Nov 21, 2010

Best of Steve Job from his 1985 interview

In 1985 interview of Steve Jobs with the Playboy magazine, we can see some of the early vision in regards of Apple's future and business fundamentals. This was also the time when Apple had build its first MAC. Here are some of the most inspiring statements from him:

Source : theapplecollection.com
JOBS: Companies, as they grow to become multibillion-dollar entities, somehow lose their vision. They insert lots of layers of middle management between the people running the company and the people doing the work. They no longer have an inherent feel or a passion about the products. The creative people, who are the ones who care passionately, have to persuade five layers of management to do what they know is the right thing to do.

JOBS: What happens in most companies is that you don't keep great people under working environments where individual accomplishment is discouraged rather than encouraged. The great people leave and you end up with mediocrity. I know, because that's how Apple was built. Apple is an Ellis Island company. Apple is built on refugees from other companies. These are the extremely bright individual contributors who were troublemakers at other companies.

JOBS: There's an old Hindu saying that comes into my mind occasionally: "For the first 30 years of your life, you make your habits. For the last 30 years of your life, your habits make you." As I'm going to be 30 in February, the thought has crossed my mind.


JOBS: And I'm not sure. I'll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I'll sort of have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I'm not there, but I'll always come back. And that's what I may try to do. The key thing to remember about me is that I'm still a student. I'm still in boot camp. If anyone is reading any of my thoughts, I'd keep that in mind. Don't take it all too seriously.

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. What are we, anyway? Most of what we think we are is just a collection of likes and dislikes, habits, patterns. At the core of what we are is our values, and what decisions and actions we make reflect those values. That is why it's hard doing interviews and being visible: As you are growing and changing, the more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you that it thinks you are, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to go, "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.

JOBS: I still don't understand it. It's a large responsibility to have more than you can spend in your lifetime—and I feel I have to spend it. If you die, you certainly don't want to leave a large amount to your children. It will just ruin their lives. And if you die without kids, it will all go to the Government. Almost everyone would think that he could invest the money back into humanity in a much more astute way than the Government could. The challenges are to figure out how to live with it and to reinvest it back into the world, which means either giving it away or using it to express your concerns or values.

JOBS: No. There are some simple reasons for that. One is that in order to learn how to do something well, you have to fail sometimes. In order to fail, there has to be a measurement system. And that's the problem with most philanthropy—there's no measurement system. You give somebody some money to do something and most of the time you can really never measure whether you failed or succeeded in your judgment of that person or his ideas or their implementation. So if you can't succeed or fail, it's really hard to get better. Also, most of the time, the people who come to you with ideas don't provide the best ideas. You go seek the best ideas out, and that takes a lot of time.

JOBS: Well, my favorite things in life are books, sushi and.... My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. As it is, I pay a price by not having much of a personal life. I don't have the time to pursue love affairs or to tour small towns in Italy and sit in cafes and eat tomato-and-mozzarella salad.

Occasionally, I spend a little money to save myself a hassle, which means time. And that's the extent of it. I bought an apartment in New York, but it's because I love that city. I'm trying to educate myself, being from a small town in California, not having grown up with the sophistication and culture of a large city. I consider it part of my education. You know, there are many people at Apple who can buy everything that they could ever possibly want and still have most of their money unspent. I hate talking about this as a problem; people are going to read this and think, Yeah, well, give me your problem. They're going to think I'm an arrogant little asshole.

JOBS: The minute you have the means to take responsibility for your own dreams and can be held accountable for whether they come true or not, life is a lot tougher. It's easy to have wonderful thoughts when the chance to implement them is remote. When you've gotten to a place where you at least have a chance of implementing your ideas, there's a lot more responsibility in that.

Here is another great resource about Steve Jobs Perspective.

John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview Transcript


Source : tech.fortune.cnn.com

Nov 12, 2010

Collective Intelligence : An Interesting Thought

Here I was at the end of the week, and after a tiring Table Tennis match with Binit dai (brother in nepali) I walked with him to his flat. Till then I was unaware that I was about to have a very interesting conversation with him. And it all started with a vague question, "Dai, when do you think Sharukh Khan will die?" I asked this question as I was watching his photographs in a daily newspaper.

To this vague question, he replied "Most celebrity have less life expectancy due to their stressful lifestyle." Then he added, "There is this basic formula for life, the more you push in your life the less your lifetime becomes." Then he added a scientific fact to the statement that the heartbeat per second defines the total life expectancy. Large animals like elephant have very low heart beat rate compared to a rabbit, so comparatively elephants live more than rabbits. In same lines, tortoise has a very low heart beat and it can live up to 200 years. Then suddenly I remembered an old documentary about human body where it was mentioned that the main reason of aging is oxygen. Though oxygen is the life support of human being, it also has a double edge to it. Different form of oxygen is the main factor behind degradation of cells.

brainbasedbusiness.com
After a long silence to this thought, I asked yet another vague question, "Why do human beings have to be so restless? Why are they always thinking and doing something? Can't we simply exist?" To this he rebutted by saying that its not only humans but every living organism has a quest in life to exist, and continuously act accordingly. He then gave examples of how dogs and rats have adapted to the city life and have made their existence possible. And this is a true fact. Look at dogs how gullible they are? They have pampered human being to such an extent that a dog that doesn't wag its tail in front of their boss is simply not a good dog. Look how they have made their ways into human lives and co-existing as a part of human family.

This was the turning point of the conversation. Suddenly, from a simple scientific observation we were venturing into the reality of life - "Existence". This is when he shared a remarkable fact about human cells. Inside the cell we have something called mitochondria (power house of cell). But in the history, mitochondria and a cell was a different life system. Unicellular organism usually feed by engulfing other cellular organism. So in some faith of life, a cell engulfed mitochondria but instead of digesting it, a remarkable thing happened. Both the cell and mitochondria co-existed as one organism. The presence of mitochondria somehow enhanced the efficiency of cell, so someway they communicated to exist as one or we may say agreed to be one. Now its very similar to a dog and a man, somehow the presence of a dog in a family have started to make a family complete, making a presence of a dog important. As the new generation of the family exist, so will the dog's.

Every human cell has a unique identity of their own and is in a way an independent life. But its remarkable to see how millions and billions of these cells have coordinated in a godly fashion to exist as a human being. How do they know how to coordinate with each other. Who is commanding them? Because in all these examples there is no single commanding cells or identity involved.

For two human beings to coordinate, we have to communicate. Communication is a very important part of a society. But in case of cells and other life forms, how do they communicate with each other. What kind of consciousness do they have?

yerbamate.com
With casual seep of tea and popcorn, the conversation was a perfect ice breaker for some innovative thinking. So the next phase of this conversation, was to dwell deep into the aspect of matter and their consciousness. Then Binit dai said that there is something that have always fascinated him about life. The embroic process of human development is an interesting process. Initially, we have only one cell and the same cell multiply to be an embryo. But how do each cell know which part of the body they want to be? What guides their faith is a question that is interesting? This suddenly reminded me about the paradox of quantum theory. The fact that electrons show wave behavior has baffled scientific community for ages. Out of this fact a very important question have emerged - "During electron diffraction, how does one electron know where to land and what guides the path of an electron." Now I know that this has been explained by the wave nature of particle but it is an interesting question which shows that somehow these matter can communicate with each other is some interesting fashion.

This is the point where everything started to go murky. The whole question boiled down to collective intelligence of life. The fact that earth in itself is a living organism could be hard to take it, but once you follow the path of collective intelligence of how cell emerges to be human and human to community to Earth and may be to universe, it looks elementary. Though I have no evidence to prove, its an interesting thought to have.

This theory has an immense implication in every field. With this thought lingering in my mind, I looked at my cup to see it empty. So there it was a cup full of innovative thinking :). I jumped to my feet and left the flat leaving Binit dai to his thought and mine to jot down to this blog post. Hope you enjoyed.

Nov 10, 2010

Opportunities and Success

Just before sleeping I decided to go through the first chapter of Outliers, one of the bestselling book on success and innovation. The chapter was so intriguing that it pushed me to think hard about myself. And I had only begun to read.

A very valid point was made in the chapter about the opportunities that people get in their life which pushes them to success and how baise these opportunities tend to be. A very intriguing example was given of how a hockey players in a specific region turned out to have similar birth months. No, it had nothing to do with astrology but a simple set of opportunities set out by the council of hockey which gave more opportunities to the people born in January, February and March.

strongodors.com
It turned out that the council enrolled young kids for training at specific time which unknowingly gave kids born in January more chances of fitting the age bar and entering the hockey team.

As a result, these kids got head start in their life and rode on the opportunities towards success.

Though, it is not ignoring skills and intelligence. It surely points out the missed opportunities for other kids. In the chapter, more examples are given for different games, education and different scenarios.

And seriously, we have witnessed these facts even in our day to day life. We find people with opportunities more equipped with things to handle the day to day challenges. And I looked at myself and said, "What opportunities did I have and what I didn't?"

To start with, I was born in a city which gave me excess to advantages of city dwellers. But ironically, I spent most of my childhood in a small village, on eastern part of Nepal, which was a base for advance research on Agriculture (PAC), where my father was working.

Though, I did my early schooling in a village school which had less to offer than city school. The place I was living in was nothing like a village. It was a merge of high end research labs and villagers living in harmony. The people and the culture of the place is still something I idealized.

It was in this very village I had witnessed computers and large computer networks, despite the fact that the village had no telephone for inter communication. Amazingly, though the time was between 80s and 90s, I was able to see and experience Laptops before Desktops. I still find it strange because it was only after a decade I was able to own my own Desktop while I was doing my A level. Here I have given you an example of few gained and missed opportunities, based on location. But I have noticed that location sometime does not bother people who have strong will to succeed.

flickr.com
Now lets go to parenting. Today I have an engineering degree and a passion for building things and making it work.

This passion was seeded into me early on when my father gave me a LEGO as a first toy. I still remember the day he opened the box and gave me the pieces to solve. Since then I have never stopped dreaming about building and designing systems and working with it.

But my main point is that I did not become an engineer because I was given a LEGO and that I had fun with it in my early days. The important thing is that I was given an opportunity to explore things which luckily resonated with my interest and skill sets. (Because I still remember my father buying me a General Knowledge book on which I simply had no interest :) ) I was even lucky to have an uncle who was amazingly creative and inspired me to draw, build and even play music. Somehow, I still have a taste for music similar to him. This doesn't mean I was influenced, it means that I was lucky to have people around me with whom I could resonate. Now that is very important. I believe that every people have something interesting inside them and that they should get an opportunity to explore it.

Now, this opportunities to explore your interest is much more important than an opportunity to go into formal schooling and get a degree. Because once a kid finds his passion, he is bound to follow it till the end and success in itself is defined by his path. But in this weak education system, modern schools have a habit of narrowing down your options. I still remember how the amount of Art and Music class lessened as we marched to higher grade.

My point is that though opportunities play important roles in people's life sometime a little more hard work can balance the missed opportunities. Because looking at myself, I know that there were many points where I could not achieve certain things due to the lack of opportunity, but as time went on the homework paid off. My experience shows that when you realize that you are not able to do certain things better than other due to lack of knowledge, just remove your self from the rat race of trying to win. Step aside and work on your weakness and do a strong homework.


I could go on and on. But I thing thats enough. Further I do not know how the book will move forward and may be there are certain things that I still have not explored in this post. But when I get time, I will certainly do so. Also, feel free to share your thoughts on it.

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