Autobiography in 5 short chapters (via swissmiss)

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost …. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.



There is one very ironic element to technology. With the extensive advances in our ability to be seen and known to the world from only the confines of our computer screen, we risk becoming nothing more than the very thing we peer into.

While technology has and can bring great good, let us not dehumanize the very ones we reach.


— (via quarterlyco)

(Source: omniintelligencer.com, via quarterlyco)


Excerpts from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (part 5)

"We believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off of the iPhone," Jobs declared in an email to a customer. "Folks who want porn can buy an Android." (516)

[In an email exchange with a tech editor,] “You might care more about porn when you have kids,” replied Jobs. “It’s not about freedom, it’s about Apple trying to do the right thing for its users.” At the end he added a zinger: “By the way, what have you done that’s so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others’ work and belittle their motivations?” (517)

[In Istanbul] “It hit me that, for young people, this whole works is the same now. When we’re making products, there is no such thing as  Turkish phone or a music player that young people in Turkey would want that’s different from one young people elsewhere would want. We’re just one world now.” (528) —Jobs

[A note to his wife]
"We didn’t know much about each other twenty years ago. We were guided by our intuition; you swept me off my feet. It was snowing when we got married at the Ahwahnee. Years passed, kids came, good times, hard times, but never bad times. Our love and respect has endured and grown. We’ve been through so much together and here we are right back where we started 20 years ago— older, wiser— with wrinkles on our faces and hearts. We now know many of life’s joys, sufferings, secrets and wonders and we’re still here together. My feel have never returned to the ground."  (530)

"Like many men whose gifts are extraordinary, he’s not extraordinary in every realm," [Powell, Jobs’s wife] said. "He doesn’t have social graces, such as putting himself in other people’s shoes, but he cares deeply about empowering humankind, the advancement of humankind, and putting the right tools in their hands." (544)

[During a conversation with doctors about his own cancer’s progression,] Jobs was his usual feisty self. At one point he stopped a Broad Institute analyst who had made the mistake of using PowerPoint slides. Jobs chided him and explained why Apple’s Keynote presentation software was better; he even offered to teach him how to use it. (551)

[In “Why I Won’t Buy an iPad” by Cory Doctorow:] “There’s a lot of thoughtfulness and smarts that went into the design. But there’s also a palatable contempt for the owner,” he wrote. “Buying an iPad for your kids isn’t a means of jump-starting the realization that the world is yours to take apart and reassemble; it’s a way of telling your offspring that even changing the batteries is something you have to leave to the professionals.” (563)

Dozens of colleagues who Jobs most abused ended their litany of horror stories by saying that he got them to do things they never dreamed possible. (565)


Excerpts from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (part 4)

The second [story during his Stanford commencement in 2005] was about how getting fired from Apple turned out to be good for him. “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.”  (457)

"[Steve] takes 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." (460) —Tim Cook

Even when he was barely conscious, his strong personality came through. At one point the pulmonologist tried to put a mask over his face when he was deeply sedated. Jobs ripped it off and mumbled that he hated the design and refused to wear it. Thought barely able to speak, he ordered them to bring five different options for the mask and he would pick a design that he liked. The doctors looked at Powell [his wife], puzzled. She was finally able to distract him so that they could put on the mask. He also hated the oxygen monitor they put on his finger. He told them it was ugly and too complex. He suggested ways it could be designed more simply. (486)

"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," [Jobs] concluded. The iPad was the digital reincarnation of the Whole Earth Catalog," the place where creativity met tools for living. (494)

In return for speaking at the retreat, Jobs got Murdoch to hear him out on Fox News, which he believed was destructive, harmful to the nation, and a blot on Murdoch’s reputation. “You’re blowing it with Fox news,” Jobs told him over dinner. “… Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society.” (508)

Murdoch and Jobs hit it off well enough that Murdoch went to his Palo Alto house for dinner twice more during the next year. Jobs joked that he had to hide the dinner knives on such occasions, because he was afraid that his liberal wife was going to eviscerate Murdoch when he walked in. (508)


Excerpts from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (part 3)

"Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products, we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. … To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. … You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential." (343) — Jony Ive

[Regarding the colorful iMacs] Ive and his team worked with Apple’s Korean manufacturers to perfect the process of making the cases, and they even went to a jelly bean factory to study how to make translucent colors look enticing. (350)

At another point, when VLSI Technology was having trouble delivering enough chips on time, Jobs stormed into a meeting and started shouting that they were “fucking dickless assholes.” The company ended up getting the chips to Apple on time, and its executives made jackets that boasted on the back, “Team FDA.” (359)

"When we hire someone, even if they’re going to be in marketing, I will have them talk to the design folks and the engineers. My role model was J. Robert Oppenheimer. I read about the type of people he sought for the atom bomb project. I wasn’t nearly as good as he was, but that’s what I aspired to do." (363)

[Bill] Gates [upon seeing the original iPod for the first time] played with the scroll wheel and pushed every button combination, while his eyes stared fixedly at the screen. “It looks like a great product,” he finally said.” Then he paused and looked puzzled. “It’s only for Macintosh?” he asked. (393)

"When I went to Pixar, I became aware of a great divide. Tech companies don’t understand creativity. … And they think that creative people just sit around on couches all day and are undisciplined…. On the other hand, music companies are completely clueless about technology. They think that can just go out and hire a few tech folks. … I’m one of the few people who understands how pro ducting technology requires intuition and creativity, and how producing something artistic takes real discipline." (397) -Jobs
One of Jobs’s business rules was to never be afraid of cannibalizing yourself. “IF you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will,” he said. So even though an iPhone might cannibalize sales of an iPod, or an iPad might cannibalize sales of a laptop, that did not deter him. (408)

His struggle with Apple Corps, the Beatles’ business holding company, stretched more than three decades, causing too many journalists to use the phrase “long and winding road” in stories about the relationship.  (419)


Excerpts from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (part 2)

"I look forward to a great product and I wish him success, but his integrity I cannot trust," Wozniak said [in 1985]. (218)

"Steve’s got it: the power of the tongue and the web of words that catches people up. We were aware of this when we had board meetings, so we developed signals— nose scratching or ear tugs— for when someone had been caught up in Steve’s reality distortion field and he needed to be tugged back to reality." (240) — Alvy Ray Smith

"My view is that people are creative animals and will figure out clever new ways to use tools that the inventor never imagined." (241) —Jobs

Even at a young age Lisa began to realize his diet obsessions reflected a life philosophy, one in which asceticism and minimalism could heighten subsequent sensations. “He believed that great harvests came from arid sources, pleasure from restraint,” she noted. “He knew the equations that most people didn’t know: Things led to their opposites.” (260)

"It turns out that the Americans make washers and dryers all wrong. The Europeans make them much better— but they take twice as long to do clothes! … They use a lot less soap, a lot less water, but they come out much cleaner, much softer, and they last longer. We spent some time in our family talking about what’s the trade-offs we want to make. We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about the values of our family. Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half? Or did we care most about our clothes feeling really soft and lasting longer? Did we care about using a quarter of the water? We spend about two weeks talking through this every night at the dinner table. (276)

"Stop the train, this isn’t going to work," [Steve] told Woolard. "This company is in shambles, and I don’t have time to wet-nurse the board. So I need all of you to resign. Or else I’m going to resign and not come back on Monday." (318)

The “i,” Jobs later explained, was to emphasize that the devices would be seamlessly integrated with the Internet. (338)


Excerpts from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

He countered his boredom by playing pranks. “I had a good friend named Rick Ferrentino, and we’d get into all sorts of trouble,” he recalled.” Like we made little posters announcing ‘Bring your Pet to School Day.’ It was crazy, with dogs chasing cats all over, and the teachers were beside themselves. (12)

"A realm of intimate, personal power is developing— power of the individual to conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested. Tools that aid this process are sought and promoted by Whole Earth Catalog." (58) — Stewart Brand in 1968

Sometimes, to relieve stress, [Steve] would soak his feet in the toilet, a practice that was not as soothing for his colleagues. (82)

But then he gave a resounding compliment. “It’s a start,” he said. (129)

At one point Kare and Atkinson complained that he was making them spend too much time on tiny little tweaks to the title bar when they had bigger things to do. Jobs erupted. “Can you imagine looking at that every day?” he shouted. “It’s not just a little thing, it’s something we have to do right.” (132)

[Regarding IBM,] “… they were a force for evil. They were like ATT or Microsoft or Google is.” (136) —Steve Jobs

Said Hertzfeld, “Steve swallowed his pride and thanked them for disobeying him and doing the right thing,” It was, after all, what he would have done in their situation. (147)

Jobs confided in Sculley that he believed he would die young, and therefore he needed to accomplish things quickly so that he would make his mark on Silicon Valley history. “We all have a short period of time on this earth,” he told the Sculleys as they sat around the table that morning. “We probably only have the opportunity to do a few things really great and do them well. None of us has any idea how long we’re going to be here, nor do I, but my feelings is I’ve got to accomplish a lot of these things while I’m young.” (155)

"You’re ripping us off!" [Jobs] shouted. "I trusted you, and now you’re stealing from us!" Hertzfeld recalled that Gates just sat there cooly, looking Steve in the eye, before hurtling back, in his squeaky voice, what became a classic zinger. "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." (178)


Excerpts from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

The next bunch of posts will be my favorite excerpts from this book. Enjoy!

"We say we’re stubborn on vision and flexible on details."

— Jeff Bezos on Amazon, in Wired