She had no idea; if she did, she wasn't telling me. But I knew her, and I knew she would find a way, and the next day, after consulting a friend of hers at work, she started to download things on it, and soon our two boys, age 7 and 4, were flocked around her as they played games, both fun and educational. They also had illustrated children books read aloud to them. The possibilities for iPad, even in Borneo seemed endless, and my wife was just getting started. She even takes it to bed with her like a book and places it safely on the nightstand.
I admit, I felt a little jealous. I was losing my wife and my whole family to iPad! How could I compete?
Then Steve Jobs died. Like any good American (or any good citizen of the computer and internet-connected world), I followed his career from the beginning, the ups and downs. Amazed that he got booted out of Apple, the very company that he co-founded. Talk about being stabbed in the back! Loved Toy Story, and all the Pixar films. Amazed that he was back in Apple, on top. Then the new products came, changing how people communicated with one another, how they did their work, and how they listened to their music. Basically, I was extremely impressed how one man can change our world and then be taken from us so quickly!
But Steve Jobs will never be gone. I felt his spirit last night, as all four of us, for the first time, lay in our bed with the iPad and had Hansel and Gretel read to us. The children were a little anxious when the birds ate the bread crumbs and Hansel and Gretel lost their way. Then the witch planned to eat poor Hansel, and all seemed lost. But, through a surprising turn of events, Hansel and Gretel found their father again. They had made it back home. Our boys were relieved, happy and sleepy, too. So was I, but then it dawned on me this morning that Steve Jobs had made it home, too. In more ways than one. He had also made it—before it was too late—into our home here in Borneo as well, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Thanks Steve for the inspiration. My children also thank you for Toy Story and for iPad! Don't worry, Steve, even in Borneo, we'll keep your spirit alive for the next generation. Our kids will insist upon it..
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Later this morning, call it fate, I came across this article by Carmine Gallo, which I'll share in case you missed it. Not a bad way to start your day...
Over the years, I've become a student of sorts of Jobs' career and life. Here's my take on the rules and values underpinning his success. Any of us can adopt them to unleash our "inner Steve Jobs."
1. Do what you love. Jobs once said, "People with passion can change the world for the better." Asked about the advice he would offer would-be entrepreneurs, he said, "I'd get a job as a busboy or something until I figured out what I was really passionate about." That's how much it meant to him. Passion is everything.
2. Put a dent in the universe. Jobs believed in the power of vision. He once asked then-Pepsi President, John Sculley, "Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?" Don't lose sight of the big vision.
3. Make connections. Jobs once said creativity is connecting things. He meant that people with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. He took calligraphy classes that didn't have any practical use in his life -- until he built the Macintosh. Jobs traveled to India and Asia. He studied design and hospitality. Don't live in a bubble. Connect ideas from different fields.
4. Say no to 1,000 things. Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did. When he returned in Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period. Why? So he could put the "A-Team" on each product. What are you saying "no" to?
5. Create insanely different experiences. Jobs also sought innovation in the customer-service experience. When he first came up with the concept for the Apple Stores, he said they would be different because instead of just moving boxes, the stores would enrich lives. Everything about the experience you have when you walk into an Apple store is intended to enrich your life and to create an emotional connection between you and the Apple brand. What are you doing to enrich the lives of your customers?
6. Master the message. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can't communicate your ideas, it doesn't matter. Jobs was the world's greatest corporate storyteller. Instead of simply delivering a presentation like most people do, he informed, he educated, he inspired and he entertained, all in one presentation.
7. Sell dreams, not products. Jobs captured our imagination because he really understood his customer. He knew that tablets would not capture our imaginations if they were too complicated. The result? One button on the front of an iPad. It's so simple, a 2-year-old can use it. Your customers don't care about your product. They care about themselves, their hopes, their ambitions. Jobs taught us that if you help your customers reach their dreams, you'll win them over.
There's one story that I think sums up Jobs' career at Apple. An executive who had the job of reinventing the Disney Store once called up Jobs and asked for advice. His counsel? Dream bigger. I think that's the best advice he could leave us with. See genius in your craziness, believe in yourself, believe in your vision, and be constantly prepared to defend those ideas.
Carmine Gallo is a communications coach, a popular keynote speaker and author of several books including The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. His latest is The Power of Foursquare (McGraw-Hill, 2011).