Make sure you are somewhere safe. Guess how long you can keep your eyes closed. Close your eyes. Start counting. See how long you can go. Write about any or all of: How close your guess was to your actual performance. What thoughts did your mind wander to while you were counting? Did you feel any fear? Why or why not? … Read More

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Do we live life forwards, but examine it backwards?

The ultimate answer to this lies in Steve Jobs speech at Stanford in 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

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.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. 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.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

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.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Topic #273: Do we live life forwards, but examine it backwards? This is something the philosopher Kierkegaard pointed out long ago. Do you agree? If you do, isn’t this odd? It seems we’re likely to make many mistakes in basing our future, which is forward thinking, entirely on the past, which is looking backwards. … Read More

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Retro WP Mac Theme

In loving memory…

I didn’t write about Steve. I can’t write any eulogy matching his impact on the World and on my own life.

If you want to send stories, memories, sympathy e-mails about Steve, send them at rememberingsteve@apple.com

Retro Mac Theme It’s impossible to overstate the influence of Steve Jobs on technologists, particularly his passion for beautiful, usable products. We work harder and have higher standards because of the bar set by Apple’s experiences, and I don’t know what WordPress would look like today if not for the inspiration he gave all of us. As the shock at his premature loss has given way to a celebration of his life it’s been amazing to read all of the personal anecdo … Read More

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