Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Steve Jobs

Don’t waste it living someone else life: Steve Jobs

Note: I am updating older posts for the new followers. Somehow, these 6,700 articles need to be upgraded and updated. This post was published in 2011.

“Your time is limited”: Steve Jobs on TED

“Your time is limited: Don’t waste it living someone else life.

Your time is limited: Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

Your time is limited: 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.”

This is a portion of Steve talk to TED (Technology, Education, and Development company that extend licenses for local and other country entrepreneurs to diffusing the talks of speakers (famous and less famous) registered twice a year at paid events).

I have read most of these inspiring slogans.  That Steve adopted them is great relief and a catalyst for the visionaries.

Users of Ipod and Iphone must be implicitly sending silent prayers to Steve in the coming weeks:  How many of us could dream of such a luxury?

If the natural parents of Steve (see biographical note) had decided to raise him, would Steve finish a university degree? Most probably, yes.  It is tradition for Near-East Mediterranean Sea families to see to it that their children graduate from universities.  Would Steve be a success story? Why not.  Would it be “this kind of success story”?

Did the adoptive family of Jobs done a good job? They let Steve try all kinds of electronic gadgets… Steve was so lucky: He managed to survive the critical first five years, be adopted, be fed adequately, be raised in the land of opportunities…

Streams of scientists, researchers, discoverers preceded Steve and set the foundation in digital communication and computing…

For how long Steve and his vision will last on front page? How long till it is relegated to virtual has been? Who is the next visionary to monopolize front page?

Someone wrote: “For us in Palo Alto, Steve Jobs was 15 minutes walk away…”  How many dared walk toward Steve’s direction?

Your time is limited.

Do you have a vision? Can you sustain pressure and enjoy working under pressure? If not, select another vision that requires as much work, but less stupid pressures that ruin your joy for life.

Do not worry, someone else will pick up your first vision and run with it: You have contributed to the implementation of the vision, given that you published in details your daydream project, regardless if many would deny you the essential contribution.

Work hard, not mindlessly, but mindlessly hard as you identified your strongest passions, which converge toward your dream of “What work makes me happiest?”

And the cycle closes in: Spirit, virtual vision, daydream detailed project, applied matters, trends, spirit…

Most people never cross the phase of attempting to publish their daydream project.  Why?  They don’t want to be humiliated by a few of the community pointing their fingers saying: “The fool. He can’t even earn a living…” We are surviving life!

Many blame Steve for not paying close attention to the sweatshop factories overseas, manufacturing the gadgets…

My nephew William told me that Steve was a super programmer: When Steve worked at Atari, he was paid $650 for every redundant ship he could remove from the design.  The design got so anorexic that the company paid Steve $5,000 bonus.  It turned out that Steve Wozniak was the one helping him out in Atari and Wozniak was the programmer for the first Apple computer. Any feedback?

Biographical Note: Steve was born in Feb. 24, 1955 from an American lady (Joanne Simpson) and the Syrian Abdul Fattah Jandaly.  They got married two years after Steve’s birth. In the mean time, the Jobs family had adopted Steve. In 1967, at age 12, Steve was admitted to a summer training with Hewlett-Packard: He called directly William Hewlett.

Steve graduated from Homestead high school (Cupertino) in 1972. He could not suffer university formal learning and worked with Atari (electronic games) from 1974 to 76.

In July 1976, Jobs and Steve Wozniak launched Apple 1, for $666.  Why this number 666?

Steve  married Loren Powell in 1991 and has three children.  The fourth child is from Chrissa Brennan. Steve died of cancer in the pancreas.

Notes and tidbits on FB and Twitter. Part 61

La France parlementaire de la République III, d’entre les deux guerres, ne fonctionait pas: Le premier minister était convoqué personnellement en moyenne de 26 fois par mois, sans compter les ministers. Comment dans ces cas un executive pouvait faire quelque chose?

La République V de De Gaulle, qui existe toujours, a drastiquement réforme’ le system.

Les blés anciens ainsi que le riz étaient beaucoup plus nutritive. Le blé blanc les a remplacé. Et on se demande pourquoi nos corps sont intolerant a beaucoup d’aliments.

The Islamic WC (toilet), hard for the elder people, is available in the 5 continents and in every mosque: It is called  “Turkish WC” by the French, Greek WC by the Turks, Bulgar WC by the Greek, Chinese WC by the Japanese…

To avoid hemorrhoids and diverticula, adopt the stooping position as in the Islamic WC. If you insist on using the western throne position for defecating, raise your legs by posing your feet on a stool so that the intestine is in direct straight position for quick and totally satisfying experience

Trump promises jobs for Americans to build weapons for Saudi Monarchy that enabled 9/11 murderers and blocked FBI investigation of 9/11 crimes

It is difficult to admit that all the experiences and wisdom we acquired can vanish at death. At least, I like to believe that conscious survives. Most probably, life is like an off/on interrupter. I never installed this kind of on/off alternatives on Apple products (Steve Jobs)

There are plenty of geniuses in human history and in all kinds of disciplines. Rare are those geniuses who could invent (intuition) and do the demonstration also.

One common traits among those rare geniuses is that they had to write down what they discovered in two versions: 1. A version for their own benefit translating their mental processes for ease recollection when re-read, and 2. A version for publication to satisfy the rational processes for the period

Anti-biotics are produced by intensive growth of particular bacteria in huge water containers: it is bacteria that generate antibiotics

The funny part, I have opted Not to drive for many years now.

From the outside, History looks like a succession of dynasties and political events. History is an independent discipline: philosophy and politics  are branches.

The objective of history is to define human civilization and the social, economic and cultural events, taken in their totality, as a system.

Taking a good look from the inside, history is meant to accede to truth, to explain the causes and origins of the facts. (Ibn Khaldoun)

Zaki avait une facon ensorcelante de faire l’amour. Il remplassait par l’experience la vigueur de la jeunesse, comme un vieux footballeur compense par une grande technique son manque de souplesse. From “L’Immeuble Yacoubian” de Alaa el Aswany

La liberté ne vient pas de l’homme en tant qu’il est, mais en tant qu’il n’est pas, en tant que fini et limité. Est-ce que l’unique fondement de l’être est la liberté?

Qu’ est ce que cela veut dire? Former une volonté de réflechir a tout ce qui atteint sa pensée? A établir un courage d’exprimer sa pensée réflechit? Même si son libre arbiter est détraqué?

L’hypothése du Malin Génie: l’homme est une négation pure. Le doute de l’humain atteint tout ce qui est en dehors de sa pensée. Et de pouvoir s’échapper á toutes les tromperies.

O combien rare: On veut être libre mais on succombe fréquemment au régne de la communauté.

Seule les femmes qui portent l’eau á une grande distance connaissent la valeur de chaque goute.

On average, we defecate about 250 gm per day. 3/4 of the weight is water. 1/3 of the compact matter is of bacteria, 1/3 of fiber that couldn’t be digested and 1/3 is constituted of cholesterol, medicine, and artificially colored products…
In one hour, our organs consume 100 Watts bulb. We salivate about one litter a day. The total surface of our small intestine is 7 km long
Les souffrances qui ne se voient pas physiquement sont lampées dans “Get over it
Si le monde occidental s’est developé, après tant de crises et de calamites, c’ est qu’il a adopté le concept de Dieu incarné en l’homme Jésus: Si Dieu n’existe pas, Jésus a-il- existé?
Chasing after anyone or anything demands plenty of energy. The source of that energy is Temporary Insanity.
Le monde imaginaire dans lequel je vivais, enfant bourgeois, ne recevait du monde reel aucun démenti aux contes des mythologies. Ces Histoires de passions se renforcérent avec l’âge. Un vieillard á une belle jeune actrice: “Quel malheur, Mademoiselle, de voir une chose si belle quand on va mourrir”.

Notes and comments on FB and Twitter. Part 48

Si les classes ouvriére, paysannes et opprimés sont foutues au Liban, pourquoi retenir des partis politiques?
Nous allions á la rencontre de choses terribles, qui existaient avant nous, mais qui n’attendaient que nous
Quand on est au monde depuis peu de temps, one ne sait pas la source ou l’origine du désastre, que lorsque la desolation nous surprent á un age avancé.
Si les hommes du Moyen-Age ne dépassaient pas 155 cm, comment peut-on imaginer ces gens faisant la guerre sans se sentir hillare? Bardés de cuirasse et d’épées plus longues qu’eux? Si on réflechit aux faits, l’histoire ne serait que contes de bardes lilipuciens malins.
Ceux qui ne s’incline devant personne sont dans les prisons ou sous-terre.  Et la servilité pour tous les autres.
Ce qui me manque de toi c’est la minuscule accumulation des petits fait quotidiens. Ces mouvements particuliers qui te personnalises
Le Dieu Incarné en Jesus fut dérobé de ses pouvoirs par les nations colonialles. Chaque nation usurpa le role de Chancellier pour dominer d’autres peuples et les dépouiller de leur religion et culture.
Egypt President Sissi suffered 2 resounding slaps from Saudi Kingdom in less than a year. He failed to respond: What a sissie.
Saudi Kingdom had announced 2 years ago that Egypt is contributing fighting forces in Yemen without prior informing Sissi. It again released this Trump/Selman statement without Sissi’s input or feedback.
Tiny Qatar in population is to desist playing world politics and focus on economic development and investment, like Dubai.

Before being diagnosed with cancer, Steve Jobs used to say: the 21st century is the intersection of technology and Art designs. Afterward, it changed into the Intersection of technology and Biology

Remember: all kinds of accidents take place close to home, or at home, and frequently at older age.

Avec l’arrivé du monotheism, les discussions libres sont morts, et les veritiés avec. Toutes les sciences ne font qu’obscurcir les véritiés absolues.

Betnaffass 7orriyyeh et tu me manques comme on manque d’air

Si je préfere adopter parfois le ton de mes mauvaises plaisanteries, tout en moi est grave quand je pense á toi.

Je m’ennuie sérieusement de toi: Je ne cesse de songer et de revisiter chaque moment de notre rendez-vous

Les signes annonciateurs? Ils supplient que la catastrophe s’abat pour acquérir une légitimité. Trop tard: les futures signes suivront les precédents sans des prenants collectives zélés

Si tu ne peux imposer Ta Vérité que par les guerres et les occupations, c’est que votre vérité est du charlatanism.

Il est inutile de trouver la vérité si on n’ apprend pas á débusquer les mensonges et erreurs. C’est la definition même de la recherche. Les mathématiques pures ne sont pas faites pour découvrir les vérités, si ells ne sont pas “appliqués”

Ce qui nous transporte ailleurs, tout un jour et une nuit, est nécessairement Beau.

Les circonstances du vide sont des catalysts.

Elle monte le champ de ronces et traverse la fécondité des roses qu’elle n’a pas cessé de cultiver.

Cette clandestinité du sentiment, amertume paraissant blasée

C’est inevitable: á force de détruire des mythes, on les remplace par des hybrides, souvent plus vilains. Cas of “Promised Lands” and “Espace Vitales”

3am emsheh metel modéles féminines. I am walking very slowly: b7ot ejer wa bensa addem al thania

Twice last week, I dreamt of driving totally malfunctioning cars. Can’t believe my brain could invent so many malfunctions. I survived countless near-miss accidents.

My dream should have let me stop by the road side and let my lucid dream let the car rot and wake up. If it were Not for a terrible dry-throat and nobody to offer me a cup of water in order to wake up, I might have passed away from a heart attack.

Steve Jobs Keynotes addresses

April 19, 2015

A Steve Jobs keynote was a tightly choreographed and relentlessly prepared presentation, according to the new book Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender.

Jobs turned the product launch into an art form.

He leaves a legacy by which entrepreneurs can learn to dazzle their audiences. The following five keynotes will help anyone give the presentation of a lifetime.

1. The Mac launch

Every Steve Jobs presentation had one moment that people would be talking about the next day. These “moments” were tightly scripted and relentlessly rehearsed. Remarkably, Jobs’ flair for the dramatic started before PowerPoint or Apple Keynote were available as slide design tools, which proves you don’t need slides to leave your audience breathless.

Related: Former Apple CEO John Sculley: This Is What Made Steve Jobs a Genius

On Jan. 24, 1984, Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh with a magician’s flair for the big reveal. He showed a series of images and said, “Everything you just saw was created by what’s in that bag.” And with that Jobs walked to the center of a darkened stage that had a table and a canvas bag sitting on top it. He slowly pulled the Mac from the bag, inserted a floppy disk, and walked away as the theme from Chariots of Fire began to play as images filled the screen.

The lesson: A presentation doesn’t always need slides to wow an audience.

2. The iPhone

The rule of three is one of most powerful concepts in writing. The human mind can only retain three or four “chunks” of information. Jobs was well aware of this principle and divided much of his presentations into three parts. Sometimes he even had fun with it.

For example, on Feb. 16, 2007, Jobs told the audience to expect three new products: a new iPod, a phone and an “Internet communication device.” After repeating the three products several times, he made the big reveal — all three products were wrapped in one new device, the iPhone.

The lesson: Introduce three benefits or features of a product, not 23.

3. The first MacBook Air

When Jobs introduced the “world’s thinnest notebook,” the MacBook Air, he walked to the side of the stage, pulled out a manila envelope hiding behind the podium and said, “It’s so thin it even fits inside one of those envelopes you see floating around the office.” With a beaming smile, he slowly pulled it out of the envelope for all to see.

Most presenters would have shown photographs of the product. Jobs took it one step further. He knew what would grab people’s attention. This did. Most of the blogs, magazines and newspapers that covered the launch ran a photograph of Steve Jobs pulling the computer out of the envelope.

The lesson: Don’t just tell us about a product, show it to us, and do it with pizzazz.

Related: 5 Things I Learned About Successful Startups From Steve Jobs

4. The iTunes Store

Every great drama has a hero and a villain. Steve Jobs was a master at introducing both heroes and villains in the same presentation. On April 28, 2003, Jobs convinced consumers to pay 99 cents for songs. Jobs began with a brief discussion of Napster and Kazaa, sites that offered “near instant gratification” and, from the user’s perspective, free downloads. On the next slide he listed the “dark side.” They were:

  • Unreliable downloads
  • Unreliable quality (“a lot of these songs are encoded by 7-year-olds and they don’t do a great job.”)
  • No previews
  • No album cover art
  • It’s stealing (“It’s best not to mess with karma.”)

In the next section of the presentation Jobs replaced each of the drawbacks with the benefits of paying for music.

  • Fast, reliable downloads
  • Pristine encoding
  • Previews of every song
  • Album cover art
  • Good Karma

The lesson: Great presentations have an antagonist — a problem — followed by a hero — the solution.

5. The genius in their craziness

In 1997, Jobs returned to Apple after a 12-year absence. Apple was close to bankruptcy at the time and was quickly running out of cash.

Near the end of Jobs’ keynote at Macworld in August 1997, he slowed the pace, lowered his voice, and said: “I think you always had to be a little different to buy an Apple computer. I think the people who do buy them are the creative spirits in the world. They are the people who are not out just to get a job done, they’re out to change the world.

We make tools for those kind of people. A lot of times, people think they’re crazy. But in that craziness, we see genius. And those are the people we’re making tools for.”

The lesson: Don’t forget to motivate your internal audience — your team, employees and partners. Give them a purpose to rally around.

When I wrote The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, I argued that Jobs was the world’s greatest brand storyteller. When I watch these presentations over again, I’m convinced he’s still the best role model for entrepreneurs who will pitch the next generation of ideas that will change the world.

Related: Top 10 Ways to Make Your Presentations More Memorable

A few excerpts of Steve Jobs biography and comments

From the biography of Walter Isaacson. He claimed that Jobs refused to read any notes or a draft version. And this book is pretty thorough.

On June 29, 1975, Steve Wozniak typed a few characters on his invented machine (a keyboard, a screen, a monitor and a microprocessor) and letters were displayed.

Wozniak had spent 2 months hard working on the program.

This inspiration of creating a personal computer was the result of attending the Homebrew Computer Club that displayed the technical file of the Altair Kit microprocessor.

On January 24, 1984, Apple Computer launched the Macintosh. The motto was “You will understand why 1984 will Not be as 1984” (A reference to George Orwell book)

Ridley Scott (director of Blade Runner) shot the story-board of Lee Clow in London. The grey industrial complex was packed with skinheads listening to the speech of Big Brother. A blonde athlete woman (disk thrower) runs and smash the big screen the moment Big Brother (IBM)  is declaring “We are going to win”.

IBM PC had snatched the personal computer market.  By then, Steve Jobs had lost his fire as a renegade, a pirate: The Macintosh had a steep price ($2,500) with no external extensions. Computer geeks could Not add their own cards, functions, or even open the box.

After he was diagnosed with cancer, Jobs said at the graduation ceremony in Stanford, June 2005:  

“Remembering that I will die soon was the catalyst for taking the greatest of decisions of my life.
The waiting, pride, fear of failure and feeling embarrassed…all that vanished in the face of death
Remain what count

The best way Not to fall in the trap of believing that we have anything to lose
We are already naked.
Why Not start listening to your heart?”

If you hire a commercial PDG instead of a product designer, don’t be surprised for your enterprise to fail in the medium term.
If you sell your start ups, blame yourself for failing to build a perennial institution

(A closed, vertical integrated product of materials, programs and applications performs better for common users. Looks like many start-ups needed certain constraints to deliver on their products. For professionals and institutions, open systems suit better and enhance technology and start ups.)

the 21st century is the intersection of technology and Art designs.
After he was diagnosed with cancer and his son Rees got interested in DNA processes, Steve said:
The current century is the Intersection of technology and Biology

As he was getting ready to pass away, Jobs said:

“It is difficult to admit that all the experiences and wisdom we acquired can vanish at death.
At least, I like to believe that conscious survives
Most probably, life is like an off/on interrupter.
I never installed this kind of on/off alternatives on Apple products”
After the implant of a new liver, the nurse tried to install an oxygen mask for Jobs. He snatched it away while barely coming out of anesthesia, on the ground that it was Not aesthetically designed. He ordered to have 5 version submitted to him to select the best designed.

Lisa Brennan (Steve’s daughter from Chrisann) said of what Steve’s believed in:

1. Everything leads to its contrary

2. The best harvest are produced in arid soils

3. Pleasure is generated from privation

Tina Redse, the first love of Steve’s that lasted 5 passionate years and till the end of his life, described the character of Steve as emanating from the psychological syndrome ör pathology of  “Troubled narcissistic personality” that matched perfectly the behaviour of Steve’s, mainly a deficit in empathy

Steve connected with his biological mother after his adoptive mother passed away in 1986. He refused to meet with his biological father (originally from Syria)

The author Mona Simpson was his sister and they met and linked up and became great friends. She looked like him and was a red-headed person.

Daniel Kottke was one of the closest friends of Steve Job. He attended with him the Reed University for 2 years, joined him on his trip to India for a year, shared an apartment with him where Job’s girlfriend was pregnant, and worked with him in the garage developing Apple II.
Jobs refused to give him a single share when Apple went public on the ground that Kottke was just a technician.

Many wanted to give Kettke a few shares but Job was adamant: Zero shares.
Wozniac distributed 2,000 shares on 40 people in his team who were able to purchase their dream homes.
If Wozniak behaviors are considered naïve and ill-matured, then these labels must be common to most well-adjusted, caring and compassionate people.

A few quotes by Jobs:

1. If you want to develop a program, try to figure out the machines that will use it

2. The best way to predict the future is by inventing it

3. The good artist copies, the genius steal (from Picasso)

From Stewart Brand in Whole Earth Catalogue (1968):

“Free access to tools that permit private and individual power to tailor-make education, to find inspiration, model our environment and share our adventure with all who need them

The genius of Jobs (rip, mix, burn) was to transform the personal computer into a digital hub for all portable electronic gizmos, such as camcorders, iTunes, iPod, iPad…The computer served as a center for producing and generating videos, movies, clips…iMovie, iDVD, iTune…

Jobs also got totally engaged in the Cloud technology and succeeded in closing the loop.

Note 1: Bill Gates is Not an outlier: He is pretty much mainstream of the proper timing for new technology. Steve Jobs is an outlier: He could Not program but made all the nerds in electronics and programmers rally to his distorted reality

Note 2: There are plenty of geniuses in human history and in all kinds of disciplines.
Rare are those geniuses who could invent (intuition) and do the demonstration also.

One common traits among those rare geniuses is that they had to write down that they discovered and in two versions (Not the case of Jobs):
1. A version for their own benefit translating their mental processes for ease recollection when re-read, and
2. A version for publication to satisfy the rational processes for the period

I am thinking of Blaise Pascal, Galileo, Kepler, Lavoisier, Kamel Hassan Sabbah and scores of ancient Arab scientists who experimented before publishing their thesis

Note 3: And how would you “want to change the world” Sir?
Are more lunatics those who make apologies of the fools who claim their mission is to change the world
Like all those cult-like minds who want the world to behave according to their world views
What do you want to change Sir?
1. The standard of living all over the world?
2. Behavors of individuals?
3. The standard norms of communities?
4. Reforming system institutions to cater better to the common people requests?
5. Re-structuring the administrative institutions that are meant to control and rule the masses?
6. How about focusing first on your own community, and provide draft projects for its approval?
7. How about accepting the many idiosyncrasies surrounding you and your community?

Note 4: We have a structural problem to approach climate change.
You can simultaneously understand the medium to long-term risks of climate change and also come to the conclusion that it is in your short-term economic interest to invest in oil and gas.
Which is why anybody who tells you that the market is going to fix this on its own is lying to you.
But the government institutions are wary of changing this mid-fix of market stupid fixing of anything that drastic and existential

Note 5: Any man-made system must necessarily be fraught with errors, faults and limitations on its intended usage.
Any man-made system (product, service, administrative, management, political, control…) is doomed to fail when designed to cater for complex tasks and objectives: It will end up tying up many teams targeted for training, maintenance, redesigning, repairing…

Man-made designs barely consider the idiosyncrasies of users and the environment of the community and the designers lack the necessary knowledge, technically and the socio-psychological intricacies and interrelationship of the users and community.

The diversity of users and environments will easily pinpoint the deficiencies in any system.
The proper functioning of any system in the medium term relies solely on the acceptance of the idiosyncrasy of the community, regardless of the level of performance the system is delivering, particularly in health and safety usage and applications

Am I working hard? What is “work” to qualify it in first place?

There are several types of “working”, or feeling that we have been working, or thinking that what we are doing can be perceived as working by the community…For example:

First, many people exclusively work to get paid in currencies, on the assumption that if work is not compensated by money, another term should be invented to confound language

Second, many more people, billion of them, are practicing the bartering method: They produce product and services and exchange them with other types of products and services…If I inherited an olive tree-field, I’d rather barter my olive or olive oil (added-value process) with a pair of shoes and save my profit from a middleman…Actually, we are bartering skills and talents (acquired with hard work, time, and patience) for another set of skills and talents…

Third, many more people, mostly men, are discovering the mysteries of daily survival skills through maintaining house and family demands (housekeeping chores)…

Fourth, many more people are taking more seriously types of hard work, camouflaged as leisure time, which bed rid you for a week in pain and suffering and ruin your “currency paid job”: You should not go hiking for 8 hours before prior exercising for this arduous task.  As any work, prior hard work, efforts, time, and patience are required to doing a stupid work such as hiking, gliding, ocean treasure hunting…

Fifth, many more people are starting to appreciate truly “leisure work” that bring laughter, smiles and contentment into the life of family members…Like what?

Sixth, with the advent of Internet social platforms and easy and quick publishing, life is getting more complicated: How could you define publishing posts and articles on social platforms, working 8 hours a day, including holidays, and not earning a dime from this hard work?  Not only you are working hard, but publishing carries huge responsibilities when you disseminate ideas, concepts, and express your thoughts to thousands of readers… Writing for the benefit of the “demonizing” process of your troubled life should be a different category from publishing your “soiled” life…?

Suppose you get paid for reading and publishing on Internet, would your work be perceived by your community as true work, and that you are indeed a “normal” person…?

I stumbled on this post from emmatzeng (see link in note) published on Sept. 21 under “Has hard work become an exotic concept?” referring to “work culture” in Western and Eastern countries (I edited slightly the post):

“A few weeks back, I came across an NY Times piece “Reaping the Rewards of Risk-Taking” (written by Steve Lohr) that basically expounds the innovation-driven, creativity-centric values that encapsulate Steve Jobs’ life and career and brands America as the all-encompassing hub for such risk-taking pioneers. I already wrote an entire post about Jobs’ ideologies, but I have to comment on them again, perhaps because they strike such a deep, personal chord in me.

Before I delve into personal technicalities, the article classifies Jobs as “the vanguard of innovative thought, experimentation, and so-called “recombinant mash-ups,” or disruptive products that blend perspectives from different disciplines.  At the core of all this creating and revolutionizing are the tried and true American values of pioneering, innovating, and risk-taking; and it is, in fact, these very principles that put our nation at a competitive advantage to other countries, even despite the latter’s heavy government financing for scientific research and educational achievements in science and technology….”

Going along those lines, businesses like Apple, who are credited with revolutionizing the computing and electronics sectors, generally trade at higher valuations on the stock market because they enjoy what is called an “innovation premium.” Sort of it’s the truly innovative businesses that are the game-changers which brings in serious dough–and power.

Now, you’re probably wondering why this all matters to me as an individual aside from the knowledge that 1) I’m a huge admirer of Jobs, and 2) I’m all about creativity and risk-taking. 

Well, two weeks ago, I lived and worked in Asia. It was a unique, eye-opening experience that I’ll never quite be able to put into words and all that other jazz that you hear from everyone else who’s lived abroad: I’ve seen firsthand the cultural disparities that underlie Western and Eastern societies.

The West culture champions its free-spirited, individualistic culture, while the East generally values discipline, respect for authority, and academic excellence. In this respect, a Westerner might look at an Asian and label him as rigid and self-deprecating, and an Asian may view his Western counterparts as undisciplined and disrespectful.

I won’t take sides.  As a born and raised American, my time in Asia has allowed me to better understand how the Eastern side of the world thinks and operates. Thus, speaking solely from sheer observation alone, I believe that Lohr’s article, though compelling, presents a one-sided, ethnocentric perspective that completely ignores the strengths of other cultures, particularly those of the East.

I have seen a handful of Americans in my age group with lofty, elaborate dreams of pursuing their passions eventually settle into dry, unfulfilling jobs. Off the top of my head, I can cite a number of reasons for this phenomenon like lack of drive, personal insecurities…, but I believe that, at the root of it all, is an unwillingness to work hard, to exercise discipline, and to suffer a bit in order to reap the future rewards.

And while I advocate strongly for the mantras of our generation that egg us on to pursue our passions, I believe that these adages need to come with a forewarning–something along the lines of, “Go hard after your dreams–but be dang well prepared to work your butt off for them and encounter some setbacks along the way. THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.

The truth of the matter is, taking risks is exponentially tougher than simply going after what’s safe and socially accepted. In this respect, taking risks requires hard work and discipline, virtues that Eastern societies hone in on.

Sure, Jobs dropped out of college after his first semester and spent some time traveling India, which is awesome and all, but he also slept on the floors of his friends’ dorm rooms and went to a local temple every week to partake in a free meal. Oh, not to mention that he started Apple in his parents’ garage and spent ten years building it into a multi-million dollar business. If that doesn’t sound arduous and even a bit unsexy, then I don’t know what is.

I have encountered and worked alongside multitudes of bright, hardworking individuals during my time in Asia. The work ethic is so strong there that it almost puts our good ol’ American working middle-class values to shame.  What I also witnessed in Asia was an unquestioning and borderline passive stance towards societal norms. Nearly every time I thought to challenge authority in some way shape or form, my remarks were almost always met with an all-too-accepting “that’s just the way things are.”

On the flip side, Americans are great at questioning the status quo, engineering new ideas, and standing up for their opinions and beliefs. It is, essentially, this flourishing spirit of creativity and outside-the-box thinking that attracted me back home. Nonetheless, aside from our dedication to individualism and appetite for creativity, I worry that a good number of my fellow Gen Y-ers simply cower in fear at the prospect of being challenged and stretched beyond their perceived means. It is this distaste towards discomfort that paralyzes us and puts us as a competitive disadvantage on the global scoreboard.

I’d like to expand on Lohr’s points and argue that, while America is a unique and vibrant nation with a strong knack for creativity, we should never allow ourselves to get away with believing that our school of thought is superior to any other culture’s.

Instead, we should be utilizing our resources to continuously seek out new ways to grow, to adapt to our increasingly globally connected world, and to broaden our perspectives. Like Jobs instructs, it is our duty as a nation that fosters innovation to cultivate an environment that rewards curiosity and open-mindedness. That takes some hard, unadulterated work.

What do you think? Do you agree that our current and future generations would be better off finding and achieving a delicate balance between Western ideals of personal freedom and creativity and Eastern morals of discipline and respect, or am I way over my head with this one?” End of post

Note 1: You may read my book review of Amelie Nothomb on her experience working with a Japanese company (Trembling and stupor)

Note 2:

Is Imagination a better quality than Smart? Comparing TEDxRamallah and TEDxBeirut

Note: I have attended both events of TEDxRamallah (last summer in Beirut) and TEDxBeirut (this summer). My comparison will focus on imaginative thinking and smart processes. TEDXRamallah was organized by Palestinians in Ramallah and Jordan, and shown direct in a small theater in Beirut. This event was a catalyst for a group of Lebanese to try their hands at organizing the event in Beirut. TEDxBeirut was a huge success attracting over 750 people in the auditorium of a high-tech institution.

Does an Imaginative person refers to someone who can do things in a different way than the “masses” do, (people being carried away by the common sense dicta)?  Is a smart person someone who comprehended the customs and tradition of his community and is capable of emulating their methods of thinking and satisfying the community wants and desires?

For example, Steve Jobs claimed that “consumers have no idea what they want” and went ahead and set a trend. Is that what we call a tendency for imagination?  But then, when Steve Jobs and Apple emulated all the other companies in turning a blind eye on sweatshop factories that manufacture their product, are we within the Smart-ass side of vision?

Does the difference between Imaginative and smart extends to the technical matters?  For example, can we say that a smart person accepts the consensus standards of methods and logics and is capable of applying them in his field?  Is the imaginative person someone frequently looking at a problem from different perspectives in order to discovering a shortcut or a better way of resolving a problem? Is looking at various perspectives a one time shot or it might generate into a trend in handling problems?

Could we extend this concept into groups? For example, we say this community is imaginative because it considered alternative solutions, while that community is smart for taking advantage of knowing the system and working a solution within the system from “Ine to2kal al katef”?

Would you be wasting time and resources if you do things just like everyone else is doing? Does investing time and energy to find a shortcut in order to figure out a way to do things differently a worthy endeavor?  Does a smart person necessarily lack imagination?  How would you define a person who is frequently looking t problems from different perspectives in order to resolve the difficulty? Is this characteristic of considering problems from various perspective resulting from Smart or Imagination? Does mankind needs more of the Smart or the Imaginative kinds of people?  To doing what? Toward which goal and objective?

Let us read this inspirational post from (a main organizer of TEDxBeirut) and analyze what behavior (smart or imaginative) transpires. (Words and sentences in parenthesis are mine).

Under the title “How TEDxBeirut showed me that you can handle much more than your wildest dreams” William Choukeir wrote:
“This is not a story about me. It’s a story about YOU (meaning the team of volunteers). Through my eyes.
While organizing TEDxBeirut, I had so much to do that I barely had 3 hours of sleep even night, for 1 month straight. I barely slept a single hour during the last week. I was eating in the car while driving. I also made most of my phone calls in the car.

During all this time, I was still running my design studio, at a reduced load (personal enterprise), but it was still running nonetheless. We were still working on the time-sensitive projects (that we had contract on).

At the studio, we were also doing everything (related) to design and communication for TEDxBeirut. The website, T-shirts, emails, event catalog, banners, sponsor kits, business cards, invitations, etc.

In addition to that, I was meeting TEDxBeirut speakers, almost on a daily basis, starting at 3 or 4 pm, and coaching them, and refining their talks.

I was receiving around 300 emails a day. Toward the last 2 weeks, I was clearing my inbox every other day. I was taking and making so my phone calls that my phone bill surpassed $300 that month.

I also spent time supporting Hanane in her times of crisis. Because without her, I and everything around me would crumble. Hanane is my partner in life and in work. She’s the pillar that supports me. I stand in the spotlight, but she deserves all the credit. I’m just a facade.

In addition to all of these (tasks), I was still sitting with my thoughts every day. I was still writing my notes every day ( Even on event day. I was still showering and brushing my teeth.

And yet, I didn’t crack. I didn’t crumble. Not that it was easy. On the contrary. Not that I wasn’t on the verge of collapse. I was. But I didn’t. I hung in there. I saw it through. I realized that I am capable of handling far more than I ever thought possible.

But this isn’t my story. This is the story of Patricia, our curator. This is the story of Ziad. This is the story of Aya. This is the story of Sandra. This is the story of Joseph. This is the story of Farah, of Fatimah, of Rytta, of Marc, of Zeina, and of every single person that was at the core of TEDxBeirut.

I’m not the hero. We all are. I’m not the only one capable of handling much more that I ever thought possible. We all are. And that’s how I realized that anyone, yes anyone, can handle much more than we all ever imagined.

YOU can handle much more than your wildest dreams. Just throw yourself out there. You’ll see. You’ll come through.We all did.” End of quote.

Could you deduce from the previous post whether TEDxBeirut was driven by imaginative thinking or pure smart hard work?

For example, candidate speakers were to submit a one-minute video.  Candidates didn’t receive any feedback for the reasons of declining their candidacy. Is this attitude a smart behavior for organizing events.  Suppose the organizers used the video as an excuse to meeting face to face with candidates and investigate the range of limitations and inspiration of the candidate, would that decision be within the imaginative behavior?

Why do I have this strong feeling that TEDxRamallah had a stronger impact on me?  Is it because it was the first event that I attended live?  This event was held in a small theater (barely 300 attendees) and it lacked the technical power that Beirut organizers managed to install and run; and yet, I felt sweet vibrations that have nothing to do with feeling amazed by technology. The Ramallah event was well-organized in its simplicity, and I enjoyed the compact atmosphere of engaged people to listen to “what’s going on in Palestine and in the Arab World”.

Can TEDxBeirut organizers claim that the audience had this feeling of “What’s going on in Lebanon? What’s going on in the Arab World after the spring upheavals?”  Did the audience appreciated the potentials for change and reforms? I had the net realization that women speakers tackled Lebanon socio/political problems, and actually offered tangible, pragmatic projects and programs to resolving our problems.

I sincerely wish the TEDxBeirut organizers refrain from throwing in this statement: “We were shooting to be global”.  That would insult my intelligence and imagination.

How can you think global if you are immature in comprehending the limitations and needs of your own community? Worst, lacking the desire to get engaged in changing Lebanon rotten political/social structure?

Note: Attached are links to the first session of both events and you may take it from there




November 2020

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