Sunday, October 9, 2011

Steve Jobs: American Visionary. Role Model for Our Future

In 1981, I bought my first computer - an Apple II. It cost $3,000 - an enormous sum then and now. But it was the first time a professional like myself (an attorney) could write letters and documents and save them on a disk, or print time.

When I lost my Fortune 500 job at the end of 1983, I started my first business with that same Apple II (see the photo; ignore the wild haircut). Fortunately Hurricane Alicia that swept over Houston in August of that year had destroyed my sailboat at the Houston Yacht Club, so the insurance proceeds helped me buy a $1,600 dot matrix printer - that best that was available at that time.

That lay off from a dream job led to a series of adventures and insight I never would have had but for that experience, from negotiating international kidnapping cases once running out of cash in Bangkok. But, like Steve Jobs but with a zero bankroll I always survived and even thrived. It's all in my book which is in final editing for release as an eBook (working title "Better Times Ahead: April Fool?" The title comes from a sign I once saw in India, after landing on April Fool's day. I found out today that Apple was founded on April Fools day, 1976. Click "Follow" if you want to get updates on publication).

Time magazine wrote a great article on what Steve Jobs accomplished. In his 2005 address, he talked more about his failures and how they taught him more than his successes. Having been laid off from a multinational company and had my own failure experiences I understand completely what he meant when he said:

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life," he said, sounding as if the very thought of living someone else's life infuriated him. "Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

America is in trouble, but we can climb out of it if all of us follow the advice of Steve Jobs, an American visionary.  He didn't follow the polls. He didn't have focus groups to tell him what to invent. He invented things that didn't exist, things that we didn't know we needed until they were invented.

Steve Jobs was a role model for America. He didn't wallow in self-pity over being fired from his own company. He went on to invent new things like Pixar. That is a valuable lesson for all Americans today, especially those who have lost jobs and are wondering what to do next.

Do what Steve Jobs would have done. Go out and invent the next great thing. It's an American tradition.
Rest in peace Steve. And if you could text me from heaven, I need an app to find out what ever happened to my old Apple II?

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