The Telomere Effect by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel (Part 2)

Renewal Lab. Learn to reduce ‘ego threat’ stress. Tell yourself that your identity runs wide and deep. Write down the goals and values that matter most to you and stick to that. This has been proven to help reduce stress responses. When you understand that no one big event can hurt you, you become less stressed over the negative occurrence of any one event. Learn to distance your thoughts from your emotions. Use the third party pronoun and not ‘I’ too frequently. One can also apply time distancing, this means you imagine whether an event will affect you in 10 years’ time. One can also apply visual self-distancing. Imagine that you are viewing an event from afar. Pretend to be a third party witnessing yourself act. This technique of mentally stepping outside of your body can work well.

Mind Your Telomeres: Negative Thinking, Resilient Thinking. Thought suppression isn’t healthy and good for our telomeres. Negative thinking isn’t good too. Try to learn about your style of thinking. Cynical hostility isn’t good at all. A lot of these thoughts are actually automatic. One strategy is to learn to laugh at your negative thoughts. Hostility is associated with anger and thoughts that people cannot be trusted. Pessimists typically predict that a bad outcome is going to emerge. Pessimists are also associated with shorter telomeres. Pessimists tend to hate stressful situations and worry that they are not up to the mark. The human mind tends to wander and not focus on the task at hand. However, activities like sex, engaging in conversation and exercising produce less mind-wandering. If you are not fully engaged in an activity, you tend not to be happy. Multi-tasking actually is a source of noxious stress. To do something effectively, it is better to only do one thing at a time. It would be wise for you to try to eliminate distractions and to focus on the task at hand. Rumination is about rehashing your problems over and over again. Instead of finding a solution, people feel worse in this process. People who ruminate experience more depression and anxiety. Thought suppression is about pushing away unwanted thoughts. The more you try to push something away, the more it will call for your attention. This is also known as ironic error. Scolding yourself when negative thoughts emerge is unlikely to work. One can use resilient thinking, which is based on acceptance and mindfulness. Exercise thought awareness and loosen the grip of negative thought patterns. This is not thought stopping, but simply viewing the thoughts with more clarity. Meditation and long distance running can help with thought awareness. Stand like an observer and witness your thoughts passing by. A lot of the thoughts are repeat of thoughts that came before. Understand that thoughts will fade after a while. It is advisable not to believe everything that you think. Mindfulness is really about training the mind to focus. Now, I can focus better on whatever I do. Close your eyes and breathe once you experience negative thoughts. You do not need to go for a long course on mindfulness to be good. Meditating also increase your sense of purpose in life. A stronger life purpose can definitely give you better resilience in life. Being happy and having a purpose are often closely linked. Having a purpose is associated with eudaemonic happiness. This is associated with a strong sense of values and purpose. Volunteering to help the community can certainly be very rewarding. Volunteering can produce 2 to 3 years of reverse aging. Being conscientious is a good trait for your telomeres. These people tend to have long term goals and longer telomeres. Having good impulse control is important. Self-compassion is also another technique and it means kindness towards yourself and not beat yourself up. Be patient and be tolerant towards others. When you fail at something, do you berate yourself? It is good to be high in self-compassion. Developing self-reliance helps towards building stress resilience. Start your day with gratitude and say ‘I am alive and I will seize the day!’. Learn to understand your habits of thinking. When encountering something stressful, try to take a self-compassion break. Tell yourself that suffering is a part of life and also say ‘may I be kind to myself’. Be wary of the internal critic inside of you. Think about what do you want people who to remember you as in a few words as possible. Articulate what are the more important principles in your life and write them down. If your life is too boring, engage in cognitive exercises and do something out of the ordinary.

We push away our bad feelings, which inevitably roar back, and then we feel bad, and then we feel bad about feeling bad. – Elizabeth Blackburn

The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all. – Leo Rosten

When Blue Turns to Gray: Depression and Anxiety. Some people suffer from a panic attack, an intense episode of fear and anxiety. Depressed people feel that there is no possibility in life. If you have depression, the onset of more serious illnesses will come faster. Anxiety is characterized by dread/worry. Some people have anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are associated with shorter telomere lengths. Women who are depressed have shorter telomeres. Sometimes, people whose cells experience telomere shortening have cells producing more telomerase. However, this attempt at producing more telomere fails. Telomere length can also increase if the anxiety goes away after a while. Mice who are subjected to a lot of stress develop an excessive number of mitochondria. Depression is a dysfunctional response to stress. Negative thoughts are not signs that you are unworthy, but are substances of depression. If you are anxious, you will need to learn to face the fear of the item and deal with it head on, in a brave manner. Depression is chronic in nature. There is a sense of contentment of focusing all your attention on a small task. Take a 3 minute breathing break. Breathe and become aware. Gather your attention by breathing and exhaling slowly. Paced breathing can help to lower blood pressure.

Instead of frantically striving to change things, you can choose to do little things that bring you pleasure, and things that help you feel masterful and in control. – Elizabeth Blackburn

When we breathe in, our heart rate goes up. When we exhale, our heart rate goes down. By having a longer exhalation than inhalation, we can slow our heart rate more, and we can also stimulate the vagus nerve. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Master tips for renewal: Stress-reducing techniques shown to boost telomere maintenance. Meditation has a lot of benefits and has been shown to be able to improve well-being. People who meditate tend to have longer telomeres. Staying at a retreat has a powerful effect as you are unplugged from tech devices. Those without meditation experience can try the mindfulness based stress reduction programme or MBSR. MBSR is good for those who want to reduce stress. There is much literature on the health benefits of yoga. It improves the quality of life and mood for many people. It can improve spine bone density if practiced long term. Qigong is part of the wellness progress for Chinese medicine. Qigong reduces depression and may improve diabetes. Qigong exercises are easy and can give you a sense of calm in minutes.

Help your Body Protect its Cells. Stressful long-term events have the potential to contribute to telomere shortening. Do you suffer from mood disorders? Try to figure out how much social support do you have? The more physical activity you do, the better it is for your body. One should engage in aerobic activity at least 150 minutes per week and engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days per week. Exercising more can increase your telomerase levels too. Do consider your nutritional needs as well. Eat food with antioxidants and vitamins and avoid sugar carbonated beverages. Choose an area to focus on where you have weak scores. Choose one area to work on at a time.

Training Your Telomeres: How Much Exercise is Enough? Try to avoid being a weekend warrior when it comes to exercise. Do not overtrain or over-exert unnecessarily. Over-training is characterized by sleep changes, fatigue, mood swings etc. Telomeres do not need extreme fitness regimes to thrive on. How does exercise work wonders for your body? There are cellular benefits of exercise. Ideally, our cells should have enough antioxidants. When free radicals build up, it is bad for our body. Exercise is very valuable in the short term, as it stimulates the body to produce more antioxidants. When you exercise more, your body produces less cortisol and you feel calmer. People who exercise regularly have a more robust immune system. Exercising regularly can help to delay the onset of immunosenescence. Exercise also helps to maintain your telomeres. Both moderate aerobic endurance exercise and HIIT are useful. Those who increased their aerobic fitness the most experienced growth in telomerase activity. Strength training helps to improve bone density and muscle mass. Fitness is one of the keys for telomere health. Even though you might be naturally fit, exercise will still help you keep your telomeres healthy. Is too much exercise bad? The benefits of extreme endurance do not seem to be useful. It is important to start exercising when you are young, and never be discouraged. Learn to read the signs of over-training and avoid them as much as possible. Even if your schedule is packed, find time to slip in some exercise. In addition to your exercise regime, it is still important to keep moving throughout the day.

People who exercise live longer and have a lowered risk of high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. And they avoid dementia for longer. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Exercise can improve your mood for up to 3 hours after working out and can reduce stress reactivity. Stress can shorten telomeres, but exercise shields telomeres from some of stress’s damage. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Tired Telomeres: From Exhaustion to Restoration. How can we get more sleep? Cognitive changes and mindfulness will enable you to get more sleep. If you feel sleepy during the day, it is a clear sign you need more sleep at night. Poor sleep will definitely affect your well-being in life. Insomnia is associated with shorter telomeres. Sleep is the most restorative activity that you can actually perform. REM sleep helps to regulate your appetite as well. Poor REM sleep results in higher level of cortisol and insulin, stimulating your appetite. Sleep helps us to refresh emotionally too. Longer sleep results in longer telomeres. 7 or more hours of sleep is the key. Sleep quality matters a lot too. Going to bed at regular hours help in your cell’s ability to regulate telomerase. When you suffer from insomnia, you tend to worry as you are afraid that you will not be able to function after a poor night’s sleep. When such thoughts come to mind, learn to challenge them instead. How can someone suffering from chronic insomnia get better sleep? Avoid engaging in mind-sapping activities just before bed-time. Avoid light sources like phones/laptops. One can consider some light reading/ some classical music. Blue light can supresses melatonin. Minimize light from windows and digital clocks, if possible. Tune out your environment from light and noise distractions. Always try to eat and sleep at regular times. Sleep procrastination is a big problem in modern society. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, go for a check-up. Learn to adopt the following 5 bedtime rituals. The first is to spend 5 minutes in transition. The next is to listen to soothing music. Set a mood for relaxation Brew warm herbal tea. Perform bedtime stretches (gentle rolling of the head and neck, forward bend, child’s pose).

When you are well slept, you are better at learning and remembering. Tired people just aren’t as successful at focusing their attention, so they don’t take in new information as well. – Elizabeth Blackburn

If you feel terrible without 8 or 9 hours of sleep. Don’t try to scrape by with 7. Get those extra hours. And remember that rule of thumb, which offers highly customized sleep advice: If you feel sleepy during the day, you need more sleep at night. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Telomeres Weigh in: A Healthy Metabolism. Belly fat is something that must be avoided. It is a good idea to bring a salad to work as it is healthy. Some people find it hard not to think about food. Eating too much does affect your telomeres, but not as much as depression. Weight is a not very accurate measure of metabolic health. Dieting is not the only way to get healthier. You can be of a normal weight, but if you have a belly, it doesn’t bode well for you. Belly fat, high cholesterol and high blood pressures are key risk factors for diabetes. High belly fat might indicate poor glucose control or insulin resistance. Globally, 9% of people have diabetes. People with diabetes find that it is more difficult for glucose to enter the cells. People with belly fat tend to develop shorter telomeres. There is a connection between short telomeres and diabetes. Weight cycling (increase and decrease) is very unhealthy and should be avoided. Constantly thinking about eating less also produces a cognitive strain. Instead of dieting, one could be physically active and eat nutritious foods. Reducing sugar can lead to metabolic improvements and simple carbs are bad. There is mixed research on caloric restriction. Learn to measure your insulin sensitivity by testing your fasting insulin and glucose. Cutting back on sugar will work wonders for your body. When you crave for sugar, surf the urge. Sit down and close your eyes and imagine the snack and the flavour, but do not eat it. Understand that the cravings will pass and dissipate. Stop eating when you are moderately full, at around 7 or 8 out of 10.

This idea – that improving your metabolic health is more important than losing weight – is vital, and that’s because repeated dieting takes a toll on your body. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Our body has a set point that it defends, and when we lose weight, we also slow our metabolism in an effort to regain the weight (metabolic adaptation). – Elizabeth Blackburn

Dieting can create a semi-addictive state, and it’s also just plain stressful. Monitoring calories causes cognitive load, meaning that it uses up the brain’s limited attention and increases how much stress you feel. – Elizabeth Blackburn

To Be Continued 🙂

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Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant (Part 2)

Taking Back Joy. When I listened to a happy song from childhood and started dancing, I felt happy. Survivor guilt can rob you of your joy. After his passing, I tried to have fun with my children. We took things that reminded us of Dave and made it part of our lives. Allow yourself to be happy and be kind to yourself. Joy has to come your within yourself and no one else. How you spend each day matters more than only the big moments of joy. Do the small things that make you happy. Write down the moments of joy each day. Happiness does require work. Humans are wired to focus on the negative as compared to the positive. The cool breeze could be a positive moment for gratitude too. Happiness can equate to peacefulness too. Try to engage in something challenging and engrossing that can give you that flow state. Exercise can help you to achieve that flow state quickly. Joy can give us strength too. You can find joy in the small moments that you seize and create for yourself.

Raising Resilient Kids. One way is to respond to embarrassment with humour. It is wise to just announce the sad news to your kids directly. We owe it to our children to make them as happy as possible. Early intervention is critical. The school needs to protect a safe environment for kids. Disadvantaged families should be provided with home visits and counseling. Resilience is a lifelong project. Children must develop these few beliefs: they have some control over their lives; they can bounce back from failure; they matter as human beings; they have real strength. It is important to help them understand that they are in control of their lives. Pre-school has a huge role to play in this. Allow your kids to share their dreams with others. It is important to get an education. Kids should adopt a growth instead of fixed mindset. Sometimes, complimenting too soon doesn’t work. Rather, one should comment ‘I’m glad you tried your hardest’. Adults need to tell the kids that they matter. In Denmark, children are encouraged to share their problems in class. Help your kid identify his strengths by making him pick up skills. For instance, you could encourage the kid to pick up a musical instrument. Respect your feelings and try not to suppress them. Sleep matters even during times of adversity. Learning how to forgive is also extremely important. Do not afraid to ask for help and encourage your kids to do so. Sometimes, I still talk about Dave as it helps to keep Dave’s memory alive. If your kids can have a strong understanding of your family members and their parents, they have been coping skills. Nostalgia is usually good as it reflects a pleasant state most of the time. Make the most out of Option B. Keep photos and videos of your loved ones as these help to create happiness.

Finding Strength Together. Hope is the key to resilience. It is possible to bond over hope and create a shared identity. People can pray together. It is important to change tragedy into a miracle. Keep your faith at all times. There is unity in strength. Collective resilience is also dependent on shared experiences etc. Attending support groups can also help you deeply. It might be wise to join a community after a tragedy. Asking for help is actually not a sign of weakness. Shared narratives can play a big part. It is also useful to be lifted by positive ‘stereotypes’ right at the start. Support circles help to build collect resilience. It can certainly be difficult to forgive a gunman who killed so many people. As a community, we can gather together to tackle the tough problems in life. Empowering communities can be the key sometimes. As a community, we can learn to support vulnerable groups.

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. – Martin Luther King Jr

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. – Martin Luther King Jr

Failing and Learning at Work. I took my kids to visit SpaceX. We need to learn from our failures. Often, we are too proud to admit that we made a mistake. The majority of things that people regretted was the actions they failed to take. Move fast and break things. At Facebook, we go for teambuilding and often fail at challenges. Failure must be seen as a learning opportunity. You could ask colleagues what their biggest screw-up is and everyone could compete to see who the biggest screw-up is. Resilience is needed in all organizations of all sizes. We need to all focus on learning from failure. Ask for feedback on how you can improve. Learn to gather and act on negative feedback. We all have our own blind spots but often ignore them. Feedback is hard to take. Sports teams often learn from their mistakes. Learn to take suggestions from a coach too. Try not to treat the feedback personally. People are afraid of criticizing others. Everyone should have at least 1 hard conversation in the past.

The more times a government or company had failed, the more likely they were to put a rocket into orbit successfully on the next try. Also, their chances of success increased after a rocket exploded compared to a smaller failure. – Sheryl Sandberg

When it’s safe to talk about mistakes, people are more likely to report errors and less likely to make them. Yet typical work cultures showcase successes and hide failures. – Sheryl Sandberg

To Love and Laugh Again. Being alone can be an empowering decision indeed. Getting married increases one’s happiness just by a bit. I wanted to find love again after Dave passed on. If you date too soon, people may judge you. Men are more likely to date after their spouse has passed on. The responsibility of caring for children and aged parents seems to fall on the women more. Widows in some parts of the world are cruelly treated. Do not listen to others. When your heart feels like you should date, you should go ahead. However, dating does not erase the grief and that is perfectly fine. When we fall in love, we have a great sense of energy and euphoria. Dating helps brings back the humour. Eventually, one will even learn to joke about death. Joking about Dave now helps to break the tension. Humor makes situations less stressful. It is still very much possible to love someone even after they have died. It is crucial to pay attention to the everyday interaction with our partners. You must turn towards their bid. One way to re-ignite the spark in a relationship is to try new activities. Partners have to be able to overcome conflict. You can’t control whether you fall in love. There is always Option B and we can still find joy.

Resilience in love means finding strength from within that you can share with others. Finding a way to make love last through the highs and lows. – Sheryl Sandberg

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Schiit Happened by Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat (Part 2)

Isn’t the Symbol for USB the long flat rectangle? We transited from a headphone amp to a DAC/amp company. We are like both a hardware and software company. The problem with hardware are manufacturing while software is about service. A restaurant has both of these problems. When you talk hardware, you are talking stock. You will need capital upfront and also the added costs of personnel, facility, testing, shipping etc. For software, it’s about the salaries for programming staff, admin costs etc. However, distribution is easy. However, you must make sure your software can work with the existing OS. It is an ongoing business, where you need to keep upgrading. There are too many things that can go wrong with a restaurant. With Bifrost, we are a software company. We wanted 24/192, which needed Windows support as driver installation was a must. Firmware is not expected to change much. Software usually requires constant upgrading. Try not to allow pre-orders as if you can’t deliver on time, Schiit happens. The Bitfrost shipped out late. It was a nightmare as we ran into problems, one after another.

Although I’m a foodie, I have exactly zero desire to ever open a restaurant. Why? Because restaurants combine the problems of manufacturing with the problems of service with an extra problem of the stock actually goes bad. No thanks. – Jason Stoddard

Technical Help via Time Warner, and the World’s Most Irritating Failure Mode. Tony was our second employee and our first technician. It was late 2011. We have 4 products, Asgard, Valhalla, Lyr, Bifrost. Mike recommended Tony. He was laid off. He was a fast learner. The problem with employees are that they only do things by the book, have a stunning lack of initiative, prima donna-it is. It would be better to ask why and how they did something, rather than what. Tony was a great employee. However, one day, he pointed out that the Lyr was popping. The problem only happened with the back chassis on. We used brute force to fix the problem. However, that was the only batch of equipment with that issue. We might never know what the problem is.

Because people can’t be distilled down to a 2 page resume and a 1 hour interview. There are a ton of candidates skilled in the art of looking good on paper. There are plenty who can be friendly, intelligent, and make all the right noises in response to the standard interview questions. – Jason Stoddard

Selecting people with potential and ambition beats experience every day. – Jason Stoddard

DAC in a Toilet Paper Roll. One day, Mike showed me a USB card, which had RCA jacks on it. It was a USB DAC. Although Mike wasn’t fond of USB, this was an excellent device. We could get the chassis cheap and sell it for USD 99. This is for people who really want portability. It would be simply plug and play. Modi and Magni showed up in Dec 2012. Developing simple products take a lot of time. Modi needed a new chassis design and had to be simple as possible. It required huge production time too. Most companies would have just iterated on existing products to milk the cash out of them. We’re not like that. We set a price target on the chassis. Assembly would be simple at all costs. In the end, we only used 7 screws instead of 16. Modi was built in a steel case. We chose to save our own money rather than borrow money to grow. It might not be the best, but that’s the direction we took. We decided on a Schiit stack, a little DAC that was less than $99 or less too.

Assembly time is a function of chassis design. The simpler the chassis, the lower the assembly time. – Jason Stoddard

Growth, Garage Style. We mostly worked from our garage too. I was a conservative businessman and did not take funding. People thought we were stupid. My plan was to grow organically. By being picky and conservative, we avoided the web bust and managed to thrive. Even in 2011, I didn’t lease office space. Understand what a lease means. Note the lack of any outs. Subleasing sucks as any issue with the property is your fault. You’ll have surprises, and they won’t be good. There’s less space than you think. If you don’t pay, the landlord will chase you to no ends. We ran out of stock very quickly, and that was good. We didn’t need a lot of space. Mike were planning Mjolnir and the Gungnir. These were balanced amp and DACs, higher end things. It was the start of 2012 now.

The lease doesn’t give two craps if your business is in the toilet, if your cash flow sucks, if your sales forecast was wrong, or if you’re late on your mortgage as well. Pay us. Every month. Until the end. – Jason Stoddard

Leasing a space is very much one of those invisible lines in business. Once you do it, you won’t go back. Nor will you back out. So you’d better be damn ready to do it. – Jason Stoddard

Resurrecting the Circlotron and Other Mid-Centuryisms. This chapter is highly technical. Designing a balanced amp was ambitious. Some people argue for single-ended while some prefer balanced. There are pros and cons to both, just like everything in life. Whys, wherefores and design goals. Every car has its disadvantages too, there is no perfect solution. There are trade-offs. Single ended has lower noise and easier to connect. However, high rail voltages are required for high power and balanced input is problematic. Balanced has 4 times the power for the same rail voltages. No us, balanced offers better sonic performance. First law of audio: you can never have too much power. Second law of audio: see the first law. More power usually means higher noise, greater need for protection and paralleled output devices. I have a soft spot for circlotron designs for amps. There were none in the market at the moment. Our company is contrarian and I liked it. Some of the designs include JLH, Lin/ Blameless, CFA/ Current Feedback, Supersymmetry, CSPP / Circlotron, Chip / Integrated. Circlotron uses only P channel, however, it requires a complex power supply. We focused on the high-voltage VFT front end and the MOSFET output. Class A amplifiers run on the time and never turn off. They are hot and big and heavy, and no more than 25% efficient. Class B isn’t used for audio, the output transistors turn off as soon as they cross zero, because they are completely unbiased. Class AB, with bias on the output transistors so they run Class A sometimes. This is the most popular audio output stage and more efficient, with good performance. Class D are switching or PWM amps. Class H are class AB with voltage rail switching. Mike challenged me to include single ended option in the amp too.

Today, orthodynamics are actually becoming more efficient, so the need for extreme power is abating. The headphone amp power war, which never really existed, will probably seem silly in a few years time. – Jason Stoddard

The Pinch-Off Problem. We were developing the Gungnir analog stage. We ran into problems of our prototype boards. We had a pinch-off problem. We chased down the source of the distortion. Swapping parts didn’t help. Analog isn’t the real story. It is important to segregate the analog and digital sections carefully. We needed to look at clock regeneration too. We use one stereo DAC per channel, giving balanced hardware. However, the components cost twice. Digital music has to be stored. There are different formats of music. Lossless audio preserves the original bits. These use the PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) format. DSD encodes using a pulse width modulated datastream (PWM). The DAC wants to see the bit clock, word clock and data. That means 3 or 4 BNC cables. However, nowadays, we only use 1 cable because the clocks are buried in the data. This is SPDIF. Optical is a flavor of SPDIF. However, it has its limitations and can sometimes can only accommodate up to 24/192. Coaxial is another flavor of SPDIF, however, it usually performs better than co-axial. USB is not a SPDIF, but a packet-based system. Bandwidth is no issue with USB 2.0 and up. There is a reception to process the signals. Some manufacturers choose to upsample everything to a specific data rate, this eliminates clock management. However, asynchronous sample rate conversion (ASRC) is not bitperfect. For a bitperfect DAC, clock management is needed. For digital filters, bit-perfect transfer dies. 99.9% of DACs use delta-sigma technology. It can support up to 24 bit or even 32 bit. However, it is not bit perfect either. Some DACs are analog also. Philosophy is the most important (why you do something). Without knowing your why, your company is rudderless. Therefore, there is a need to ask the why and there is a need to be very specific over your answer too. At Schiit, we want to make fun, affordable products that are as true to the musical source as possible. For delta-sigma, the best you can do is to reduce the jitter.

Every Road is a Dead End, Early Adventures with Magni. There is value in starting all over. There is a need to always be adaptable when coming up with new products. We wanted the amp to versatile for almost any headphone. We wanted an aggressive price point too. We planned a simple topology and a switching wall wart. We didn’t want Class A as there was too much heat for the chassis. The noisy power supply was killing my ideas. The Lin amp would work well with an AC supply. I turned to Alibaba for supplies. The AC wall warts were cheap enough. I played with many PC boards and found that they worked.

The HOA Problem. We were working on Magni, Modi, Gungir and Mjolnir. We were growing bigger now. HOA means Homeowners Association. The HOA prohibited operating a business out of your home. They would start complaining. We cracked 7 figures in sales. When you have your own business, you can’t say ‘That’s not my problem’. You have to deal with every problem. Everything becomes your problem when you start a business. It’s a ton of work, but it can be satisfying. We need to look to rent a space. I tried a space, however it was not meant for manufacturing due to zoning rights. Valencia, California is master-planned. It was zoned as a commercial space, not industrial. We are now in Valencia Industrial Center. However, I managed to convince the guy to let us look at his space.

We started this with $10k. 18 months later, we’re into 7 figures annually. In a garage. This isn’t interested to be bragging. This is intended to be inspiration for you. Starting your own business is absolutely doable – without taking loans, leasing tons of space etc. – Jason Stoddard

But don’t start a business because you think it’s going to be easy. Or because you think you’ll have more freedom. Because, if it’s your business, it’ll always be your problem. Until you decide to sell it and get out. And when you’re small, everything is your problem. – Jason Stoddard

You Catch a Cold, We Die: Bigger Products, Bigger Problems. It was the second quarter of 2012 now. Our supplier screwed up and couldn’t make the Gungnir and Mjolnir chassis. We had to learn to number the parts. We had to give specific revisions for the metal parts maker to edit our stuff. It is important to set up a parts numbering system that covers at least every custom part. You will also have to document your changes and revisions made. The chassis was too deep and they couldn’t bend it. Eventually, we settled on a three-piece chassis. Instead of pre-orders, we wanted to do an interest list instead. The metal was crap and the supplier disappointed us. They did a rush job but the quality was not good. The Mjolnir launch was delayed because of the metal supplier. Even with a big bugger between announcement and scheduled ship date, things still screwed up. We were not planning to do pre-announcements anymore.

When your vendors catch a cold, you get sick. When they have a problem, it’s your problem. Your customers don’t care about excuses or The Reality of Making Things Today. They want their stuff. When it was promised. Period. – Jason Stoddard

Introducing the Schiithole. We took a bit of risk in the commercial space. We got the space. In Feb 2012, we moved into the office. There are many hidden expenses in running a business which can bite you. DIY might be cheaper, but it is definitely different from production. When you run a business, there are expenses like liability insurance, facility lease, upkeep, equipment cost, bookkeeping, tax, sales or VAT. We needed to spend on renovating the new space. We were afraid that the city inspector might come. The place was incredibly dusty and messy. The place we leased was a Schiithole. Once you spend a lot on rental, it will kill you. You should only spend on the things you need. You need a functional space, effective places to work, equipment for your work, right connectivity for your business. Don’t buy high-end office chairs. Learn to pick the tolerable and cheapest chair. You must control your spending, or you won’t last long in business. Start-ups shouldn’t have private offices. I was burning out from doing 14 hour days. We needed to hire again.

The moment you build a palace is the moment you die. Now, it may take many years for that palace to kill you. You may end up with some very good years there. But the moment you start focusing on business wants, rather than needs, you’re dead. – Jason Stoddard

And that’s why we ended up with a space that was really nothing more than a large production floor, with no offices, in an ugly, run-down building. Because it had what we needed. And nothing we didn’t. And it was cheap. – Jason Stoddard

And I was quickly burning out from the long days. You can do 14-hour days for a while, but they’ll eventually kill you. – Jason Stoddard

‘I didn’t know people in the private sector were as lazy as incompetent as the people in schools’. We wanted to hire our first manager. Some level of management is necessary. You can’t do everything and you shouldn’t do everything. You can’t outsource everything enough. You still need to oversee some aspects to ensure things are going well. Hiring a manager will incur overheads. Why do companies have too much management? It is because of the 20/80 rule, where only 2 people are doing the work and the remaining 8 are hiding. Some people also think it ‘ain’t my job’. There is also a problem of title inflation. We needed to hire an operations manager. Rina’s own business was taking off and she had less time to focus on Schiit. Rina suggested Alex, Jen’s husband. I decided to give him a shot. He seemed smart enough. However, he worked in a school and I thought these people were lazy. Alex worked hard and suggested improvements and didn’t complain at all. He was the perfect candidate. Alex was an example of good management.

Management layers in a business is a necessary evil. Extra layers should be avoided at all cost. Like nuclear waste, you don’t want to get too much management on you. – Jason Stoddard

And that really is the challenge, more and more: not letting your company fall to the 20/80 rule, where a handful of good people do most of the work. Not letting the bozos on the bus. – Jason Stoddard

You can’t tread water. You can’t stand still. You have to sacrifice your babies. You need to look straight-on at cannibalizing your own products. You always have to be asking, “What can we do better, less expensively?” Even if it lays waste to your entire lineup. Because, you know what? If you don’t do it, someone else will. – Jason Stoddard

Getting Our Schiit Together. It was the summer of 2012. We now try to predict demand and buy ahead to meet it. The landlord wanted to spruce up the place. He suggested that I get the whole building. It was a reasonable and cheap price. I used to haggle in the past, but it has its disadvantages. To know whether someone is charging you fairly, you must know the general price of the product you’re looking for. You should do your research if you don’t know the general price. You should be aware of what is too good to be true. You have to be upfront too. I said yes to renting the whole building. The renovator hired by the landlord did a shit job. Finally, the space was ready and we were acting like a real company. Our space looked decent. Alex improved the business in the some aspects: 1) planning and scheduling; 2) facilities layout and production flow; 3) Shipping logistics and relationships; 4) General operations and vendor communication; 5) employee management, specifically hiring and training. However, on the planning front, we ran into some difficulties.

Dead Media Ain’t Dead: NYT Strikes. Learn to push the limits, common wisdom and experience. The Internet was a big push for Centric. We ignored much of the conventional press when we were at Schiit. We got money to do Adwords. Social media seemed like the leading edge of marketing. For an entertainment company, social marketing is definitely a must. However, if you are not, social marketing is dumb, with little returns. To capture your customers, you need a memorable brand and fast responses to queries. Invest in AdWords and constantly improve your product and not spend too much time on social media. If you are B2B, you need to focus even less on social media. You rather spend your money on advertising and PR. If you want social media, ask yourself, who’s going to create the content? Who’s going to respond to comments? Who’s going to decide what’s okay to say? Who’s going to measure and manage it all? Most of the content are posted by bots nowadays. It is more about crowd-sourced advertising. Paid advertising in big-name venues is here to stay. I said yes to the NYTimes, who wanted to review my product. After the article on NYT, customers posted a lot of newbie questions to us .It hit the print. Because of it, our Bifrost sold out and was on back-order. We had a huge backorder because of this news article. Old media isn’t dead, by any means. The mass media can be really powerful. The Magnis and Modis are targeted at first time audiophiles. One audio magazine gave a glowing review, but it didn’t bring much sales. Always stay open to traditional marketing.

Nobody is perfect. No matter how many degrees they have, no matter how high they scored on their IQ tests, no matter how many years of experience, no matter how many companies they’re launched. Period –  Jason Stoddard

And, while I’m absolutely for introducing everyone to great sound, we’re going to meet plenty of people who don’t care. And we have to be careful not to be tiresome proselytizers. – Jason Stoddard

Well, call me biased, call me old-fashioned, but I believe it will be done in only one way: with quality products made at a price that’s fair for its performance, construction, and looks. – Jason Stoddard

9781514355022-us

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Part 3)

The iTunes Store. There were many illegal file sharing websites like Kazaa, Napster etc. Steve wanted a legal way to download music. The music companies wanted to copy protect their music. Apple decided to work with Sony on that (Warner-Sony). Sony backed out and worked with Universal to create Pressplay. This was a subscription service to music. Steve hated stealing and piracy. Steve wanted the top 5 record companies to sell through the iTunes store. Steve wanted 99 cents per song, with the record company getting 70 cents. Musicians were unhappy that Steve allowed sale of single songs. According to him, tech companies don’t appreciate artists, and music companies don’t know technology. Steve convinced the music companies to sell through iTunes. Doug Morris was head of UMG. Steve had the vision that music companies were lacking. Morris loved Steve. He agreed to join Apple, instead of partnering with Sony. Sony was a good company, just that their divisions never collaborated and there was no synergy. Andy Lack was head of Sony Music. He knew that if Sony sold music through iTunes, Apple would be making a lot of money. He was angry by that fact. Eventually, Sony agreed to sell through iTunes. Persuading the record companies was one thing, now Steve had to approach the musicians. He went to the major artistes, including Bono, Mick Jagger etc. iTunes was released in Apr 2003. iTunes provided smoother and faster downloads. This was the turning point of the music industry. Microsoft was amazed at how Apple had managed to convince the record companies. Microsoft wanted to compete with iTunes. Microsoft tried to copy, but this time they couldn’t. Apple allowed the iPod to work with Windows. Steve was very against this initially. Apple also produced iTunes for Windows, so that more PC users could own an iPod. iTunes for Windows was launched in Oct 2003. Microsoft introduced Zune in 2006, 3 years later. It had very low market share. Sony’s divisions did not co-operate. This led to their downfall. Apple didn’t have divisional P&L. It was one P&L for the company. Steve was not afraid of cannibalizing yourself. Sony Connect was introduced. It was similar to iTunes. It failed miserably. In Jan 2004, the iPod Mini was released in the market. The iPod Mini was a huge success. In 2005, the iPod Shuffle was also a big hit. People loved to shuffle songs sometimes. ‘Embrace uncertainty’. Apple got rid of the screen. By 2007, iPod sales were half of Apple’s revenues. The iTunes was also a huge success. By June 2011, Apple had a database of over 225 million users.

With Andy, it was mostly about his big ego. He never really understood the music business, and he could never really deliver. I thought he was sometimes a dick. – Steve Jobs

With iTunes, it’s not stealing anymore. It’s good karma. – Steve Jobs

Steve Job’s ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right, and market things as revolutionary are amazing things. – Bill Gates

The older I get, the more I see how much motivations matter. The Zune was crappy because the people at Microsoft don’t really love music or art the way we do. We won because we personally love music. We made the iPod for ourselves, and when you’re doing something for yourself, or your best friend or family, you’re not going to cheese out. If you don’t love something you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much. – Steve Jobs

If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will. – Steve Jobs

It’s wrong to steal. It hurts other people. And it hurts your own character. – Steve Jobs

I don’t care much about computers, and kept telling him so, but he goes on for 2 hours. He was a man possessed. After a while, I started looking at him and not the computer, because I was so fascinated with his passion. – Wynton Marsalis, a famous jazz musician

Music Man (The Sound Track of His Life). Revealing your iPod to your friends can reveal what kind of person you are. Music reveals who you are. Steve liked the Beatles and Bob Dylan. He had a lot of artistes from the 1960s and 1970s. Steve liked Bach. Both the Brandenburg concertos and the Goldberg Variations. The second version was much darker and wiser. Steve also preferred the second version. Joni Mitchell was also his favorite artistes. Steve visited Dylan before one of his concerts. Steve was really nervous. Steve was really impressed with him. Artists knew that if they appeared in Steve’s ads, they would have added publicity. Dylan, to Steve, was still cool. After an ad featured him, he was top of the charts again. Beatles was still not on iTunes. Steve made sure they were eventually on it. Bono, from U2, wanted a riff from Vertigo played in an iPod commercial. iPod commercials featured silhouettes of artistes. Bono wanted a special version of the iPod released and royalties for each one sold. Eventually, Steve agreed to a deal with U2. Steve also like YoYo Ma, the famous cellist. He played Bach at Steve’s house. Steve teared by the sheer quality of his playing ability. Steve liked people who are pure. Pure with passion. He made YoYo Ma promise that he will play at his funeral.

He was one of my heroes. My love for him has grown over the years, it’s ripened. I can’t figure out how he did it when he was so young. – Steve Jobs, on Bob Dylan

The way we build stuff at Apple is often this way. Even the number of models we’d make of a new notebook or iPod. We would start off with a version and then begin refining and refining, doing detailed models of the design, or the buttons, or how a function operates. It’s a lot of work, but in the end it just gets better, and soon it’s like, ‘Wow, how did they do that?!? Where are the screws? – Steve Jobs

Steve (Jobs) can be sparky, but those moments have made us closer friends, because there are not many people in your life where you can have these robust discussions. He’s very opinionated. After our shows, I talk to him and he’s always got an opinion. – Bono, from U2

You playing is the best argument I’ve ever heard for the existence of God, because I don’t really believe a human alone can do this. – Steve Jobs, on YoYo Ma

Pixar’s friends and Foes. Lasseter set the tone at Pixar. He let the creative people do the work quietly and did not want to interfere excessively. Steve was more into deal making. Steve clashed with Katzenberg when he accused him of stealing the Bug’s Life from Pixar and adopting it for Antz at Dreamworks. Lasseter was super pissed with Katzenberg and didn’t speak to him. It was Lasseter who first revealed that Pixar was doing an animated film on insects. Antz was released in the market first. . The Bug’s Life did twice as well as Antz, thankfully. Although Steve and Katzenberg was still on talking terms, Steve never really forgave him. Steve wanted a HQ for Pixar. The building was Steve’s movie. The building was designed such that people would keep bumping into each other in a central area. Michael Eisner’s Disney started to get aggressive at Steve Jobs. Steve didn’t want to deal with Disney anymore. Finding Nemo became the biggest hit so far. Lasseter was upset with the breakup with Disney. Steve explained why they had to break up. To Steve, Eisner was a creative guy who performed well in his first 10 years when he had Frank Wells to run the operations for him. After he left, for the next 10 years, Eisner didn’t do such a good job. He had poor managerial skills. Treasure Planet and Brother Bear from Disney were poor performers. Now, Eisner realized how bad his animation team was. Both Eisner and Steve refused to compromise. Therefore, a divorce was inevitable. Eisner was soon axed and replaced with Iger. Steve now tried again at striking a deal with Disney. The iPod video was soon released. Iger and Steve struck a deal. The iPod would also be selling TV shows. This was collaboration between Disney and Apple. Since their animation team sucked, Iger explored the possibility of buying Pixar. Iger admitted they missed Pixar. Steve usually started negotiating by proclaiming the other party sucked. Lasseter was shocked when learning that Disney might want to buy Pixar. Disney produced to buy Pixar for $7.4 billion in equity. Lasseter did all the pitching in the acquisition deal. Eisner was against this and wanted the animation team to get their act together. Steve did the announcement to Pixar employees that Disney was taking over. Catmull would be head of Disney animation and Lasseter would be chief creative officer. It was like a reverse acquisition. Toy Story 2 was an even bigger hit.

My goal has always been not only to make great products, but to build great companies. Walt Disney did that. And the way we did the merger, we kept Pixar as a great company and helped Disney remain one as well. – Steve Jobs

There’s a classic thing in business, which is the second-product syndrome. I live through that at Apple. My feeling was, if we got through our second film, we’d make it. – Steve Jobs, on Pixar

There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow’, and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas. – Steve Jobs

The worst, thing, to my mind, was that Pixar had successfully reinvented Disney’s business, turning out great films one after the other while Disney turned out flop after flop. You would think the CEO of Disney would be curious how Pixar was doing that. But during the 20 year relationship, he visited Pixar for a total of about 2 and a half hours, only to give little congratulatory speeches. He was never curious. I was amazed. Curiosity is very important. – Steve Jobs

He has the absolute ability to make you believe. Suddenly, we all had the confidence that, whatever happened, Pixar would flourish. – Oren Jacob

One of the things that Steve and I are incredibly excited about is the intersection between great content and great technology. – Bob Iger

It’s night and day different from Eisner’s Disney. He’s straightforward, and there’s no drama with him. – Steve Jobs, on Bob Iver

Michael (Eisner), how come you say I can fix it, when you couldn’t fix it yourself? – Bob Iger

21st Century Macs. Setting Apple Apart. The iBook was released in 1999. The G4 was a huge success as well. Jobs wanted to mass market something to consumers. The Cube would not do so well as it priced too expensive. In 2000, Apple had disappointing revenue results. At one point, their share price fell to $15. Flat displays were the in thing then. Finally, Steve and Jony thought of a laptop design. Apple was the only company still trying to innovate. The PowerPC chips they were using was faster than Intel for a few years. Motorola could not keep us with chip development and Steve wanted to switch to Intel chips. The board decided that they had to move to Intel. They hammered out a deal which impressed Bill Gates. He was surprised that Apple’s PCs could transition so seamlessly with different chips. Steve was accused of taking excessive executive compensation with his stock options. It was never about the money for Steve. He wanted even more stock options. Apple tried to backdate his options. This was discovered by the SEC. Steve was eventually not charged for doing that.

Round One

Memento Mori. Steve predicted that 1997 was the cause of his cancer, when he worked on two jobs full time. His immune system was rather weak at that time. A CAT scan in 2003 revealed a tumor in the pancreas. Steve was in denial and didn’t want to do it. The doctor identified it as a tumor. It was a tumor which had a chance to be treated successfully. To everyone’s horror, Steve didn’t want to have surgery at first. He wanted to try other methods to cure himself. He was not ready to go for surgery. He thought he could cure himself by eating nutritious foods. Everyone kept advising him to take the surgery. Steve was still living in his distortion reality field. He liked to ignore things he didn’t know how to deal with. By July 2004, the cancer had spread. He underwent surgery in 2004. The doctors only removed part of the pancreas. Tim Cook took over the operations in Aug 2004. Because of the lack of protein in his diet, doctors advised him to take more meat. He refused. The bad news was that the cancer had spread. The cancer had spread to his liver. He underwent chemotherapy. He lied to his friends, saying that he was ‘cured’. He was 50 when he gave the commencement speech at Standford University. He wrote the speech himself. It was simply a graceful speech. Famous colleagues attended his 50th birthday. Cook was calm and decisive when he took over as temporary CEO. Steve made Cook COO in 2005. Steve let Rubinstein leave eventually. He hired a professor to develop case studies on Apple so that new executives could learn from top management. ‘Memento mori’: Remember you will die. This helped to keep things in perspective. Steve recovered temporarily and worked even harder. He became somewhat a better person after his cancer episode. Ive was still perplexed by his behavior. Steve felt the rules of social engagement didn’t apply to him. Gates and Jobs sat in for a joint interview in 2007.

I think Steve has such a strong desire for the world to be a certain way that he wills it to be that way. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Reality is unforgiving. – Laurene Powell

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason to follow your heart. – Steve Jobs

Some people resent the fact that Steve Jobs gets credit for everything, but I’ve never given a rat’s ass about that. Frankly speaking, I’d prefer my name never be in the paper. – Tim Cook, new Apple CEO

I realized very early that if you didn’t voice your opinion, he would mow you down. He take contrary positions to create more discussion, because it may lead to a better result. So if you don’t feel comfortable disagreeing, then you’ll never survive. – Tim Cook

The iPhone. Three Revolutionary Products in One. By 2005, iPod sales were skyrocketing. It accounted for 45% of total revenue. The next step was to create a phone. A good phone competitor could cause iPod sales to plunge. Steve thought about partnering with Ed Zander, CEO of Motorola, to create a RAZR that could play music. Eventually, hardware and software with not in sync and integrated. Steve decided to work on his own model. Most of the phones in the market were too complicated. There was a huge market for phones. They wanted to modify the iPod. Eventually, they did away with the click wheel. The idea for the iPad came before the iPhone. A Microsoft kept revealing information about the tablet to Steve. Steve never liked the idea of a stylus. He made one without a keyboard and a stylus. His engineers took 6 months to come out with one prototype. Steve liked the idea of multi-touch technology. Apple bought over FingerWorks, a company dealing with multi-touch trackpads. Steve wanted rounded rectangles for the shape of the iPhone. They used anodized aluminum for the case and gorilla glass. Steve was impressed with Weeks idea of gorilla glass. It was technology developed in 1960s, but never utilized. Once again, Steve decided to change the design at the last minute. Jan 2007 was the release date for the iPhone. ‘It was a 3-in-1 device’. By end of 2010, it sold 90 million iPhones.

He’s always believed that thin is beautiful. You can see that in all of the work. We have the thinnest notebook, the thinnest smartphone, and we made the iPad thin and then even thinner. – Tim Cook

Round Two (The Cancer Recurs). In early 2008, the cancer was spreading. The pancreas failed to produce enzymes to digest proteins. He also still kept to a strict vegetarian diet, which made it worse. Their family hired a cook. His eating disorders got worse. The media soon was attacking Steve Jobs at hiding his health condition to the public. During the 3G iPhone launch, he was super thin. Apple said was it due to a common bug. Apple share price kept falling when Steve’s health got worse. Steve based out of an interview with Bill Gates, Andy Grove and Michael Dell. He also cancelled the Mac product show. In early 2009, he defended his absence by saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He tried various forms of therapy overseas. It didn’t work. He decided to take medical leave in early Jan, 2009. Tim Cook would take over the daily operations. SEC wanted to accuse Apple of withholding material information about Steve’s health. The board at Apple was torn as to whether to reveal more information about his health. Fisher was now saying that Steve needed a liver transplant. However, there was a long waiting list. Steve was placed on 2 different states’ waiting list at the same time. The liver transplant was a success. There were tumors throughout his liver when it was removed. He nearly died at that time. Even when doctors tried to put the mask on him, he commented that the design sucked. Steve recovered from this episode and he was still as grumpy as ever. Apple’s stock fared well in the time that he was away. He faced the public again in Sept 9. He revealed that he received a liver transplant. He revealed the new iPod Nanos. At the beginning of 2010, it would be one of his more productive years.

To manage Steve, you have to be persistent. Eason managed Steve and forced him to do things that no one else could, things that were good for him that may not have been pleasant. – Tim Cook

The iPad. Into the Post-PC era. As usual, Steve kept tinkering with the design. Apple licensed the ARM architecture. They used the A4 chip instead, instead of dealing with Intel. Intel was too slow sometimes. The iPad was launched in Jan 2010. It was in between the iPhone and a laptop. Bill Gates and some of the media was not impressed with it. There were a lot of emails complaints that were sent to Steve Jobs. Steve wanted the next version of the iPad to emphasize on artistic creation. The response was mixed and there were some media groups who liked it. It was very intuitive and easy to use. Even a 6 year old could figure it out. Sales were extremely good. It was one of the most successful consumer product launch in history. Steve was angry with the quality of commercials and he wanted something better. It had to be a manifesto. It had to be big. The app store was becoming huge and it allowed people to do all sorts of things. They needed to empower develops to make lots of apps. Steve allowed outsiders to write apps, but they would have to meet standards and could only be sold through the iTunes store. The App store opened in July 2008. Apple was also competing with Amazon on ebooks. He allowed the publishers to set their own price but not the music companies to do so. Steve wanted to work with NY times to strike a deal.Steve refused to give out subscriber info to the NY times. He didn’t want the publisher to develop their own app and sell it through the iTunes store. He also succeeded in convincing a few magazine or newspaper publishers. Rupert Murdoch and Steve became quite close. Steve now wanted to target schools and replace textbooks with his iPad.

The reason Apple can create products like the iPad is that we’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts. – Steve Jobs

New Battles (And Echoes of Old Ones). Google created the Android operating system to compete with Apple in the phone market. Eric Schmidt was on the Apple board and Larry Page/Sergey Brin were close to Steve as well. He was pissed. Their multi-touch device was also similar to the iPhone. Steve tried to dissuade them from creating the Android. Apple sued HTC (as they were the first to create the multi-touch device). Steve wanted to destroy the Android. Google Docs was shit to Steve. There was always the debate between open and closed systems. Schmidt admitted that Apple always believed in a closed system. An open system would lead to more options and consumer choice. Apple want to ban apps that defamed people, were politically explosive or deemed to be pornographic. He had a verbal sparring with Tate regarding censorship of apps. Apple doesn’t want to be seen as restricting freedom by choosing the apps they wanted to display. Others starting seeing Steve and Apple as being very arrogant. Design vs engineering was a big problem at Apple. Whenever the engineers couldn’t do something, Steve would persuade them to keep trying. For the iPhone 4, if you held it in a certain way, one could lose connection. It became the Antennagate problem. Steve Jobs gave a press conference to the public to address this. He allowed people to return their phones. Only 1.7% did as the problem was not too serious. iPhone was the best selling product. The Beatles were finally released on iTunes in a special edition.

Adobe Flash is a spaghetti-ball piece of technology that has lousy performance and really bad security problems. – Steve Jobs

To Infinity (The Cloud, the Spaceship, and Beyond). The iPad 2. Steve wanted to add back and front cameras. He wanted it slimmer. He wanted a detachable cover that was magnetically controlled. It was a smart cover. This cheeky cover impressed many people. He was there for the product launch in Mar 2011. Globalization effects were everywhere, even in Turkey. He kept trying to design a boat again. He was determined to keep working on the boat’s design. It was his twentieth wedding anniversary. In 2008, he predicted that cloud computing would be the next big thing. He was right on that. iCloud was launched in June 2011. He was still on medical leave. However, he desperately wanted to give the speech. Steve looked weak. Everything would now be moved to the Cloud. Steve bought the Cupertino campus. He wanted a showcase HQ. Sir Norman Foster was the architect for the project.

It’s like a spaceship has landed. I think we have a shot at building the bet office building in the world. – Steve Jobs

It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. We believe that it’s technology married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing. Nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices, – Steve Jobs

Living with a disease like this, and all the pain, constantly reminds you of your own mortality, and that can do strange things to your brain if you’re not careful. You don’t make plans more than a year out, and that’s bad. You need to force yourself to plan as if you will live for many years. – Steve Jobs

I’m very lucky, because you just don’t know what you’re getting into when you get married. You have an intuitive feeling about things. I couldn’t have done better, because not only is Laurene smart and beautiful, she’s turned out to be a really good person. – Steve Jobs

I want to leave a signature campus that expresses the values of the company for generations. – Steve Jobs

Round Three (The Twilight Struggle). He had a burning desire to see his son graduate from high school. Unlike his dad, Reed was empathic and affectionate. He loved Steve. The moment his Dad had cancer, Reed spent time at the oncology lab to study about cancer markers. Reed could interact with many of the famous doctors. Reed wanted to combine biology and technology. He had a playful and warm personality. He wanted to be a cancer researcher when he grew up. At his high school graduation, Steve was elated. Erin, Steve’s daughter, was not very close to Steve as she was sensitive and quiet. Steve didn’t want to take her for any important events. Erin was fine with Steve treating her this way. Steve took the whole family to Kona Village for holiday. He even took them to Kyoto. Steve liked sushi and soba. The trip to Kyoto was also a spiritual one. Eve, Steve’s other daughter, wanted to be a horseback rider at the Olympics and was determined to get there. She was also a very sensitive girl. In Feb 2010, Steve turned 55. His health was now better. Powell arranged for Steve to meet President Obama. However, Steve was unwilling to meet him as he felt it was very ceremonial. Eventually the meeting lasted 45 minutes. He wanted Obama to make things more business friendly as there were too many regulations. Also, the American education systems had too many union work rules. He also wanted interactive educational materials. Steve wanted foreign engineering graduates a visa to stay in the US. He also wanted more trained engineers. His third medical leave took place in 2011. He lost his appetite and felt pain in his body. In Nov 2010, he had to be fed through tube. However, he didn’t want his condition to be leaked out. He had no appetite anymore. He also became increasingly emotional. In 2011, there was evidence of new tumors. At this stage, he was moaning in pain. Since young, he knew he could induce euphoria and ecstasy by fasting. He was absolutely ignorant about the need for medication or to seek professional help. Tim Cook was once again put in charge of Apple’s operations. His treatment was not integrated but taken care by many different specialists. Steve had his genes sequenced. This molecular therapy was better than chemotherapy. Lisa got back in touch with Steve then. Lisa was 32 then. Steve Jobs even told Larry Page how to build great companies. Bill Gates also came to pay a visit. They had a nice warm chat. That Day Has Come. Steve wanted to create an integrated television set that would be synced on the iCloud. By July 2011, the cancer had spread to the other parts of his body. He spent almost all his days watching television. The author met him in Aug 2011. Steve was too weak to get out of bed. Steve showed a few family pictures to Walter Isaacson. Steve wanted the author to write about him while he was still alive so that he could project a better account of himself. He knew he would not be returning to CEO anymore. In Aug 24, he announced the decision to the board that he was stepping down. The directors praised his contributions to the firm. Resolutions were passed on who would succeed him. It was decided that Tim Cook would succeed Steve Jobs. The board gave Steve a hug.

She’s a pistol and has the strongest will of any kid I’ve ever met. – Steve Jobs, on Eve

Like many great men whose gifts are extraordinary, he’s not extraordinary in every realm. He doesn’t have social graces, such as putting himself in other people’s shows, but he cares deeply about empowering humankind, the advancement of humankind, and putting the right tools in their hands. – Laurene Powell

That’s how I’m going to spend part of the time I have left. I can help the next generation remember the lineage of great companies here and how to continue the tradition. The Valley has been very supportive of me. I should do my best to repay. – Steve Jobs

I’ve had a very lucky career, a very lucky life. I’ve done all that I can do. – Steve Jobs

Legacy. The Brightest Heaven of Invention. His personality was reflected in the products Apple created. He was super intense at times. This could be either charming or terrifying. He had a binary view of the world and of almost everything. He wanted end-to-end control of every product. Steve always looked to integrate hardware and software. ‘Open’ VS ‘Closed’ software. Steve also had a good ability to focus and to filter out distractions. Everything was about simplicity and elegance. He was a brutally honest guy. He had a nasty personality and was mean to others. This had an advantage when he got people to do things they never dreamed of. He was both good at sizing up the big picture and also the minute details. His inventions are as follows (The Macintosh; Toy Story and other Pixar blockbusters; Apple stores; The iPod; The iTunes store; The iPhone; The App Store; The iPad; iCloud etc). He was a genius at sensing what lay ahead. Steve can be placed alongside Edison and Ford. The products were the motivation, not the profit. Sculley wanted to make money. Figure out what the customer wants and not give them what they want. You need good foresight of that. Being closed allow you to control the experience. Bill Gates was more of a business guy than a creative guy. Xerox and IBM let the salespeople run the show. They didn’t understand the product well. I wanted a company to last. He wanted everyone to be brutally honest with each other.

I hate it when people call themselves entrepreneurs when what they’re really trying to do is launch a startup and then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on. They’re unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company, which is the hardest work in business. – Steve Jobs

What drove me? I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that’s been done by others before us. I didn’t invent the language or mathematics I use. I make little of my own food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on. And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow. It’s about trying to express something in the only way that most of us know how – because we can’t write Bob Dylan songs or Tom Stoppard plays. We try to use the talent we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. That’s what has driven me. – Steve Jobs

stevejobs

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Foreword. I only knew Paul after his death. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he had a desire to write a book. We become aware of our own mortality after reading his book as well. Paul had a flair of writing, however, had a calling of being a physician. He would eventually be a neurosurgeon. Paul writes occasionally and was an excellent writer. Paul has been very vulnerable and revealed a lot about himself.

Prologue. The cancer had spread and was widely disseminated. I was the patient this time. Lucy was my wife and she was by my side. When I had back pain, I went for an MRI scan. X-rays aren’t good for detection of cancer. Weight loss became more common as the days went by. I was an outstanding surgeon and had a bright career ahead of me. A few weeks later, I had strong bouts of chest pain. My work and the demanding schedule had put a toll on our marriage. My wife wanted to leave me. The pain was getting more severe and I was in trouble. I also started to tell friends about my cancer. My wife learnt about it and promised not to leave me.

Part 1: In Perfect Health I Begin

I never thought that I would be a doctor. I didn’t know much about medicine when I was young. We had two dogs. Once, we went to the desert and found the insects there to be fascinating. My younger brother was Jeevan. My dad was the one who brought our family to the desert town of Kingman, in Arizona. The issue with Kingman was that the education system was bad and there were many dropouts. My mum instilled in us, a love of reading. I eventually got into Stanford University. I liked a girl named Abigail in school. In school, I was driven to understand what makes human life meaningful? One of my favorite authors, was T.S. Eliot. Literature was a form of moral reflection for me. Was the unlived life worth examining? I did an internship at Sierra Camp, which was very eye opening indeed. I studied both neuroscience and literature in school. Many of the caregivers will not even show up to pay the patients of severe brain problems. Some parents even abandon their kids. Brains indeed play a crucial role in our ability to form relationships. Language of life was a passion, hunger and a love. I studied the work of Walt Whitman. I wanted to find out how biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersected. I was contemplating medical school now. After I enrolled myself into the HPS program at Cambridge, I started to realize that only by practicing medicine, I could pursue a serious biological philosophy. I cut my first dead body and it felt alright. These were cadavers or donor corpses. I hardly ever felt like vomiting. The book by Shep Nuland on ‘How we die’ was very popular. It addressed the fact of existence. Although I read about the particularities of death, being a surgeon allowed me to understand them better. I was asked to deliver a child. I was educated on how to read the fetal heart rates etc. The twins were in distress and their only hope was a C-section. However, they didn’t survive as they were premature. On my next case, the baby was successfully delivered and I was very relieved indeed. Next on my rotation was surgical oncology. Many of the medical students chose to specialize in things like radiology or dermatology, which were deemed easier. Eventually, I chose neurosurgery as my specialty. Part of a doctor’s job is about to be emotionally attached to the patient and to calm them down. Brain surgery has a huge impact on the patient’s life. Would you trade your ability to talk for a few extra months of mute life? What makes life meaningful enough to go on living? Neurosurgeons have a huge responsibility. During the first year of residency, the workload was tremendous. The papers I file are narratives of risks and triumph. I finally lost my first patient. I saw a few people die in the course of my work. Sometimes, death has a suffocating weight on me too. In the second year of training, I was the first to arrive in an emergency. I was doing a lot of overtime work, which was very tiring indeed. It was so stressful that some left the profession. Some cases were beyond hope, where even surgery would not do much good. I did not think I was a doctor who missed the larger human significance. My dad was an inspiration to me and he even when to buy meals for his patients when they requested for them. I once persuaded a girl’s family that surgery was the best option for her. Announcing the bad news to a patient is very difficult indeed. Brain surgery for cases for cancer that metastases from other parts of body, can help to prolong life. In medical statistics, there is the Kaplan-Meier curve. This measures the number of patients surviving over time for any particular disease. It is a metric where doctors understand the ferocity of a disease. Instead of saying ‘You have a 95% chance of being dead in two years’, doctors can say ‘Most patients live many months to a couple of years.’. It is useful to hold a patient’s hand when announcing bad news. Sometimes, there can be an emotional cost as well. However, it can have its rewards too. For a neurosurgeon, it is also important to keep up to date on the latest technologies available in the market too. I loved talking to other scientists. Pancreatic cancer has a low survival rate. A patient can only be under anesthesia for that long. It is like finding the middle ground between the hare and the tortoise. Time flies in the OR. Technical excellence, was a moral requirement for me. For brain surgery, it is extremely important to be precise, up to the exact millimeter. The worst part of the brain damage is the cortex, the Wenicke and Broca area. These control one’s language abilities. I was excellent at my job and rewards and awards were coming naturally. My scientist friend committed suicide one day after he had a difficult complication. This made me contemplate the meaning of life even more.

The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hands or judgment will slip, and yet still struggle to win for your patients. You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving. – Paul Kalanithi

Books become my closest confidants, finely ground lenses providing new views of the world. – Paul Kalanithi

Indeed, this is how 99% of people select their jobs: pay, work environment, hours. But that’s the point. Putting lifestyle first is how you find a job – not a calling. – Paul Kalanithi

Rushing a patient to the OR to save only enough brain that his heart beats but he can never speak, he eats through a tube, and he is condemned to an existence he would never want…I came to see this as a more egregious failure than the patient dying. – Paul Kalanithi

Amid the tragedies and failures, I feared I was losing sight of the singular importance of human relationships, not between patients and their families but between doctor and patient. Technical excellence was not enough. As a resident, my highest ideal was not saving lives – everyone dies eventually – but guiding a patient or family to an understanding of death or illness. – Paul Kalanithi

The call to protect life – and not merely life but another’s identity; it is perhaps not too much to say another’s soul – was obvious in its sacredness. – Paul Kalanithi

A resident’s surgical skill is judged by his technique and his speed. You can’t be sloppy, and you can’t be slow. – Paul Kalanithi

Neurosurgery requires a commitment to one’s own excellence and a commitment to another’s identity. The decision to operate at all involves an appraisal of one’s own abilities, as well as a deep sense of who the patient is and what she holds dear. – Paul Kalanithi

Cease Not till Death

The CT images were not good. My identity no longer mattered. It was life shattering and it hurt me. My potential would never be fulfilled. I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Emma Hayward was my oncologist. Emma was one of the best lung cancer specialist out there. She was also compassionate in nature. I felt weaker as the cancer spread. I couldn’t know my spot on the Kaplan-Meier curve. One option for me was chemotherapy and the other was therapy targeting at molecular defects. I had a PI3K mutation. Emma suggest carboplatin as chemotherapy for me. She refused to discuss the Kaplan-Meier curves. Lucy and I went to the sperm bank to preserve gametes. There is no point in depending or reading too much into statistics. I felt a drop of hope. After a drug, my appetite returned and I was happier. I had to figure out what is the most important for me. Cancer had helped to save my marriage with Lucy. I was also in physical therapy now. I was lifting my legs, but it was so exhausting and humiliating. I kept pushing myself. Finally, my condition improved. I could ride a bike for 6 miles and that was a massive achievement. Emma was a friend to me as well. I wanted a child, but the decision would ultimately lie with Lucy, because she would take care of the child. Life wasn’t about avoiding suffering. Life was about striving. We all need to carry on living. Only the best embryos would have a chance of survival. The tumor was reduced after a CT scan. It was good news. Life was looking up now. I started reading more about mortality. I pushed myself to return to the OR. Some patients could live for at least 10 years on the drug. I felt it was a moral responsibility to continue being a surgeon. Suddenly, halfway through the surgery, I felt faint and couldn’t continue. My junior resident took over. It was disappointing. Over time, my skills started to improve and I was getting better. However, it felt joyless as sometimes I would still be in pain. I wanted to be a doctor-scientist, but there were no vacancies. I overcame my pain and continued to see patients. I wanted to run a cancer lab as it would less demanding. I had to figure out what was the most important to me. God and meaning were linked, but it was also possible to believe in one and not the other. The problem is that science cannot reach some permanent truth. Hence, it might be incompatible with human life, which is more unpredictable. Science is cold, unlike the warmth of humans. I returned to Christianity as I found it to be compelling. Humans do not like blind determinism. A new tumour emerged in my latest CT scan. I was neither angry nor scared. I felt really tired after a grueling surgery. My last surgery was a big success and I could end on a high. Chemotherapy was the only way as localized treatment was out of the question. It would start on Monday. I felt very tired and the food was tasteless. I wanted to go for graduation but I started puking and it was horrible. I had to be placed on IV drip. My condition worsened. My kidneys were starting to fail now. I was placed in ICU now. Many specialists were now attending to me. Lucy was now 38 weeks pregnant. The problem was that the specialists could not come to a common consensus. No 1 party was willing to take responsibility. Some of them suggested ill-advised tests. I struggled to listen to them. Emma was now the captain of the ship. I was discharged from the hospital finally. I was very tired again, after the chemotherapy doses. Emma finally revealed that I could live for 5 more years. Lucy was in labour. My baby was finally born and it was a complete joy. Time began to feel static. The days of the week no longer to mean anything to me as I wasn’t working.

If I were a writer of books, I would compile a register, with a comment, of the various deaths of men: he would should teach men to die would at the same time teach them to live. – Michel de Montaigne (That to study philosophy is to learn to die)

The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live. – Paul Kalanithi

Only 0.0012% of 36 year olds get lung cancer. Yes, all cancer patients are unlucky, but there’s cancer and then there’s CANCER, and you have to be really unlucky to have the latter. – Paul Kalanithi

It’s easier when the patient is 94, in the last stages of dementia, with a severe brain bleed. But for someone like me – a 36 year old given a diagnosis of terminal cancer – there aren’t really words. – Paul Kalanithi

Many people, once diagnosed with cancer, quit work entirely. Others focus on it heavily. Either way is okay. – Emma Hayward, an oncologist

If the weight of mortality does not grow lighter, does it at least get more familiar? – Paul Kalanithi

If human relationality formed the bedrock of meaning, it seemed to us that rearing children added another dimension to that meaning. – Paul Kalanithi

I would push myself to return to the Operating Room. Why? Because I could. Because that’s who I was. Because I would have to learn to live in a different way, seeing death as an imposing itinerant visitor but knowing that even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living. – Paul Kalanithi

The tricky part of illness is that, as you go through it, your values are constantly changing. You try to figure out what matters to you, and then you keep figuring it out. – Paul Kalanithi

The way forward would seem obvious, if only I knew how many months or years I had left. Tell me 3 months, I’d spend time with family. Tell me 1 year, I’d write a book. Give me 10 years, I’d get back to treating diseases. – Paul Kalanithi

Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world. – Paul Kalanithi

But at my back in a cold blast I hear the rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear. – T.S. Eilot

Part of the cruelty of cancer, though, is not only that it limits your time; it also limits your energy, vastly reducing the amount you can squeeze into a day. It is a tired hare who now races. – Paul Kalanithi

Epilogue by Lucy Kalanithi

Paul died on March 9, 2015. Chemotherapy stopped working a few months before his death. We still had our family dinners etc. Paul was focused on completing his book. At his late stages, he lost his appetite completely. At times, he would suffer from a really serious fever. Paul chose the do not resuscitate status at the very end. We chose comfort care at home as he didn’t want to die in hospital. His carbon dioxide levels were too high, indicating lung failure. Paul wanted to hold Cady, his daughter. Paul was really to remove the breathing support and die. His wish was for us to publish his manuscript. I hope that he would be resting in peace now. Our family continued to sing to him and look at his facial expressions. Soon, his breaths became more faltering and irregular. During his last years, Paul wrote furiously and wanted to complete the book. He was very determined to write. He was brave throughout his most difficult days. He did not avert his eyes from death and was strong. Our love stood strong and firm throughout his difficult days. Paul suggested that I remarry after my marriage. I was definitely very blessed to have known a man like him. He was an unwavering source of support to our daughter. Throughout his illness, he faced it with grace and authenticity and acceptance. He was fully alive and his life was full of meaning even in his darkest days. This book is his culmination of his life and love for literature. Paul had made great contributions in the area of neuroscience. Paul managed to face death with integrity, and I was as his wife, his witness.

Conversely, we knew that one trick to managing a terminal illness is to be deeply in love – to be vulnerable, kind, generous, grateful. – Lucy Kalanithi

Bereavement (of a partner) is not the truncation of married love, but one of its regular phases – like the honeymoon. What we want is to live our marriage well and faithfully through that phase too. – C.S. Lewis

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Do Over (Make Today the First Day of Your New Career) by Jon Acuff (Part 1)

The Career Savings Account

You control more of your career than you think. You need to rescue and look forward to Monday. A better job begins with building a better you. This book is about building a career. Career ceilings are problems and also retrenchment is one of them. In some jobs, you know when you hit a ceiling and can’t go higher anymore. There are a few options: 1) find another job; 2) Do a job you didn’t want to do; 3) Suck it up over 30 years. Over 70% of the people felt disengaged with their jobs. Learn to embrace career transitions. How do we make career jumps, navigate career bumps, break through career ceilings, make the most of unexpected career opportunities? Learn to build a career savings account. You must keep making deposits into your career savings account. Relationships + Skills + Character X Hustle = Career Savings Account. Relationships are the people you know, skills are the things you do, character is who you are, hustle is how you work. You should have all 4 of them. Most people only work jobs, not build careers. Most people do not have anyone to turn to for career advice once they are in a rut. There are only 4 possible types of career transitions around. Some are voluntary while some are involuntary actions. When you are stuck on a career ceiling, skills will help you breakthrough. When you want to do a career jump and gain progression, your character is the most important investment. Great lives are rarely created in great comfort. Most people are afraid of the unknown. It is never too late to do a do over. It’s time to DO a Do Over.

We eat at TGI Fridays not TGI Mondays. We live for the weekends because we’ve accepted that the weekdays are where dreams go to die. Poke your head up if you’re reading this book at work. – Jon Acuff

Do This First. Fear and complacency are things we need to overcome. Choose your attitude and adjust your expectations. Don’t listen to feelings, but rather, learn to make choices. Adjust your expectations and write down what you see in a job. However, do not completely eliminate them, rather, you can adjust them.

Tomorrow at work, choose to have a good attitude. Choose not to be cynical. Choose not to act like you’re doing them a favor by showing up. Choose not to complain. Choose to cheer for the accomplishments of your co-workers. Choose to treat customers like superstars. – Jon Acuff

Relationships. Finding good people is the key for a successful business. Skills can be judged on a resume, but attitude can’t be judged. Therefore, relationships get you the first gig. During career setbacks, relationships help you too. This book provides some tips on how to strengthen relationships.

You Don’t Know Who You Know. People hate change. Most people despise networking. However, we acknowledge the importance of networking. Who is someone you can turn to for help with your career Do Over? Use note cards. Writing stimulates information retention. Please buy them. It’s okay if you don’t know what to do with your life. Find an accountability partner to monitor your progress on a skill. Answer the question ‘Who do I know that is wise about career issues?’ Answer the question ‘Who have I worked with?’ Answer the question ‘Who do I know that is influential?’ Answer the question ‘Who do I know that owns a business?’ Answer the question ‘Who do I follow online that is in my desired career space?’ Answer the question ‘What casual relationships am I forgetting that might have a career impact?’ Always remember that you don’t know who you know unless you spend deliberate time focusing on your relationships.

It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction. – Warren Buffett

Dentists say, “Only floss the teeth you want to keep.” The same is true of career relationships; only invest in the ones you want to keep. – Jon Acuff

Gives Your Foes What They Need Most. You must know what type of relationship you want to develop. You could meet foes along the way, these people are against your dream. They do not support your dreams. Friend is someone who will cheer you along. Advocate is someone who is significant in helping you shape your career. Start to label your friends in the different categories. How do you deal with your foes? This category doesn’t matter and your best bet is to ignore them. There is a difference between an idiot and a foe. Shrink your definition of the word ‘foe’. Don’t search for foes. That’s your best solution. Compare the Internet to Real Life. People are often critics only online and they do not like to criticize in real life. If you have such people, distance yourself from them. Stop hanging out with lobsters. Lobsters just want to make others feel miserable. Distance yourself from them. How do you deal with bad bosses? The first you can do is to improve your work performance to see if it improves your relationship. Admit you’re an employee. Turn the frustration of working under a bad boss into fuel. Your boss is essentially saying ‘I dare you to get a better job’.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to turn an accomplice into a friend is to simply tell your accomplice what you are working on. Most of the time just the act of telling someone what you are trying to do with your life changes things. – Jon Acuff

Sometimes, people who hate on your dream aren’t really mad about your dream. They’re mad because you’re making them jealous. – Jon Acuff

You can’t change someone, but you can impact a work relationship sometimes if you improve your work performance. – Jon Acuff

Casual Counts. Casual friends count too and you never know when they might be able to help you. You need to have a massive collection of these people. Throw as many boomerangs as possible. If you are lucky, one might come back into your life with a work opportunity. Use social media to connect with people whom you haven’t kept in touch. You should try to do some casual relationships. I hate asking people for help. Most successful people didn’t accomplish everything alone. We have to give the casual relationship information. If you’re looking for a new job, tell them that. Start with a small table. Say things like ‘it was wonderful seeing you tonight’. You need to find a table. Put a big table in your house and invite people over for dinner. You need to be a little brave and desperate for community. This is how friendships start. Find a table first. Make new casual relationships on purpose. Casual means deliberate. It’s impossible to predict whether someone can work with you at the start. Be a first responder and do not sit on emails for days. Don’t ignore people and pick up on the first ring. Learn to own the inconvenience. Increase the frequency of your interactions with these casual acquaintances. Friendships built on selfishness never work out. Increase the frequency you see them on their terms, not yours. Own the inconvenience.

Casual relationships run on (and deepen) based on your willingness to share information. – Jon Acuff

If people don’t know you need help, they can’t help you. – Jon Acuff

Whether you’re chasing a new dream or trying to climb the ladder at work, casual relationships won’t know how to help us unless we ask for help. – Jon Acuff

Great Career Take Great Advocates. Not all your friends can give you good advice. There are 3 characteristics that advocates must have. They have to be brave and to tell you the truth, even though it hurts. They have to be respected. They also have to be trustworthy. Cheat Codes make the game a lot easier. They will tell you shortcuts which actually work. However, you must be willing to listen to them. What do career advocates need from us? What’s in it for them? Expand your definition of the word ‘expert’. There are generally 3 types of expertise: Industry, life and You. A best friend can be an advocate too. Advocate is like a mentor and the advice mostly goes one way only. An advocate must be someone smarter than you. Join people in your profession and ask for advice. Know other people in similar firms. You might also build some long-distance advocates or heroes you have read about in books.

It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past. – Steve Garguilo

An advocate is only as good as the amount of access you are willing to give them into your life. The best advocate for your career can’t do anything if you stay surface level with them. – Jon Acuff

Don’t Burn Many Bridges. Sometimes, it is inevitable. However, do not burn many bridges as it might haunt you. Boomerangs will return, even bad ones. The fewer you burn, the better. Do you form hate clubs about people you don’t like. Sometimes, stupid people can be your boss also. Leave Jobs with your thumb raised. Do not raise your middle finger as the experience is not worth it at all. Keep your matches away from digital bridges too. Don’t do social media gloating. Apologize if you have to. Your industry is smaller than you think. Treat everyone like you’ll work with them again someday.

It is seldom indeed that one parts on good terms, because if one where on good terms one would not part. – Marcel Proust

I’m not asking you to be fake and give long, deep hugs to people who spent the previous day verbally assaulting you. – Jon Acuff

If you currently have a job, do not go online and criticize the company you work for. – Jon Acuff

Community Shines Brightest in the Darkness of a Career Bump. There are only 4 things which can happen: 1) career ceilings; 2) career jumps; 3) career opportunities; 4) career bumps. Relationships will pick you up. Friends will be there to help you. Rock Bottom is a Trampoline. Sometimes, you will spring back into life, just like that. A career bump will rock your boat and it will reveal who are your true friends. We need friends and advocates.

Investment 2: Skills. Relationships get you the first gig, skills get you the second. However, if you have no skills, you sink. The difference between an amateur and expert are skills. They give purpose for life. Skills are ability and provide you with natural talents. Old dogs can learn new skills. Your skills can come in handy. Skills are the key to getting unstuck.

Everybody wants to be somebody: Nobody wants to grow. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Once you have skills, they are yours forever. No one can take that skill away from you. When you leave a job, the skills you learned there leave with you. You must keep them sharp, but a skill you put in the Career Savings Account stays there. – Jon Acuff

You Have More Skills than You Think. Most people claim they don’t have many skills. This is because they are just things you do, but you don’t classify. Get more skills. You should write down a list of current skills. Write down ideas. Look for patterns. Ask what are you good at. Do not be humble. It could be personal skills as well, need not be work-related skills. Ask yourself what comes naturally? Write down ‘what do people pay me to do?’ Write down ‘what are you afraid of?’ Write down ‘If you wrote an eBook, what would the topic be?’ Bring the cards along with you. If you do not know what your skills are, ask a friend for advice. You need to be aware of the skills you might want to acquire.

Whether you want to get better at your current job or find a new one, chances are you will need new skills. – Jon Acuff

Somewhere on the road to adulthood we decided that dreams were dumb. We stopped wanting to be firemen and astronauts and settled for stuck and predictable. We accepted the lie that Monday must be boring. – Jon Acuff

Master the Invisible Skills. Everything is a skill, everything you do at work is a skill. Communication, fixing paper jams are all skills. The small things add up. The small skills do not seem flashy. You just need some tweaks to be great at them. Many people miss these invisible skills and overlook them. Going to work is a skill as it shows that absenteeism is not value highly by employees. Go to work and go on time. You will already be better off than others who don’t show up at work. Learn to add value. In every job, there must be something that you do which adds value. Ask yourself what is the currency of your company. How does what you do add to your company’s mission? You can tell your boss: ‘I’ve been thinking a lot about the best ways for me to continually add value to this company. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how I can do that.’ Employees must add value. Own your attitude. It is not the employers’ job to fulfil your career desires. When you have a bad attitude, it shows. It’s your job to enjoy work, not your employer. Attitude is a decision you choose on a daily basis. Express gratefulness. Show consideration for others. Focus on what matters. Play to your strengths and everyone else’s. Learn to be flexible. Respect their gear. Continue with your education and learn more. If the company wants to train you, you should be grateful.

The goal of your first job is to teach you how to have a job. – Jon Acuff

Over and over again, career experts bemoaned the fact that employees who don’t show up to work get fired. – Jon Acuff

Attitude is a skill. It can be changed. It can be improved and it starts with owning it. You determine your attitude, not your day, not a job, not a situation. You. Own it. – Jon Acuff

If you need more to do, find more work to do. Finishing the work your boss thought would take you 40 hours in only 25 hours doesn’t mean you’ve just earned an extra 15 hours of me time that week. – Jon Acuff

Never Become a Dinosaur. There are people who don’t love to learn new skills. With technological advances, skills are important. If you don’t have them, you are a dinosaur. Your skills can get obsolete quickly if you are not careful. Old skills might not work all the time. New skills open the doors to wonderful opportunities. It will value-add to your resume. Sign up for classes is also a signal to your boss that you care about the job. Passion won’t show up from nowhere. You won’t find calling out of nowhere. There are hassles with learning something new. It’s not easy but you can pretend to be a tourist in a new country and ask a lot of questions to find out more. If you want a Do Over, you have to pick up new skills. It’s hard to get stuck in your old ways when you prioritize learning new skills.

I like being a beginner. I like the moment when I look at everyone and say, “I have no idea how to do this, let’s figure it out.” – Jon Acuff

If we all don’t want to become dinosaurs, bemoaning the good ol’ days, we have to stay current. We have to stay relevant. We have to stay employable and the best way to do that is by learning new skills. – Jon Acuff

New jobs always require learning new skills, even if that just means learning a different way a new company prefers to do something. – Jon Acuff

Learning a new skill can reveal a new dream. How can you know you love doing something if you don’t try it? – Jon Acuff

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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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