Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Part 2)

The Launch (A Dent in the Universe). It was now 1984. Microsoft was now competing with Apple. Revenue now largely came from its operating system. IBM was dominating the PC market. The Mac was not out yet. Once again, Steve set ridiculous deadlines for the programmers at Apple, which they eventually managed to meet. Lee Clow was tasked to design the advertisement for the Mac. Steve was a rebel deep inside. He was representative of the counterculture. It turned out to be one of the greatest commercials of all time.. “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’”. Over the years, Steve became a master at product launches. He had his way with the media. It was Jan 24 and the team had completed the software for the Mac.

Obviously, I can talk. But right now I’d like to sit back and listen. So it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who’s been like a father to me, Steve Jobs. – The Macintosh

Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone? – Steve Jobs

Gates and Jobs (When Orbits Intersect). The Macintosh Partnership. Bill Gates was another high school dropout. They both had very different personalities. Bill Gates was not someone who represented the counterculture. Rather, he dropped out of school to start a computer software company. Bill was more of the introverted sort. They each really didn’t like each other. Bill was not as closed and was open towards licensing of the operating systems. Steve thought Bill liked to rip off other people’s ideas and was better at philanthropy. Bill agreed to work on Excel, Word and BASIC for the Mac. Bill was a guy who hated the Mac and didn’t know how to appreciate it. They forged a deal where Microsoft would develop Excel for the Mac and Apple would stop working on BASIC. The software like Excel were sold separately from the Mac. Also, Microsoft bundled such software for IBM etc. Microsoft had an operating system known as DOS. There were fears that Microsoft were going to copy the user graphic interface(GUI). So they decided to copy Apple. Bill could not create GUI until 1983. Soon after, he create Windows. The deal to do non competing software was wearing out. Steve told him that he was ripping them off. Apple and Microsoft had a strained relationship after that. Windows was only released in 1985 and it was bad. Through improvement, it became better and now is a more dominant OS.

The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste. I don’t mean that in a small way. I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas and they don’t bring much culture into their product. – Steve Jobs

Each one thought he was smarter than the other one, but Steve generally treated Bill as someone who was slightly inferior, especially in matters of taste and style. – Andy Hertzfeld

Steve was in his ultimate pied piper mode, proclaiming how the Mac will change the world and overworking people like mad, with incredible tensions and complex working relationships. – Bill Gates

Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it. – Bill Gates

Icarus (What Goes Up…). Flying High. The Mac was doing well. Steve was now controlling Sculley, Apple’s president. Steve needed extreme control. Steve had the factory painted in bright colours. He was crazy and wanted to check for dust in corners of the factory. He wanted to instill a sense of discipline in the workings. He just continued speeding after he got a ticket for speeding. Especially in Europe, he kept pressuring the managers to increase sales forecasts. One had to out-bully him. Sales of the Mac started to slow in 1984 as it was underpowered. It had only 128K of RAM. It didn’t have an internal hard disk drive as well. There was also no fan on the Mac. This caused it to overheat easily. Steve turned 30 in 1985. A few of the engineers started to leave Apple. Steve was upset by this. Woz decided to start his own company and manufacture remote control device. Sculley didn’t really understand Apple’s products and hated tweaking by Steve on the design. Sculley and Steve got into a huge conflict. He told Steve to give up on the Mac division. He wanted Steve to work on new technology and products. The board had the final decision on what to do. The board wanted Steve to run a research lab. They sided with John Sculley to eject Steve from the Mac division. There was little cooperation between divisions in Apple. John Sculley refused to let Steve run the Mac division. Steve launched a coup and gathered his supporters to fight against John. The board had to vote on whether they preferred John or Steve. In conclusion, the board sided with John and Steve Jobs was out of Apple. Even those Sculley won, he also felt like resigning. Gassee would take over the Mac division as well as other products. Steve could be the board chairman, with no AppleLabs or operational duties. Jobs would be a visionary with no recognition. Steve now spent more time with his girlfriend, Tina Redse. The three men who brought him up (Sculley, Markkula and Rock) brought him down now. Steve had lost the respect from them. Steve thought Sculley was a bozo. Steve and his girlfriend headed off to Europe to take a break.

You have to be ruthless if you want to build a team of A players. It’s too easy, as a team grows, to put up with a few B players, and they then attract a few more B players, and soon you will even have some C players. The Macintosh experience taught me that A players like to work only with other A players, which means you can’t indulge in B players. – Steve Jobs

Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind. You are really etching chemical patterns. In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them. – Steve Jobs

If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. – Steve Jobs

The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say ‘ Bye, I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.’ And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently. – Steve Jobs

Sculley believed in keeping people happy and worrying about relationships. Steve didn’t give a shit about that. But he did care about the product in a way that Sculley never could, and he was able to avoid having too many bozos working at Apple by insulting anyone who wasn’t an A player. – Al Alcorn

We have developed a great friendship with each other, but I have lost confidence in your ability to run the Macintosh division. – Sculley

The board felt that I couldn’t run a company, and that was their decision to make. But they made one mistake. They should have separated the decision of what to do with me and what to do with Sculley. They should have fired Sculley, even if they didn’t think I was ready to run Apple. – Steve Jobs

NeXT

Prometheus Unbound. Steve was excited and now wanted to start a new company. Universities wanted machines that were more powerful than the Mac. Gassee cancelled the Big Mac experiment.He now persuaded some of the Apple’s current employees to join me. Steve wanted to create a computer for the higher education market. He only wanted a few of the top people from Apple but said he would not compete with Apple. Steve took 5 people with him, and they were to resign on their own accord. He took Page, Lewin etc. The Board was furious with Steve for poaching their staff. Mike Markkula, Rock etc were furious with Steve for taking 5 senior staff. People were shocked by his behavior. He drove to Mike’s house with his resignation letter. Both Jobs and Wozniak were out. The board sued Steve for poaching staff and breaches of fiduciary obligations. He liquidated his 11% of stock in Apple for more than $100 million. Tough love made him a better person. He named his next company ‘Next’. He contacted Paul Rand to design the logo. Rand was contracted to IBM but was given permission by the CEO to design the logo. He wanted the new PC to be a cube. NeXT was born. The lawsuit was settled when NeXT was placed with a few restrictions on what it could do. Esslinger also joined NeXT. Steve wanted a cube shaped PC. He was still prone to mood swings. Lotus agreed to write a spreadsheet for the NeXT operating system. He treated employees the same. NeXT was in trouble when they were slow to launch a product and cash was burning out. Perot was a venture capitalist who was willing to invest in NeXT. He eventually took a stake in the company. Bill Gates did not want to develop software for NeXT as it was not revolutionary. Steve tried to persuade IBM to stop using Windows, but rather collaborate with NeXT. Bill was furious on learning about this because he felt the object-oriented OS at NeXT was not compatible with IBM. Eventually the deal died. In October 1988, NeXT was launched. He controlled the design of everything. He charged the product at $6,500 each. This was way too expensive. The keynote was a success. However, the public response to it was lukewarm at best. Sales in 1989 turned out to be bad and NeXT was bleeding cash once again.

He had it in his mind to start a new company. He was young and rich, and had to find something to do with the rest of his life. – Paul Berg

As you know, the company’s recent reorganization left me with no work to do and no access even to regular management reports. I am but 30 and want still to contribute and achieve. After what we have accomplished together, I would wish our parting to be both amicable and dignified. – Steve Jobs

What I’m best at doing is finding a group of talented people and making things with them. I’ll always remember Apple like any man remembers the first woman he’s fallen in love with. – Steve Jobs

Part of my responsibility is to be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. – Steve Jobs

Steve Job’s product comes with an interesting feature called incompatibility. It doesn’t run any of the existing software. It’s a super-nice computer. I don’t think if I went out to design an incompatible computer I would have done as well as he did. – Bill Gates

PIXAR (Technology Meets Art). Steve went for a walk with Alan Kay. He brought him to Ed Catmull, a member of George Luca’s Lucasfilms. Steve was thoroughly impressed with the firm. John Lasseter was a star at animation. The IT division of Lucasfilms needed a buyer. Steve agreed to buy 70% of it for $10million. PIXAR married art with technology. Steve initially didn’t want to cede control. Lucas advised Steve that his people were only interested in animation. The Pixar Image Computer was a big thing. Soon, Steve began to control things and propose wacky ideas. Steve wanted to integrate hardware with software. He tried to lower the cost of the PC to about $30,000. Steve wanted to mass market it. However, the design features did not suit the common user. People were not interested in graphics rendering. Steve was an exceptionally charismatic man. Only Disney was interested in Pixar’s technology. Lasseter was a designer of animated films and Steve was thoroughly impressed with him. They complemented each other very well. Lasseter’s film was nominated for an Academy Award. Steve kept funding the animated films division. Alvy Ray Smith, a co-founder at Lucasfilms, hated Steve. He refused to be a slave for him. Smith left to set up his own design film. This was eventually bought by Microsoft. Steve was merciless about chopping people when the firm started bleeding cash. He also didn’t want to share information with Intel. Disney worked with Pixar to bring animated films to another level.

My view is that people are creative animals and will figure out clever new ways to use tools that the inventor never imagined. I thought that would happen with the Pixar computer, just as it did with the Mac. – Steve Jobs

A Regular Guy (Love is Just a 4 Letter Word). Jobs met Joan Baez and was attracted to her. He was ending his past relationship with Barbara Jasinski. The girl was 41 and he was 27. Joan was once a lover of Bob Dylan. Steve gave her a few of the Apple PCs. Joan hated a idea of a computer playing music. Joan also had a kid from her previous relationship. After 3 years, their relationship ended. Clara had lung cancer when Steve was 31. Steve now managed to find his biological mother. After Clara died, he contacted Joanne Simpson. Joanne was overwhelmed when he met Steve. Steve actually had a sister named Mona. Mona was a writer with a magazine. They became closer, like family. She wrote a book about him. It was known as ‘A Regular Guy.’ Now, they tried to hunt down their father. Steve had actually inadvertently met his father at a restaurant which he used to frequent. Lisa was the girl who Steve abandoned. When Lisa was about 8, Steve often visited her and brought her around. Lisa and Steve’s relationship would be a rollercoaster, with many ups and downs. Steve could be a very romantic guy. Steve met a Tina Redse, a blonde woman. Tina was very understanding and they hit it off. Steve was incredibly self-centered. Their relationship lasted for 5 years. There were plenty of fights during their relationship. Steve was someone who lacked empathy. Things were just not meant to be.

I believe in environment more than heredity in determining your traits, but still you have to wonder a little about your biological roots. – Steve Jobs

Steve believed it was our job to teach people aesthetics, to teach people what they should like. I don’t share that perspective. I believe when we listen deeply, both within ourselves and to each other, we are able to allow what’s innate and true to emerge. – Tina Redse

Family Man (At Home with the Jobs Clan). Jobs eventually married Laurene Powell. He gave lectures at Stannford. Laurene was impressed with Steve and he took her out for dinner. She left her number behind. He brought her to a vegan restaurant. Laurene did not worship money, which was good. He was 36 when he got married. Laurene was 27. . After marriage, Laurene set up her own company, Terravera. Steve lived in a very unassuming house with his wife. Burrell went psychotic. Lisa moved in with Steve when she was 14. Laurene was supportive and attended most of Lisa’s school events. Lisa got admitted to Harvard. Erin was 1 year old then. Erin was Steve Job’s daughter as well. Their son was known as Reed Paul Jobs. Reed turned out to be smart, creative and someone with good manners. Erin was born 4 years later. Eve was born another 3 years later. Steve was closer to his son than his daughters.

Every other CEO I know has a security guard. They’ve even got them at their homes. It’s a nutso way to live. We just decided that’s not how we wanted to raise our kids. – Steve Jobs

There were only two women in my life that I was truly in love with, Tina and Laurene. I thought I was in love with Joan Baez, but I really just liked her a lot. It was just Tina and then Laurene. – Steve Jobs

He had the power to focus like a laser beam, and when it came across you, you basked in the light of his attention. When it moved to another point of focus, it was very, very dark for you. It was very confusing to Laurene. – Kat Smith

He is the luckiest guy to have landed with Laurene, who is smart and can engage him intellectually and can sustain his ups and downs and tempestuous personality. – Joanna Hoffman

Toy Story (Buzz and Woody to the Rescue). ‘It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.’ Walt Disney. There was a fit between Pixar and Disney. Pixar wanted to do a film with Disney. Jeffrey Katzenberg was the head of Disney’s film division. Katzenberg was a tyrant and was similar to Steve Jobs. ‘Everybody thinks I’m a tyrant. I am a tyrant. But I’m usually right.’ Jeffery Katzenberg. John Lasseter thought of Toy Story as a movie. The two main characters were Buzz Lightyear and Woody. The story kept changing, but Steve kept costs under control. Steve only wants perfection. He was about to revolutionize the movie industry. He wanted to take Pixar public. Toy Story was released in Nov 1995. Toy Story turned out to be a huge success. Whose movie was it? Pixar or Disney’s? The IPO was also a huge success and the firm raised a lot of money from the public market. He was a billionaire now. Pixar had the ability to co-market and design the films. It was great

Everyone has had the traumatic childhood experience of losing a toy. Our story takes the toy’s point of view as he loses and tries to regain the single thing most important to him: to be played with by children. This is the reason for the existence of all toys. It is the emotional foundation of their existence. – Walter Isaacson

The Second Coming

What Rough Beast, its Hour Come Round at Last. NeXT was released in 1988. It failed to attract many customers. They targeted customers who wanted personal workstations. However, Sun Microsystems were doing well. Steve agreed to license NeXTSTEP OS to run on other computers. He also gave up on hardware. His movie business was doing well. However, he was disappointed with the PC market. Sculley was a bad CEOs and Apple’s market declined in the early 1990s. It remained stagnant. Sculley was too profit driven. By 1990, Windows 3.0 was out. Windows 95, released in 1995, was the most successful OS. Larry Ellison wanted to buy Apple and place Steve as CEO. Steve was not keen on this idea. Michael Spindler replaced Sculley as CEO in 1993. He, too, desperately tried to sell Apple to other giants. This failed. In 1996, Gil Amelio took over as CEO. Steve approached Amelio, wanting to be CEO. Apple needed a new operating system which was stable. It turned to NeXT. He wanted to get rid of NeXT, as it was bleeding cash as well. Amelio was torn between NeXT and Be (A company owned by Gassee). Amelio chose Jobs instead. Steve shook Markkula’s hand again. Apple paid $400m for NeXT. Steve agreed to be a part time advisor to the chairman back at Apple. He didn’t want to take over Apple then. This marked his re-entry back into Apple.

Windows has won. It beat the Mac, unfortunately, it beat UNIX, it beat OS/2. An inferior product won. – Steve Jobs

Steve’s sales pitch on the NeXT operating system was dazzling. He praised the virtues and strengths as though he were describing a performance of Oliver as Macbeth. – Gil Amelio

Don’t you understand that Steve doesn’t know anything about technology? He’s just a super salesman. I can’t believe you’re making such as a stupid decision…He doesn’t know anything about engineering, and 99% of what he says and thinks is wrong. What the hell are you buying that garbage for? – Bill Gates

There are a lot of other things going on in my life now. I have a family. I am involved at Pixar. My time is limited, but I hope I can share some ideas. – Steve Jobs

The Restoration

The Loser Now Will Be Later to Win. Even those he was 40, Steve was still very innovative. He wanted to build a legacy for himself. Steve didn’t want to take over Gil yet. Gil was bad at doing keynotes and lost his train of thought. Steve wanted to create an OS even better than Windows. Steve introduced his NeXT team back into Apple. Gil wanted to get rid of Newton. He eventually did. Steve was wresting power away from Gil. Gil said a lot of stupid stuff. Ellison from Oracle pretended to take over Apple. This put the heat on Amelio. Amelio also thought Steve liked him. He was dead wrong about it. Steve had his way of charming people. Amelio soon realized he was under threat from Steve. The board were worried that Apple would keep bleeding cash. The Board wanted Steve back. Steve declined the offer to be CEO as he had other commitments. Pixar just went public and he was happy being CEO. He didn’t want to be CEOs of two public companies. Eventually, he decided he would help them hire a CEO. Steve liked to ignore situations which were uncomfortable. Apple was complex and uncomfortable at that time. Steve wanted to see whether Apple could be saved before joining. Fred Anderson would be interim CEO. 12 years after Steve lost power, he was back. Steve lowered the exercise price of options to make it valuable. Steve sometimes used threats to get things done. He threatened the board that he will quit if they did not approve the option pricing. Steve even threatened that the whole board apart from Woolard resign or he will resign. Eventually, the board resigned. Steve was that powerful. Even Mike Markkula had to leave. Apple needed to reinvent itself desperately, or it was going down. Microsoft was highly dominant in the PC market. Steve chose his board members. Apple’s board is special. The CEO has control over the board.. Apple was only running at $20 per share in 1997. Microsoft gradually refused to design Word and Excel for the Mac. Apple needed Microsoft to continue developing for the Mac and invest in Apple. Bill liked it. Steve wanted commitment and an investment. Steve mentioned about the deal in his keynote. Bill featured in the keynote and said the application software would be for Mac as well. Microsoft would have non-voting shares in Apple. Apple was back and healthy.

I said this guy is the worst CEO I’ve ever seen. I think if you needed a license to be a CEO he wouldn’t get one. – Steve Jobs, on Gil Amelio

If we stay with Gil as CEO, I think there’s only a 10% chance we will avoid bankruptcy. If we fire him and convince Steve to come takeover, we have a 60% chance of surviving. If we fire GIL, don’t get Steve back, and have to search for a new CEO, then we have a 40% chance of surviving. – Apple’s Board of Directors

It was just what we needed, because whatever you think of Steve, he knows how to get the magic back. – Steve Wozniak

Okay, tell me what’s wrong with this place. It’s the products. So what’s wrong with the products? The products suck. There’s no sex in them anymore! – Steve Jobs

We too are going to think differently and serve the people who have been buying our products from the beginning. Because a lot of people think they’re crazy, but in that craziness we see genius. – Steve Jobs

Think Different

Steve Jobs as iCEO. Here’s to the Crazy Ones. Lee Clow was summoned by Steve. He had to prove that Apple was still alive. ‘Think different’. Lee Clow came up with this tagline. It made Steve cry. It was that brilliant. The team came up with a short poem. Richard Dreyfuss read the poem above. It was historical. The commercial featured many famous people. He was given permission to make use of Gandhi’s photo. Steve Jobs did the voice-over instead. Eventually, they used Dreyfuss version. It was not about him. He was super passionate about the ads. Steve finally decided to be the CEO. Steve decided not to take any money initially. Many chose not to be CEO, especially when Steve will influence him/her. The search did not produce the right candidates. His health was affected from running two companies. He developed kidney stones from working too hard. The company can be the best innovation sometimes. Should Apple have licensed their OS to make more money? This was the debate here. Apple eventually gave the license to 2 small companies. The clones ended up cannibalizing sales. Steve wanted it to be closed and he didn’t know any more licensing. Steve hated people who used powerpoints. ‘You are bright people. You shouldn’t be wasting your time on such crappy products. There were too many versions of the Macintosh, to suit customers needs. They were too confusing. The engineers were directed at 4 areas. Pro, Portable, Consumer and Desktop. He chopped off printers and servers. He killed the Newton, a stylus with a PDA. These people eventually moved to the iPhones and the iPad. It was good technology, but bad management. Apple lived because of their focus. In Sept 1997, Apple would nearly be insolvent. He laid off 3000 people. In the year he turned CEO, Apple lost $1 billion a year. The following year, it made a $300 million profit. Incredible.

There was a purity about that I will never forget. – Steve Jobs

We at Apple had forgotten who we were. One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are. That was the genesis of that campaign. – Steve Jobs

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we seem genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. – Apple’s Think Different Commercial

There are cars people are proud to have – Porsche, Ferrari, Prius – because what I drive says something about me. People feel the same way about an Apple product. – Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle

What we’re trying to do is not highfalutin. We’re trying to get back to the basics of great products, great marketing, and great distribution. Apple has drifted away from doing the basics really well. – Steve Jobs

If the platform goes closed, it is over. Total destruction. Closed is the kiss of death. – Stephen Kahn

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products. – Steve Jobs

I hate the way people use slide presentations instead of thinking. People would confront a problem by creating a presentation. I wanted them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint. – Steve jobs

Design Principles. The Studio of Jobs and Ive. Jony Ive was the head of Apple’s design team. He wanted to quit. He was sick of the fact that the company focused too much on profits. Steve persuaded him otherwise. He had something for Apple and loved the people there. Jony was not replaceable and Steve liked him. Jony made a huge difference at Apple. Like Steve, he liked simplicity and it showed in his products. For Apple, the design comes first and then the engineers have to come out with a way to fit their chips inside. That should be the way products should be made. Design dictated engineering, not the other way around. Tim Cook was the chief operating officer in charge. Steve will go on the ground and feel the products in the lab to see if he liked them. Many rounds of iterations are made. He patented a lot of the design boxes. Steve liked to take credit for ideas.

There wasn’t that feeling of putting care into a product, because we were trying to maximize the money we made. All they wanted from us designers was a model of what something was supposed to look like on the outside, and then engineers would make it as cheap as possible. I was about to quit. – Jony Ive

The difference that Jony has made, not only at Apple but in the world, is huge. He is a wickedly intelligent person in all ways. He understands business concepts, marketing concepts. He picks stuff up just like that, click…If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it’s Jony…He gets the big picture as well as the most infinitesimal details about each product…There’s no one who can tell him what to do, or to butt out. – Steve Jobs, on Jony Ive

Steve and I care about things like that, which ruin the purity and detract from the essence of something like a utensil, and we think alike about how products should be made to look pure and seamless. – Jony Ive

Steve and I spend a lot of time on packaging. I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story. – Jony Ive

The iMAC (Hello, AGAIN). The iMAC was introduced in 1998. It was combination of Steve and Ive’s ideas. The PC had no floppy disk slots because they were turning obsolete. It had a built in hard drive. The PC was also created with a handle to make it seem more user friendly. It indeed was. Steve fumed when he wanted a CD slot instead of a CD tray. Instead for the next version of the iMAC, a slot was introduced instead. He kept tweaking with the lighting on stage during the rehearsals. He invited Markkula for a private preview of the iMAC. Mike was thoroughly impressed. Product launches were like theatre to him. It was launched on May 6, 1998. It was well received during the product launch. The design was brilliant and it fit seamlessly in a home environment. Bill Gates joked and said that if he painted the computer red, it would look like a Mac. It was the best-selling computer in Apple’s history. The iMAC was offered in 5 different colours. Steve made decisions on the spot, and he was often right. The problem with a CD slot was that when Panasonic offered a CD drive with rip and burn function, it was for trays instead. Apple lacked behind for a while in the music scene

When we took it (iMAC design) to the engineers, they came up with 38 reasons they couldn’t do it…No, no, we’re doing this. Because I’m the CEO and I think it can be done…And so they kind of grudgingly did it. – Steve Jobs

I don’t want the people I work with at Apple to think I am coming back to get rich. – Steve Jobs

CEO (Still crazy after All These Years). Tim Cook. He was less clear on whether he could run a company. Under Steve Jobs, underperforming was not allowed. The head of operations quit as he couldn’t take the pressure. In 1998, he met Tim Cook, who worked at the supply chain at Compaq Computers. He would later become indispensable to Apple. They saw things the same way. He wanted a JIT inventory system. He wouldn’t need to constantly supervise Tim. He decide to join Apple and work for a creative joy. Tim worked very long hours at Apple. He reduced excess inventory and made suppliers move nearer to Apple’s factories. He cut excess inventory to only about 2 days worth. He made a hundred turtlenecks for himself. He wanted collaboration at Apple too. Steve was against the Bozo explosion. He removed the iCEO to become permanent CEO. He only took $1 per year of pay. Apple stock was over $102 by year 2000. Steve refused to take the stock options. Steve wanted a private airplane. He got it. . Eventually, he demanded stock options as well. OSX was released in Jan 2000.

For most things in life, the range between best and average is 30% or so. The best airplane flight, the best meal, they may be 30% better than your average one. When I saw with Steven Wozniak (Apple co-founder) was somebody who was 50 times better than the average engineer. He could have meetings in his head. The Mac team was an attempt to build a whole team like that, A players. People said they wouldn’t get along, they’d hate working for each other. But I realized that A players like to work with A players, they just didn’t like working with C players. At Pixar, it was a whole company of A players. When I got back to Apple, that’s what I decided to do. You need to have collaborative hiring process…My role model was J. Robert Oppenhemier… – Steve Jobs

You never win an argument with him at the time, but sometimes you eventually win. – James Vincent

Apple Stores (Genius Bars and Siena Sandstone). Steve didn’t control the experience of buying an Apple product in a store. He felt that the sales staff needed to be educated on Apple’s products. The customers needed to know how creative their products were. Steve wanted his stores in major shopping malls. He wanted them to be bigger than Gap. The store would have to impute Apple’s qualities. The board was not keen on opening stores as Dell was successful even though they didn’t have stores. Apple built a prototype and Steve controlled the aesthetic and service experience. The stores commanded great sales volumes and were a huge success. Steve even had patents for his staircases. They also created the genius bar at the store. In 2011, there were over 300 Apple stores. The stores accounted for 15% of their total revenue. Steve was fighting the effects of cancer in 2011.

The store will become the most powerful expression of the brand. – Steve Jobs

The Digital Hub (From iTunes to the iPod). The first iPod was released in 2001. Steve discussed with his colleagues on what are the next 3 things Apple could do next. The PC was not so hip anymore. He wanted the PC to be a digital hub. He wanted the PC to sync devices etc . Steve was 45 and he wanted to build this digital hub for the Mac. Adobe didn’t want to make software like Photoshop for the Mac OS. He had a war with Adobe ever since. They ended up developing software in-house. iMovie, iTunes, GarageBand etc. The PC was morphing to be something else. He wanted video and photo editing to occur on PCs. Steve wanted an end-to-end solution. They were the only IT firm which provided everything. Music was going to be big. Steve came up with iTunes for that. He created a writable CD drive. However, he wanted the user to manage playlists etc on their PCs. At that time, there was a portable music player in the market that played mp3s. Apple bought SoundJam and converted their software into something simpler. It was eventually known as iTunes. Next, the iPod was in the mix. This was a portable music player. The problem was having a disk drive small but with ample memory. Rubinstein started working with Toshiba on manufacturing such devices. Tony Fadell was passionate about MP3 players and thrilled to be on-board. Phil suggested using a track wheel. Jobs proclaimed ‘That’s it!’ Steve wanted most of the functions performed on iTunes, and not on the iPod. Most Apple devices also wouldn’t have an one-off switch. Jony felt the whole iPod should look white. This would make it look classy and non-disposable. Everything would be white, even the earphones and charger. Apple integrated software, hardware and devices. iPod sales would leave to increase in sales of the iMac. Oct 23, 2001 marked the launch for an iPod. It became a hit for consumers. It married art with engineering. Bill Gates was also impressed with the iPod.

Taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he’d done in his life. – Steve jobs, to Mike Markoff

Don’t worry about Sony. We know what we’re doing and they don’t. – Steve Jobs

Wow, it makes sense that Apple was the one to come up with it. After all, Apple’s whole history is making both the hardware and the software, with the result that the two work better together. – Steve Wozniak

There was something very significant and nondisposable about it, yet there was also something very quiet and very restrained. It wasn’t wagging its tail in your face. It was restrained, but it was also crazy, with those flowing headphones. That’s why I like white. White isn’t just a neutral color. It is so pure and quiet. Bold and conspicuous and yet so inconspicuous as well. – Jon Iver, on why the first iPod was white

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Five Amazing Benefits of Being Kind by William Wan

The Singapore Kindness Movement was founded in 1997 with the aim of building a kinder and more gracious society

There are 5 amazing benefits of being kind. They are:
1) Personal Happiness
2) Happy Families
3) Good Health
4) Success at Work
5) Kindness Begets Kindness

What is Kindness? It is about benefitting others without expecting anything in return. This is graciousness in action. Make a positive difference in someone else’s life. You can do simple things like hold a door for someone. Compassionate people who exhibit altruistic acts of service tend to have better life satisfaction and health. Doing nice things for people leads to a significant increase in people’s positive moods.

Personal Happiness. When you are kind towards others, dopamine, is released. This makes you feel good. Be kind and you will happy, be happy and you will be kind. Doing good over time will tend to lead to a friendly and joyful personality. This, in turn, makes you more attractive to others. Doing good deeds is also associated with better relationship satisfaction. Helping others bestows a sense of satisfaction. Learn to acknowledge your colleagues in your workplace.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. – Dalai Lama

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Happy Families. Small acts of service are a way of showing affection for your partner. Kindness should start from the home. Talk about kindness in your dinner table. Write cards or notes of appreciation.

Strength of character may be learned at work, but beauty of character is learned at home. – Henry Drummond

Being considerate of others will take you children further in life than any college degree. – Marian Wright Edelman

Good Health. Being kind to others has mental benefits, due to the production of dopamine and endorphins. Your body produces oxytocin, the bonding hormone. This hormone protects your hear by lowering the blood pressure.

Success at Work. Kindness can create a healthier and more effective workforce. This helps to boost productivity. Employees who are happier then to go the extra mile and tend to be more engaged in their work. The work place culture indeed matters. Teamwork also becomes more fun and the work environment is more pleasant and welcoming.

Kindness Begets Kindness. We can make our society a better place. When we enjoy others act of kindness, we feel good and feel inspired to pass it on. Learn to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Understand their needs and desires. Do good, without expecting anything in return.

The very nature of kindness is to spread. If you are kind to others, today they will be kind to you, and tomorrow to somebody else. – Sri Chinmoy

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. – Scott Adams

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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Part 1)

‘The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.’ – Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, 1997

Introduction. How This Book Came to Be. The author has published other famous biographies. Steve was an incredibly intense guy. He launched his ‘Think Different’ campaign. Steve was an extremely persistent guy. In 2009, he had to go on medical leave due to his cancer. Finally, Steve approached the author and wanted a biography. Thankfully, he was also brutally honest. Steve changed 6 of the following industries: ‘personal computers, animated movie, music, phones, tablet computing and digital publishing.’ He is the epitome of innovation and invention. Think differently.

I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics. Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do. – Steve Jobs

Chapter One: Childhood

Abandoned and Chosen

The Adoption. Paul Jobs was a mechanic and dated Clara Hagopian. Eventually, they got married. He was a calm and gentlemen. Eventually, Paul settled on being a used car salesman. Due to Clara being unable to conceive, 9 years after their marriage, they looked to adopt a child. Joanne was pregnant, but only wanted her child to be adopted by college graduates. Another couple rejected Steve Jobs as they initially wanted a girl. Steve got adopted by Paul and Clara eventually. He was named ‘Steven Paul Jobs’. Steve was aware from young that he was adopted. His parents assured him that he was the chosen one and was ‘selected’ and not abandoned. Because of this, Steve had the strong urge to be independent. Later in life, Steve also abandoned another kid (Lisa). Even in his life, he occasionally acted cruel to others. This stemmed from his tumultuous past. He saw Paul and Clara as his true parents, not the biological ones. Paul exposed Steve to mechanics and cars when young and Steve didn’t really like mechanical work. His dad thought him to do things right. Steve liked hanging out with Paul. However, it was electronics which got Steve very interested in. He was inspired by the housing designs by Eichler. Paul tried being a real estate agent but failed. Steve admired his desire to try. Paul had a very respectable and resolute character.The tech industry at Stanford University was very big.Intel moved from memory chips to microprocessors. Moore’s Law. Steve Jobs was inspired by how developed Silicon Valley was. Steve soon realized that his parents didn’t know everything and that he could be smarter than them eventually. Paul was very good at mechanical stuff. His parents accommodated for that fact. Steve hated reading and studying in school and did not respect authority. Often, he played pranks and got into trouble. To his parents, the school was at fault for failing to stimulate his interest. A teacher used bribes to make him do homework and it worked. The teacher known as Imogene Hill changed his life. Soon, he became to change and even do work without the bribes being present. He managed to skip a grade. However, he found it hard to interact with kids older than him. He was often bullied in school. Eventually he dropped out of school. He was also appreciative of organic fruits and vegetables. Steve Jobs hated church and never wanted to go back. Instead, he spent time studying and practicing the tenets of Zen Buddhism. Steve was fascinated when he saw that a calf could walk a few minutes after it was born. Soon, his pranks involved electronics. His parents instilled in him the fact that he could anything easily. The first PC he fell in love with was the HP 9100A. Soon, Steve worked in an assembly line for frequency counters. Steve also worked as a newspaper delivery boy. Since young, he had an entrepreneurial spirit. He got his first car at 15. He was fascinated by paying for something with his own savings. In that same year, he tried marijuana. He didn’t give up on that so quickly. Steve had an artistic side to him and listened to music, read Shakespeare etc. Jobs never respected authority and was deeply rebellious in nature.

Steve Jobs was usually off in a corner doing something on his own and really didn’t want to have much of anything to do with either me or the rest of the class. – John McCollum

Knowing I was adopted may have made me feel more independent, but I have never felt abandoned. I’ve always felt special. My parents made me feel special. – Steve Jobs

I love it when you can bring really great design and simple capability to something that doesn’t cost much. – Steve Jobs

Both my parents got me. They felt a lot of responsibility once they sensed I was special. They found ways to keep feeding me stuff and putting me in better schools. They were willing to defer to my needs. – Steve Jobs

I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came close to really beating any curiosity out of me. – Steve Jobs, on his high school teachers

Odd Couple. This was the time Steve met Stephen Wozniak. Stephen was one of the top students and was very geeky. His dad was Francis Wozniak, a graduate from Cal Tech. Woz’s father explained a lot of electronic stuff to him when young. In a business sense, Woz was not brought up to be as ambitious as Steve. Woz spent a lot of time assembling stuff and reading electronic journals. He started building calculators. He was an extreme hardware guy who often played pranks on others. Similar to Steve, Woz was quite a loner at school. They both shared passion for music, esp from Bob Dylan. Their pranks included screwing the tv signals, so that it became difficult for their friends to watch TV. Woz designed a digital Blue Box from scratch. It was incredible. It worked and they could make overseas call for free by replicating the phone company’s signals. They even pretended to be Henry Kissinger and tried calling the Pope at Vatican City. Soon, they were thinking of marketing the Blue Box for cash. This Blue Box Adventure marked their success working together.

I remember him telling me that engineering was the highest level of importance you could reach in the world. It takes society to a new level. – Steve Wozniak

My dad believed in honesty. Extreme honesty. That’s the biggest thing he taught me. I never lie, even to this day. – Steve Wozniak

We had so much in common. Typically, it was really hard for me to explain to people what kind of design stuff I worked on, but Steve got it right away. And I liked him. He was kind of skinny and iry and full of energy. – Stephen Wozniak

Woz was the first person I’d met who knew more electronics than I did. I liked him right away. I was a little more mature than my years, and he was a little less mature than his, so it evened out. Woz was very bright, but emotionally he was my age. – Steve Jobs

The Blue Box adventure established a template for a partnership that would soon be born. Wozniak would be the gentle wizard coming up with a neat invention that he would have been happy just to give away, and Jobs would figure out how to make it user-friendly, put it together in a package, market it, and make a few bucks. – Walter Isaacson

The Dropout ‘Turn On, Tune in’. Chrisann Brennan was Steve’s first girlfriend. She was still a minor at that time. Steve’s crazy antics was what made him attractive. Steve introduced Brennan to marijuana. Steve also listened to Bach music at that time. He was a guy who was cruel sometimes to her. Patience was never one of Steve’s virtues. He was 17 and it was time to go to college. However, at times, he did not even want to go. All along, he wanted to do something which was both artistic and interesting. He insisted on going to Reed College. Eventually he got admitted to the school. Sometimes, he hurt his parent’s feelings and regretted engaging in such actions. Another of Steve’s friends was a guy named Daniel Kottke. Both of them were vegetarians. Steve soon met Robert Friedland. He was like a drug dealer. Robert also believed in enlightenment. Steve often stared at other people. It was like a reality distortion field to be able to mix with Robert Friedland. Robert taught Steve how to market himself and start selling stuff. Eventually, Steve realized Robert was a con man and lost respect for him. He was a gold miner. At Reed, Steve was bored of the classes he was forced to take. Since the college education was very expensive and it was not beneficial, he decided to drop out. Steve had a very curious mind. Soon, he attended a calligraphy class. He learnt about serif and sans serif typefaces and typography. His font was soon to be used in the Macs. Windows had it as well. Steve credited drugs for making him more enhanced.

Taking LSD (Acid) was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important – creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could. – Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs refused to go to the classes he was assigned and instead went to the ones he wanted, such as a dance class where he could enjoy both the creativity and the chance to meet girls. – Walter Isaacson

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 okay. – Steve Jobs

Atari and India

Zen and the Art of Game Design. Atari was a game manufacturer. The founder was Nolan Bushnell. Alcorn was the chief engineer at Atrari. He was impressed by Steve’s work attitude. Steve refused to leave Atari until they gave him a job. Steve met Ron Wayne, a guy who had started a company that built slot machines. He became to realize that it was indeed possible to start your own company. Ron Wayne later admitted he was gay. Robert headed to India to embark on his spiritual journey. His company devised of a way to pay for his trip to India. Over there, he met Larry Brilliant, who later became Steve’s good friend. Steve stayed in India for 7 months, but failed to find a guru. Steve was now 19 years ago. People in India used their intuition. Steve felt intuition was more valuable than intellect. Through his mediation, he realized he could harness his intuition more than others. Steve kept meeting a guy called Kobun and embarked on mediation trips. The adoption had an impact on his and he wanted to seek his natural parents. Steve was super confident and wanted to inspire others to do things they thought were not possible initially. This was the good side of the reality distortion field. Woz was the better engineer. Bushnell wanted a single player of pong and got Woz and Steve to design them. Steve kept the bonus from the work and didn’t tell Woz about it. They were actually quite different people. Steve is actually a complex guy with a manipulative side. Eventually they let this issue go. Steve was a guy who didn’t accept no for an answer.

I learned the truth of the Zen saying that if you are willing to travel around the world to meet a teacher, one will appear next door. – Steve Jobs

Then he puts on a tape of Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, lays his head in my lap, and goes to sleep. He had the attitude that he could do anything, and therefore so can you. He put his life in my hands. So that made me do something I didn’t think I could do. – Elizabeth Holmes

If he decided that something should happen, then he’s just going to make it happen. – Elizabeth Holmes, on Steve Jobs

There is something indefinable in an entrepreneur, and I saw that in Steve. He was interested not just in engineering, but also the business aspects. I taught him that if you act like you can do something, then it will work. I told him, ‘Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.’ – Nolan Bushnell

The Apple I (Turn On, Boot Up, Jack in)

Machines of Loving Grace. The 1960s were a time of cultural explosion. The hacker subculture were born. There was also a hippie movement. Steve Jobs practiced mediation in the morning. LSD aided Steve in the creation of the first PC. Hackers envisioned a PC and not everything under central control. The whole earth catalog inspired Steve. This was when he saw the phrase: ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish’. Steve gathered a group to discuss about building a PC. Woz thought of a microprocessor and the idea of a keyboard, screen and computer all in one package. The problem were that microprocessors were often made by Intel and would later be incompatible with Apple’s. On June 29, 1975, Woz managed to type something on a keyboard and this was displayed on a screen. Steve wanted to try and sell this product. At first, Woz wanted to give the Apple I away for free. Steve rejected this idea. Bill Gates didn’t like this idea of charity too. Steve wanted to sell printed circuit boards. They had to raise money to fund it. Apple was thus born. They had to think of a name and eventually settled on Apple. Apple denoted simplicity and it attracted the attention of many. Woz left HP after some persuasion to join Apple. Steve-Woz-Ron had equity in the following percentage 45-45-10. As partners were liable for their debts, Ron backed out and received his money back. The two of them were too crazy for him. The audience, except a guy named Paul Terrell, was impressed with the Apple I. Terrell became Apple’s first customer. Woz was shocked by this news. Steve got their friends to help out with the order. The garage was converted into a lab. Woz wanted to sell at cost but Steve wanted to make a profit. In addition to the Altair, there were other competitors. At that time, their product was not as good as their competitors’.

The people who invented the 21st century were pot-smoking, sandal-wearing hippies from the West Coast like Steve, because they saw differently. The hierarchical systems of the East Coast, England, Germany, and Japan do not encourage this different thinking. The sixties produced an anarchic mindset that is great for imagining a world not yet in existence. – Bono, from the band U2

Steve is just that sort of person. I mean, he knew how to talk to a sales representative. I could never have done that. I’m too shy. – Steve Wozniak

Every time I’d design something great, Steve would find a way to make money for us. It never crossed my mind to sell computers. It was Steve who said, “Let’s hold them in the air and sell a few.” – Steve Wozniak

Even if we lose our money, we’ll have a company. For once in our lives, we’ll have a company. – Steve Jobs, to his co-founder Steve Wozniak

I was on one of my fruitarian diets. I had just come back from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word ‘computer.’ Plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book. – Steve Jobs

They were very different, but they made a powerful team. Jobs at times seemed to be driven by demons, while Woz seemed a naïf who was toyed with by angels. Jobs had a bravado that helped him get things done, occasionally by manipulating people. He could be charismatic, even mesmerizing, but also cold and brutal. Wozniak, in contrast, was shy and socially awkward, which made him seem childishly sweet. – Ron Wayne

I never wanted to deal with people and step on toes, but Steve could call up people he didn’t know and make them do things. – Steve Wozniak

We were participating in the biggest revolution that had ever happened, I thought. I was so happy be a part of it. – Stephen Wozniak

The Apple II

Dawn of a New Age. PCs need to be in a complete package, not just the processor. Woz tried to build the Apple II. He created colour this time. This was slow to be released to the market. Steve had to get new sources of funding to build it. Steve was hurt when Woz’s dad criticized him for not giving Woz more of the profit. Steve wanted Woz to take the whole Apple. But Woz refused and knew the power of the team. Steve would help package the Apple II. Steve got someone to design a plastic case for the PC. It was simple, yet elegant. He persuaded another guy to design the power source. They created a switching power supply (alternating current). The PC came with slots which allowed users space to upgrade. Steve looked weird and thin and this frightened off potential investors. Markkula thought about investing in Apple and was excellent at marketing. He was made rich after a stint at Intel. Markkula impressed both Steves and furthermore, he liked the Apple II. He had a strong moral compass as well. This guy had big dreams and wanted to bring the product into the mass market. Markkula pumped $250K into Apple and the shareholding was now Steve (25%)-Woz (25%) – Markkula (25%)- Future Investors (25%). Woz initially did not want to leave HP completely. Woz did not want to leave engineering. After much persuasion, he came on board Apple as an engineer. The company was incorporated in Jan 1977. Markkula was like a mentor to Steve. Mike wanted Apple to live by these qualities ‘Empathy, Focus and Impute (Creating a Good Impression + good marketing)’. Regis McKenna was a publisher for IT companies and had good outreach. Steve was persistent about getting Regis to publish about Apple. McKenna worked with the logo with a bitten apple. ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. They spent a lot of marketing. Both Steves were given wardrobe makeovers. During a trade show, they got a first deal from Japan. Steve was becoming rude to his staff. Mike wanted to bring Mike Scott ‘Scotty’ as the new Apple president. He was brought in to manage Jobs. Steve wanted to be in control of everything. He took offence at not being #1 in the badge number list. Steve was a product perfectionist as well. Steve and Scotty had many conflicts regarding design. Steve was not practical at times regarding his demands. VisiCalc produced word and spreadsheet software for Apple II only.

You don’t deserve shit. You haven’t produced anything. – Jerry Wozniak, to Steve Jobs

Mike really took me under his wing. His values were much aligned with mine. He emphasized that you should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last. – Steve Jobs

He became increasingly tyrannical and sharp in his criticism. He would tell people, that design looks like shit. – Mike Markkula

Steve was too tough on people. I wanted our company to feel like a family where we all had fun and shared whatever we made. – Steve Wozniak

Woz designed a great machine, but it would be sitting in hobby shops today were it not for Steve Jobs. – Regis McKenna

Chrisann and Lisa (He Who is Abandoned). Chrisann was together with Greg Calhoun. She and Greg also headed to India for a spiritual journey. Soon, their relationship soured. Steve got her pregnant. However, he didn’t care about it and didn’t know how to deal with it. He lived in denial. He knew he didn’t want to take care of the kid. Steve didn’t want her to place the kid up for adoption. Steve was 23 then. After the girl was born, Steve named her Lisa Nicole Brennan and left to go back to Apple. Steve, under law, had to pay money to support the girl. He kept admitting he was not the father. Looking back, he regretted how he handled the situation. Steve put aside drugs and his strict vegan diets. Still, he had the child-like streak in him.

I was all in favor of her getting an abortion, but she didn’t know what to do. She thought about it repeatedly and decided not to, or I don’t know that she ever really decided – I think time just decided for her. – Steve Jobs

Xerox and Lisa

Graphical User Interfaces. 210,000 units of Apple II were sold in 1981. Steve didn’t want to live in Woz’s shadow. He wanted to impress others as well. The Apple III was a failure. Jobs wanted to name a new computer Lisa. Bill Atkinson was putting life into ‘Lisa’. He created Pascal, a programming language for the Apple II and to develop a program for tracking a stock portfolio. Xerox PARC’s engineers began to create a GUI. Every pixel would be retained in memory and more computing power was required. Steve was interested in Xerox PARC. Steve allowed Xerox to buy Apple’s shares for a discounted rate and in return Xerox had to share their new idea. Apple went public a year later. Xerox got the worse end of the deal and revealed too much to Apple. Eventually, Steve was amazed by their technology. Smalltalk showed how computers could be networked and how object-oriented programming worked. Apple raided on their idea. It was how Apple used the Xerox PARC idea. If Xerox had commercialized their invention, the whole computer industry could have been theirs. Execution is just as important as innovation. Apple improved the GUI as well. The modern day desktop interface was formed. Atkinson designed windows that overlap with each other. Steve dismissed people who were not ambitious and doubted their abilities in life. Mike Scott and Mike Markkula aimed to control Jobs with a reorganization. This relinquished operational control from Steve Jobs. He was made non-executive chairman of the board.

The Apple III was kind of like a baby conceived during a group orgy, and later everybody had this bad headache, and there’s the bastard child, and everyone says, ‘It’s not mine.’ – Randy Wigginton

‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it. People who are serious about software should make their own hardware.  -Alan Kay

“Picasso had a saying – ‘good artists copy, great artists steal’ – and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” – Steve Jobs

Everything you’ve ever done in your life is shit, so why don’t you come work for me? – Steve Jobs to 2 Xerox engineers

I was upset and felt abandoned by Markkula. He and Scotty felt I wasn’t up to running the Lisa division. I brooded about it a lot. – Steve Jobs

Going Public (A Man of Wealth and Fame). By end 1980, Apple was worth $1.79 billion. Daniel Kottke didn’t get stock options because he was paid by the hour. He pleaded with Steve Jobs to give him options. Steve didn’t bulge. ‘Steve is the opposite of loyal. He’s anti-loyal. He as to abandon the people he is close to.’ Steve lost a friend because of this. Woz, on the other hand, gave some options to his other employees so that they could be rich. He even gave Daniel and some others stock options. Morgan Stanley was the underwriter for the deal. By 25, Steve was worth $256 million. Steve was anti-materialistic when young when he pursued the Zen way of life. However, now he had a love for material objects. He tried his best not to let money change him. He set up his own foundation.

I never worried about money. I grew up in a middle-class family, so I never thought I would starve. And I learned at Atari that I could be an okay engineer, so I always knew I could get by. I was voluntarily poor when I was in college and India, and I lived a pretty simple life even when I was working. So I went from fairly poor, which was wonderful, because I didn’t have to worry about money, to being incredibly rich, when I also didn’t have to worry about money. – Steve jobs

I watched people at Apple who made a lot of money and felt they had to live differently. Some of them bought a Rolls-Royce and various houses, each with a house manager and then someone to manage the house managers. Their wives got plastic surgery and turned into these bizarre people. This was not how I wanted to live. It’s crazy. I made a promise to myself that I’m not going to let this money ruin my life. – Steve Jobs

The Mac Is Born (You say you want a revolution). Jef Raskin wrote the manual for the Apple II for $50. The Macintosh was born. It was a screen, keyboard and computer all rolled into one. Burrell Smith was a brilliant engineer who worked on the Mac. Raskin didn’t believe that if you just had passion, you could design anything you want. Raskin used the underpowered Motorola 6809 microprocessor. Jobs wanted to use the more powerful Motorola 68000 chip. Eventually, he got his way. Also, Steve wanted a mouse whereas Jef wanted a keyboard. Some engineers found Steve very difficult to work with due to his desire to introduce politics and tension. Mike sided with Jobs this time. Raskin was forced to leave. Andy Hertzfeld started to work on the Mac as well. Steve had a personality that convinced some of the top engineers to join the Mac team. Woz had a crash in an airplane and decided to take a break from Apple. Steve wanted to name the Mac the bicycle. This failed. A few weeks later, Jobs managed to push Scotty out as president of Apple. Mike Markkula took over as interim president and Steve was free to explore with the Mac.

I think he likes people to jump when he says jump. I felt that he was untrustworthy, and that he does not take kindly to being found wanting. He doesn’t seem to like people who see him without a halo. – Jef Raskin

Very often, when told of a new idea, he will immediately attack it and say that it is worthless or even stupid, and tell you that it was a waste of time to work on it. This alone is bad management, but if the idea is a good one he will soon be telling people about it as though it was his own. – Jef Raskin

The Reality Distortion Field (Playing by His Own Set of Rules). Steve had super ambitious goals and was living in his own world at times. It is not wise to get caught in his distortion reality field. It was like a force of nature. He had the power to transform others. It was almost hypnotic. He felt special and super rebellious at birth. Just like Gandhi. He felt rules did not apply to him. People’s work were either brilliant or totally shitty. You were either a god or a shithead. Although he might see your idea as being shitty, he might actually come back to you later and claim it was great. Steve could adopt your position as if he was his own. It was essential not to react to his extreme positions and be affected by it. Those who were criticized by him improved along the way. Steve actually respected people who stood up for themselves. ‘This is shit’ actually means ‘tell me why this is the best way to do it.’ Steve had the ability to look at the big picture. The Mac turned out to be a great product. He had a good way of motivating employees.

In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything. It wears off when he’s not around, but it makes it hard to have realistic schedules. – Bud Tribble, on Steve Jobs

His reality distortion is when he has an illogical vision of the future, such as telling me that I could design the Breakout game in just a few days. You realize that it can’t be true, but he somehow made it true. – Steve Wozniak, on Steve Jobs

It was a self-fulfilling distortion. You did the impossible, because you didn’t realize it was impossible. – Walter Isaacson

It’s a common trait in people who are charismatic and know how to manipulate people. Knowing that he can crush you makes you feel weakened and eager for his approval, so then he can elevate you and put you on a pedestal and own you. – Joanna Hoffman, on Steve Jobs

I’ve learned over the years that when you have really good people you don’t have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don’t like it if you tolerate B work. Ask any member of that Mac team. They will tell you it was worth the pain. – Steve Jobs

The Design (Real Artists Simplify). Steve liked clean and simple designs. He poached Lewin from Sony. He really believed less is more. Once again, he was very focused on the packaging. He wanted bright and pure colours, and products with top technology. ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. Soon, he was thinking of a flat laptop. He didn’t want a boxy Mac, but rather, a curvaceous one. Steve would keep improving on the model. He didn’t want ovals or rectangles but rectangles with rounded edges. Steve used his typography knowledge to design the Mac. He placed heavy emphasis on getting the fonts right. He also designed the Mac’s calculator. Hartmut Esslinger would be Apple’s designer. Even the circuit boards had to be designed well. Quality and design must be consistent throughout. He kept making people re-do their designs.

I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it’s inside the box. A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it. – Steve Jobs, on the circuit boards in the PC

Building the Mac

The Journey is the Reward. Steve dismantled the IBM’s PC and analysed it. Apple was overconfident and tried to taunt IBM. To him, IBM was not innovative. Steve wanted his Mac to compete with the Lisa. It became unhealthy. The people working on Lisa thought Steve was destroying Apple. His software etc was all over closed and not compatible with other products. For the Mac, a user could not open the motherboard. For the hacker, this was bad. He wanted utter control over the user’s experience. He didn’t want people to open the Mac up. Steve was soon featured on the Time Magazine. Lisa eventually died a natural death because sales dried up. Apple had to turn to Steve Job’s Mac. It was 1983. Steve asked weird questions at interviews at ‘Are you a virgin?’; ‘How many times have you taken LSD?’ ‘It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.’ He didn’t treat the Japanese well. Especially those who had crappy hard disk drives. Steve wanted a disk drive designed by Alps and not imported from Sony. Time was running short. Hertzfeld disobeyed Steve by using Sony instead of developing their own disk drive as the Mac was due for introduction soon. Steve thanked him for it.

If, for some reason, we make some giant mistakes and IBM wins, my personal feeling is that we are going to enter sort of a computer Dark Ages for about 20 years. – Steve Jobs

It would be as if someone off the street added some brush strokes to a Picasso painting or changed the lyrics to a Dylan song. – Walter Isaacson

No, because customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them. – Steve Jobs, on the need for market research

Enter Sculley

The Pepsi Challenge. Mike didn’t want to be president and started looking for someone else. John Sculley from Pepsi Co came to mind. He and Steve met a few times. John was excellent at marketing. Sculley was thrilled by Steve’s ideas and visions. Sculley was also a perfectionist by nature. They went on long tours together. Sculley realized he couldn’t reject him. Steve had the uncanny ability to say something which could convince others. Steve and Sculley were incredibly similar. Eventually, it became a recipe for disaster. Steve kept praising Sculley. However, when he couldn’t meet his expectations, things started to go downhill. Steve had big mood swings. The first disagreement was on how to price the Mac. Sculley priced it too high and Microsoft dominated the market then.

Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water (Pepsi), or do you want a chance to change the world? – Steve Jobs, to John Sculley (the future Apple President)

We’ll have to solve those problems, because you’re the best person I’ve ever met. I know you’re perfect for Apple, and Apple deserves the best. – Steve Jobs

We all have a short period of time on this Earth. We probably only have the opportunity to do a few things really great and do them well. None of us has any idea how long we’re going to be here, nor do I, but my feeling is I’ve got to accomplish a lot of these things while I’m young. – Steve Jobs

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Review of the Ball Engineer II Genesis

I pre-ordered this watch from the Ball Website in Dec 2015. However, the shipment only arrived in May 2016. This would be the 9th mechanical watch that I owned, after the Tudor Pelagos 25600TB. I first saw this piece on the Ball Watch Facebook page as a sponsored post and was intrigued by the technologies like the anti-magnetic shielding properties (up to 4800A/m) and the new 1mm thick tritium tubes that the Engineer II Genesis uses. These are technologies that are not contained in most of Ball’s other watches. This watch was unique as it was first released for online sales via the Ball Website, before being subsequently released to the public at a much higher price. At that time, I was not aware that Ball would subsequently release many limited editions via online sales. Anyway, the Ball Engineer II Genesis was released to commemorate Ball’s 125th year anniversary and was a limited production model.

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The Engineer II Genesis watch (43mm case and is 13+mm thick) has a day-date feature and a brilliant blue sun-burst dial. The sun-burst dial was something that I found very attractive as it gives the watch a dressy look. The day-date feature was also useful and my Ball SG50 nighttrain and Ball Magneto S did not contain them. This watch uses Ball RR1102 movement, which is an ETA 2836. This limited production model was released to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Ball Watch Company, which was founded by Webb C. Ball in 1891. However, this is not particularly significant to me. Something to note: Ball Watch Company has been releasing quite a number of LEs in recent times.

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Ball Watch Company was founded by an American, Webb C. Ball, in 1891. An accident in 1891 prompted him to act. Refer to link for a brief history of the brand and the founder. Basically, he established stringent watch standards for train operators and inspectors in order to keep good time and prevent railroad accidents from occurring. He was instrumental in the development of chronometry and improving of watch accuracy. He emphasized on keeping precise time and created railroad grade timepieces. This was how the term ‘Official Standard’ came about. Ball watches are known for their visual simplicity, elegance and precision.

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The Ball Engineer II Genesis is of a unique design, although I must say it resembles the Engineer II Pioneer and Engineer II Arabic. The Engineer II range is known for their classic designs and natural elegance. I simply love the sword-like hands and the RR (RailRoad) design on the second hand. In addition, the hour, minute and second hands are lumed for great night visibility. Ball is celebrating their 125th anniversary in 2015, and this is testament to the longevity and heritage of the brand. Ball is known for producing reliable watches with good quality. Ball can certainly hold its own against Tag Heuer/Oris in terms of quality and finish. In terms of price point, Ball watches are generally in the affordable range of SGD1.5k to 6k. Ball is also renowned for their use of tritium T25 tubes which can glow up to 25 years and requires no charging. This sets the brand apart from many other luxury brands which use Superluminova. Ball watches are Swiss made, value-for-money and are extremely durable.

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The main reason why I found it so attractive was the technical features and also the dressy feel that came with the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The Ball Engineer II Genesis comes in a stainless steel case and a metal bracelet. The watch is relatively heavy due to the 43mm size and the thick bracelet. The bracelet is well built and has polished centre-links, similar to the Rolex GMT Master II. It also reminds me of the Patek Phillippe Nautilus bracelet. The case is highly polished at the sides and at the bezel area. This watch really plays with the light due to the numerous polished surfaces. This contrast gives the watch a dressy and elegant feel.

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The watch draws attraction from others, which I like. It has a flat sapphire crystal which is AR coated. Due to the materials used, the watch will not develop patina over time. There are the words ‘AUTOMATIC’ and 100m/ 300ft printed on the bottom half of the dial. This watch is not chronometer certified.

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The Ball Magneto S is an everyday dressy watch with 100 meters water resistance and shock resistance to 5000g. This is a watch where you can wear daily without having to worry about it. However, one should be careful not to overly bang the watch around as polished centre-links are scratch magnets. The watch also pairs well with casual clothing on weekends.  After nearly 1 year of use, my watch is almost scratch-free and still in mint condition.

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Ball Magneto S uses the Ball automatic calibre RR1102, which is essentially a clone of the ETA -2836. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used with many other watch brands whom they get ETA as their supplier. Of course, Ball modifies the movement via adding decorations and also to make it more shock resistant. The movement comes with a 38 to 42 hour power reserve and I have no qualms about the movement at this price point. For an in-house movement, one can be expected to pay at least double. Some of the more expensive Ball models are COSC chronometer certified (-4 to +6 seconds/day). I have tested my watch on a Timegrapher and it currently runs at a decent -7 seconds/day, which is well within my expectations.

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The sun-burst blue dial on the watch has different textures under sunlight/artificial lighting. This is certainly very attractive to look at. There are tinges of blue, white and green on the dial and this gives the watch a playful feel at times. Overall, there are only 2 lines of text on the dial and it does not appear cluttered. The issue I have with this watch is the large case and that the 3-6-9 hour markers are too large, giving the dial an unbalanced feel. My other qualm is that the date window is white and does not blend well with the blue dial.

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The Ball Engineer II Genesis has a closed caseback. There is an engraving of a railroad train from the 1800s and also the engraving ‘125th anniversary’. The watch is shock-resistant to 5000g and anti-magnetic to 4800A/m. These are some of the features that allows Ball to stand out from the other brands.

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I have saved the best for last, just like hitting the ‘climax’ of a movie. The Ball Engineer II has incredible lume due to 28 1mm thick micro-sized tritium tubes. Although you cannot charge the lume, tritium tubes can glow up for to 25 years. I have compared the lume to my other 2 Ball Watches and this is by far the most impressive. At times, it even appears as bright as charged Super-luminova. Tritium emits electrons through beta decay, and, when they interact with a phosphor material, fluorescent light is created, a process called radio-luminescence. The radiation exposure is so weak that it doesn’t affect human health.

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To be honest, I have not worn this watch as frequently as I have liked as I am not used to the weight of the watch and the 3-6-9 markers are too large. With slightly smaller markers, this watch would have been a keeper. The problem with purchasing online is that it is not possible to tell how heavy the watch is and how exactly it will sit on your wrist. In March 2017, I traded this piece for the Ball Trainmaster 60 seconds, which I will be reviewing shortly. The Ball Engineer II Genesis is a dressy watch which will also pair well with casual clothing. The three most outstanding features are its (1) Ball Bracelet; (2) 1mm thick tritium tubes and (3) sun-burst dial. The watch was purchased online for SGD 1,310. If purchased from retail stores, the RRP would be SGD 2,200. If you want a dressy quality Swiss made piece, this might be the watch you want.

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Review of the Seiko Turtle SRP777K1

I purchased this watch in Feb 2017 from a seller on Carousell after the purchase of my Seiko Sarb033 dress watch. Although I now own the Seiko Padi SRPA21K1, I feel that this all-black Turtle is unique enough to hold a place in my collection.

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The Seiko Turtle SRP777K1 which I purchased was a non-Japanese model and is part of the Seiko Prospex line of divers and has the ‘X’ on the dial. I was always looking forward to purchase a cheap Seiko which was reliable. The black bezel really makes the watch look muted, just like the Rolex Submariners and gives it a tool-like feel. The SRP777K1 (44.3mm case and is 14mm thick) uses the upgraded Seiko 4R36 movement, unlike some of the other lower-end Seiko 5s. It has the iconic cushion-style case which is reminiscent of the Seiko 6309s in the past. The watch is a simple time only watch with a second hand and a rotating bezel. Seiko is a renowned brand which needs no introduction whatsoever. There are other models of this modern Turtle re-make. These include the SRP773, SRP775, SRP779 and also the Seiko Padi Turtles, Green Turtles, Zimbe Turtles, Blue Lagoon Turtles etc. Seiko has also released a Seiko Samurai Turtle in early 2017. The K series of the same watches are slightly cheaper but the one I own is of great quality, similar to the J models.

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Seiko movements are reliable and are made in-house. The Seiko 4R36 mechanical movements (42 hour power reserve) has been around for ages and keep good time and chronometry. In addition, because they are Japanese movements, they are a lot more affordable. In fact, the 4R36s, 6R15s are comparable to Miyota movements or even Swiss ETAs. There is extensive lume on the SRP777K1, comparable to some of Seiko’s other divers. The watch simply glows like a torch at night! This watch is certainly an upgrade from the SKX range, which uses the 7s movement. Seiko watches are good value-for-money and aesthetically pleasing and for good reason.

The main reason why I found it so attractive was the tool-like nature of the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The SRP777K1 comes in a stainless steel case in a cushion style shape. (about 48mm lug-to-lug) and a silicon Z-22 rubber strap (22mm). The rubber strap is extremely durable and supple and is extremely comfortable to wear. The metal keepers on the strap are also brushed and polished, creating a splendid visual effect. I prefer wearing the watch on the rubber strap as compared to the standard Seiko metal bracelet. The cushion shaped case sits nicely on the wrist and is well-built. I have worn the Turtle for extended periods of time and have not felt any wrist fatigue.

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The Seiko Turtle re-issue has been a great success as it closely inspired by the original Seiko 6309s. It is simply a tool watch which can be abused without the user worrying about it. The dial is largely symmetrical, other than the day-date indication at 3 o’clock. The hour markers and minute markers are shaped like broad arrows. The dial is pure black, with white fonts and markers. The all0black bezel is fully marked from 0 to 60. The black bezel is certainly popularized by the vintage Rolex dive watches.

The SRP777K1 is a dive watch with 200 meters water resistance and is secured by the screw-down crown. This watch can certainly be used for sports and for daily use. It will pair well with formal attire, like a suit/blazer or even t-shirts and jeans. I have worn this piece numerous times to work and I have had no trouble with it. Being 14mm tall, it might not slide under most shirt-cuffs. I would say that the watch is quite stealthy in nature due to the dull black colour on the dial and strap. The watch does not get as much wrist time as my Ball or Tudor watches as it also costs much less. The uni-directional bezel is easy to turn and there is little play in it. The bezel also aligns perfectly to the 12 o’clock mark. However, I have read reviews that some bezels might be stiff to turn and might not align perfectly too.

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The watch uses the Seiko 4R36 automatic movement, which is hand winding and has hacking capabilities. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used in other Seikos like the famous Prospex range. The movement comes with a 42 hour power reserve when fully wound. However, I am not used to watches which can’t wind and have to be powered via wrist movements. Hence, this watch suits me more than the SKX range. The automatic movement cannot be seen as there is a closed caseback. The rotor is also very quiet and barely audible. The watch seems to be fairly accurate based on the brief period which I had it with me. Before this piece, I purchased the Seiko Turtle PADI, which is a special edition.

SRP777K1 has Seiko’s renowned proprietary Hardlex crystal. It gives the watch greater presence and texture, evoking a vintage feel while claiming to be harder than hesalite crystal. Although not as superior to sapphire crystal in terms of scratch resistance properties, it is durable and decent enough. The stainless steel caseback is engraved with the Air Diver logo and has a brushed finish.

Overall, I am impressed by how the watch looks. I have no issues with the weight of the watch. The Seiko SRP777K1 is a unique entry level dive watch which is durable and can last for ages. It is something that is highly recommended and is much more affordable than Swiss watches. The watch is available in Singapore and retails for SGD 550. You may consider purchasing it online via eBay or Amazon. If you are considering an entry level dive watch, this watch might just be the one for you.

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Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give in by Louis Zamperini & David Rensin

Lessons from an Extraordinary Life. Louis Zamperini died on July 2, 2014. He had an indomitable courage and fighting spirit for life. He always kept himself occupied by talking and traveling. His biography, Devil at the Heels, was published in 2003. Unbroken was also a film by Angelina Jolie about him. Louis had an exemplary character.

Introduction. I felt sharp even at 97. I was a runner for my high school. I used to run the mile. In the 1936 Olympics, I ran a 56 second final lap and got praised by Hilter. Eventually, I became a bombardier during the WWII. When my plane crashed in the Pacific, I miraculously survived. We grabbed rafts and we ate chocolates and ate fish and sharks that came by. I had a sharp mind and that kept me going. After 33 days, Mac died. Phil and I were left. By day 46, we found Marshall Islands and landed there. However, the Japanese had established a presence there. We were tortured by the Japanese. When I returned home after the war, I received a hero’s reception. However, I suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Later, I devoted my life to God. Enduring challenges have gave me many rewards and I do not regret anything I have done. I started an outreach camp program after the War. Reporters were interested to cover my story after the war. Unbroken was one of the NYT bestsellers. I am just an ordinary man who resolved never to give up even in the face of trying circumstances. If you give life a try, you never know that might take you.

Run for Your Life

The Family Rules. We all need a code of ethics to guide us in life. Everyone pitched in to help when we were tight on cash. I worked odd jobs when young. My mum was strict but taught us well. My parents also knew how to play instruments.

Anyone Can Turn Their Life Around. I was often in trouble when young. I also had a self-esteem problem as I couldn’t speak English when young. Also, I hated the way I looked. School fights were common. One day, my dad gave me a punching bag and I trained. I was caught for smoking when I was 9. When I was older, I also like drinking and stole booze whenever I could. We robbed shops of pies and booze. Once in a while, I went to church. Once I beat up a driver because he reported me to the police after I stole his pies. Could I turn my life around? My parent were sick of me getting into trouble time after time. My brother was a better influence than me and wasn’t mischievous. My parents gave me a chance to shine through school sports. The principal encouraged me to sign up. I visited the steel mill and knew that I didn’t want to work there and suffer. I trained hard and sports changed my life and finally I started winning. Pete had much to do with my turn-around. I simply just kept running and never missed a training session.

The Difference Between Attention and Recognition is Self-Esteem. I was mischievous because I wanted recognition. I wanted to be accepted by others. I was also voted into the student-body as president. I had high self-esteem when it came to stealing from shops. However, in school, I suffered from low self-esteem. I was constantly anxious over how I was perceived by others. Self-respect can only be earned by doing something great. My fans and family were a tremendous part for my success. You don’t have to fight this journey alone.

It’s Not How You Win, It’s How You Lose. I raced the 5,000 metres in 1936. However, the officials made a mistake and I collided into another runner, causing me to lose. I was upset as I was winning continuously for 3.5 years. I congratulated Bright, the winner. Back in the day, we competed for the love of the sport. I represented the US at the 5,000m race at the Olympics, but I didn’t win.

That’s the way it should be. If you give everything and you lose, so what? It’s not going to put you in your grave. I walked away knowing I could handle defeat gracefully, and I had more self-esteem from that than from winning the race. – Louis Zamperini

I didn’t win the 5000m race at the Olympics, but making the team and not winning is like going to the moon and stumbling over a rock and falling. So what? You’re still on the moon. – Louis Zamperini

A Race Isn’t Over Until It’s Over. Glenn Cunningham was my hero. He was badly burnt but refused to give up on life. He epitomized resilience and resolve. The runners were not friendly towards me after I bragged that I would do a 4 minute mile. However, I still won in a time of 4:08.03. I won for myself and also for Glenn Cunningham. I didn’t know to accept defeat and kept pushing myself to greater heights. Thankfully, the persistence and perseverance would come in handy during WWII.

Be Prepared

Preparation Determines Your Survival. You should be prepared for anything. Every circumstance can be broken down into manageable challenges. When I was stranded at sea, I did not panic and used my first aid skills and learned how to catch fish. Everyone should learn some survival skills. Schools should teach survival skills to kids. I was a Scout and got inspired by Robinsoe Crusoe. As a rock climber, I knew that the ability to tie knots could determine my fate. Survival depends on education, preparation and anticipation.

Anything can happen to anyone, but there are simple rules designed to keep you out of trouble. When you’re hiking off-trail through the wilderness and you make a turn, break a tree branch so you know that’s where you were. – Louis Zamperini

My Survival Kit. You should keep your survival gear near to you. Even a water cape and shower cap can save you from the blistering cold. Use whatever that can help you survive. You always have to be one step ahead in your thinking.

Trust What You Know. The sharks often ate the bait that I laid while trying to catch first. Once, two sharks tried to jump on our raft. Then, we devised a plan to kill it and clutched the tail, however, I couldn’t hold on to it because of its strength. Later, we managed to kill one and we cut its belly. Raw shark meat would make us sick. The shark liver was delicious as it contained a lot of vitamins and protein. Without it, we might have died.

Keep Your Mind Sharp. Do not allow your body and head to rot. The brain must be exercised. Even on the raft, I tried to imagine mental sums and trying to solve them. We described the meals we cooked while on the raft. Phil and I also talked about our futures and that seemed to work. The Japanese interviewers were astounded by our sharpness on Kwajalein – Execution Island. It is imperative to use your brain well. I stayed sharp throughout the interrogation process. Other than Phil and I, no other prisoners made it off Kwajalein alive. I knew there were fake airfields in Hawaii and told the Japanese to bomb them. It was probably because the Jap thought that we would be better used for propaganda purposes.

Don’t Forget to Laugh. Remember to laugh. We had jokes even in Hawaii. We even laughed in POW camp. I felt rats running over my body in the bunk. If you pushed them away, they would bite you. I once made a paddle and smacked it. The rat squeaked in pain, and that got the rest laughing.

You are the Content of Your Character. I spent a year at Ofuna, a secret interrogation facility. Later, I was sent to Omori prison camp and I was also punished. Once, Mutsuhiro Watanabe ‘The Bird’ punished me. He knocked me down after I didn’t want to look at him. He offered me a tissue to wipe away the blood. After, he hit me again. He was a psychopath. The Bird couldn’t handle power as there were many higher ranked officers in the camp. I was extremely pissed and wanted my revenge. Once, I was brought to Radio Tokyo as they wanted me to send a message. In fact, the Japanese were using me to show the Americans that the POWs were being well taken off. They wanted me to claim that I was one of the lucky guys. However, I refused to read it and I’d rather be punished. Even though I transferred a camp, I still realized that ‘Bird’ was in charge again.

Never Let Anyone Destroy Your Dignity. Those soldiers who couldn’t accept their situation suffered the most. I got beaten up by ‘Bird’ but I kept going on and preserving. Bird punched in the stomach, causing me to drop the plank I was holding above my head for 37 minutes. Don’t let anyone destroy your dignity.

The great lesson of my life is perseverance. Never give up. – Louis Zamperini

Hate is a Personal Decision. Hate is just a cover-up and it will destroy you. Hate is a personal decision. Some of the prisoners hated the Japanese so much that they refused to eat. If you hate someone, it destroys your spirit.

The True Definition of a Hero. Being a hero is over-rated and over-used. I have deep respect for public servants like lawyers, doctors, teachers, firefighters etc.Whatever I did in the war, I did it for myself and fellow soldiers. It is important to work for the betterment of everyone.

Let others boast of you, but no with thine own mouth – Louis Zamperini

Attitude is Everything

You Must have Hope. If you tell yourself the war is going to end soon, you have a chance to stay mentally intact.

You must have hope. It rejuvenates your whole being. You can’t allow negative thinking – even if you know your chances are slim. I’m not saying that it’s easy to do, but the ability to envision the road to successful completion is what keeps you alive. – Louis Zamperini

Don’t Ask Why, Ask What’s Next? When you are old, the best form of exercise is walking. Walking keeps my legs strong. Old people shouldn’t give up walking. My attitude towards life remains upbeat even though I am old. The nurses also support me all the way. Having a positive attitude pays off in tremendous ways that you cannot imagine.

If you can’t control your attitude, forget it. You’re going to heal slowly or die young. – Louis Zamperini

You Choose How to View Your Fate. I rather be marooned alone on an island as compared to being caged up in prison. Even if you are stranded on an island, you should view your fate in a more positive fashion.

The Secret of Contentment. I have learnt to be content and react positively to life. I have learnt to accept everything that happens in life. Learn to work with what you have. Acceptance creates cheerfulness, which in turn creates contentment. Attitude is everything.

After the War: Still Lost

You Can’t Run (Or Sail) Away from Yourself. I felt like a celebrity after the war. My wife and I were invited to many functions. I wanted to run for the California state legislature. Your reputation and character are all you have. I wanted to get rich fast and I started trying to sell construction equipment. Sometimes, I still kept thinking about my time in POW. My running was too slow and I knew I couldn’t compete again. I wanted to party and have fun. I decided to take a trip on a boat on an expedition. It was an adventurous trip. It was definitely a joyous trip which I enjoyed thoroughly. The moral of the story is that you can’t run away from your problems and responsibilities.

Don’t Leave the Crucial Details to Others. We went to the Earl Carroll Theatre mostly. Once, we were stranded out at sea because our crew member forgot to top up fuel. We sent out an SOS signal and the plane dropped food to us. I used the mirror to send a morse code. The girls on my boat kept waving at the pilot and the pilot seemed interested in rescuing them. Finally, the Coast Guard saw us and pulled us aboard. The moral of the story: don’t leave the crucial details to someone you don’t know.

don't give up phrase on blackboard

motivational phrase, don’t give up, handwritten with white chalk on a blackboard