"Remembering that I'll be dead soon..."
Part of Jobs' speech:
"My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
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 not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. 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.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much."
Read Stanford.edu for the entire speech.
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27 August 2011
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon..."
26 August 2011
If you want to have your scandal swept under the carpet, be sure the news breaks in a big news week. This has been one of those!
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, had his case dropped in a week when we have liberation in Libya with Qadhafi's whereabouts unknown. We also had a hurricane sweeping up from Puerto Rico toward New York City and a rare 5.8 earthquake in Virginia.
STOP THE PRESSES: Steve Jobs steps down as Apple's CEO!
Financial markets affected all over the world as suppliers, consumers, competitors and stockholders all wonder if it's about the man or the Mac.
Fascinating week ... pity on those journalists who were on vacation and had to watch it all surface without them.
DSK is a happy man, relieved and now, overlooked, as far as the headlines go. Wonder what page he'll land on, and which French runway as he gets as far from NYC as he can.
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25 August 2011
Apple connects emotionally with it's audience
"The Apple brand is synonymous with innovation."
Galloway on Bloomberg
"Steve Jobs is a Zen master with incredible focus. My mother doesn't know Steve Jobs, but she does know her iPhone."
Om Malik of GIGAOM tech blog
CNBC Titans history, bio, doco on Steve Jobs. http://www.cnbc.com/id/43298711
- Jobs to remain on Disney's board of directors.
Jobs' resignation letter on Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/24/steve-jobs-resignation-letter_n_935838.html
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Who is Tim Cook?
"An intensely private Alabaman and Auburn University engineering grad (class of 1982), Cook is also a workaholic whose only interests outside of Apple appear to be cycling, the outdoors, and Auburn football. (Talk about tough years: Apple's stock is down 50% year to date; the Tigers, nationally ranked early in the season, were 4-5 at presstime.) What's more, there's every reason to believe that Apple would at least be stable for some years to come if Cook were to find himself at the helm. The reason: He's essentially been running much of the company for years.
Demanding and even-keeled
Tim cook arrived at Apple in 1998 from Compaq Computer. He was a 16-year computer-industry veteran - he'd worked for IBM (IBM, Fortune 500) for 12 of those years - with a mandate to clean up the atrocious state of Apple's manufacturing, distribution, and supply apparatus. One day back then, he convened a meeting with his team, and the discussion turned to a particular problem in Asia.
"This is really bad," Cook told the group. "Someone should be in China driving this." Thirty minutes into that meeting Cook looked at Sabih Khan, a key operations executive, and abruptly asked, without a trace of emotion, "Why are you still here?"
Khan, who remains one of Cook's top lieutenants to this day, immediately stood up, drove to San Francisco International Airport, and, without a change of clothes, booked a flight to China with no return date, according to people familiar with the episode. The story is vintage Cook: demanding and unemotional.
Almost from the time he showed up at Apple, Cook knew he had to pull the company out of manufacturing. He closed factories and warehouses around the world and instead established relationships with contract manufacturers. As a result, Apple's inventory, measured by the amount of time it sat on the company's balance sheet, quickly fell from months to days. Inventory, Cook has said, is "fundamentally evil," and he has been known to observe that it declines in value by 1% to 2% a week in normal times, faster in tough times like the present.
"You kind of want to manage it like you're in the dairy business," he has said. "If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem." This logistical discipline has given Apple inventory management comparable with Dell's, then as now the gold standard for computer-manufacturing efficiency.
We know what you're thinking: Why dwell on the backroom aspects of such a sexy company? Because that seemingly dull stuff is as important to Apple's success as the gorgeous designs and ultracool marketing. Forecasting demand, for example, and executing against that forecast, are critical in the computer industry, especially when new products quickly cannibalize the old."
18 August 2011
I'm not sure this would be a good place for my book club to meet. It's a bit disorienting.
The reading theme is perfect for this location of Manhattan coffeeshop D'Espresso. A prevalence of books also nods to its unique location, near the New York Public Library.
"The "books" are actually tiles printed with sepia-toned photos of bookshelves at a local travel bookstore that ring the room, including the floor, walls and ceiling. In addition to painting unusual surfaces with intriguing patterns -- whoa, you're standing on books! -- it gives an Alice in Wonderland-esque sense that the room has been suddenly upended."
17 August 2011
When we keep pushing forward without taking adequate time for rest and replenishment, our way of life may seem heroic but there is a frenetic quality to our work that lacks true effectiveness because we have lost the ability to be present to God, to be present to other people, and to discern what is really needed in our situation.
-Ruth Haley Barton,
in Rhythms of Work and Rest: Sacred
Reminded of this by my friend at In the Life of a Busy Woman
15 August 2011
A friend in New Zealand began her letter to me,
The stage collapsing at the Indiana State Fair made the NZ news today. You weren't there, were you?
The expected high temp in Auckland is 10C today. The South Island has been cancelled due to snow. Both Dunedin and Christchurch airports were closed this morning. It's very sunny and nippy outside. We're supposed to have rain/sleet by this afternoon and possibly hail.
The washing machine broke down on Saturday and ..."
Another friend ended a letter with ...
"PS Wellington had the biggest snowfall in 40 years yesterday/last night. Guess where I’m heading 7pm flight to night Bbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
... they are also covered in snow – all centres closed.
Enjoy the summer!"
Hmmm, glad I'm in the US for the warmth.
I'm sorry people were injured and killed in Indianapolis. I was at the Indiana State Fair for a concert Wednesday night. We were thrilled to get seats close to the stage. You just never know.
09 August 2011
02 August 2011
Volunteer?Welcoming people who have lost so much requires much more than providing foodand shelter. It also means creating a network of support for refugee newcomers in Indianapolis their new home city. A warm offer of friendship and support makes all the difference to these new neighbors. Sharing your experience and a helping hand that expects nothing in return is a rewarding and enlivening opportunity for all. Volunteer opportunities at Exodus include helping to provide refugees with needed services while giving volunteers the chance to learn about other cultures and make new friends.
A United Nations agency wants Kenya to open up a new settlement to accommodate refugees who have flocked the Daadab camp.
The head of the UN refugee agency Antonio Guterres was taken aback by the pathetic state of affairs at the camp, one of the word’s largest, when he visited at the weekend.
“I have visited refugee camps around the world, but I must admit I have never seen people living under such conditions,” he said.
According to UNHCR, the camp initially set up to cater for only 90,000 refugees, has now exceeded the number by nearly five time
‘Poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable of the vulnerable'
The UN refugee agency is still pressing the Kenyan government to accept another group of at least 35,000 people. The other camps are Dagahaley, Ifo and Hagadera.
The situation has been worsened by the current drought in the Horn of Africa region, which is estimated to have affected at least 10 million people across Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia.
“It is tragic that vulnerable families are trapped in limbo, forced to endure appalling conditions while there are fully functioning services right next door. Their basic needs are being ignored,” said Joost van de Lest, head of Oxfam in Kenya.
The number of refugees at the camp continues to increase every day even as it emerges that it is not just the war in Somalia that is pushing them into Kenya — many are escaping the hunger and famine back home.
They arrive in droves, with most of the women and children too weak to walk or even stand.