Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Valley looses its Icon

Until 2008, I have just heard a little about Steve Jobs, except that he was CEO of a company called Apple which made some cool computers, but never heard him talk. After coming to US, I realized how enormous impact Steve had on technology. When I heard him for the first time delivering the first iPhone keynote speech, I couldn't believe it. Such a passion, so much zeal with tremendous confidence and brilliant demos, it was not just the iPhone. It was his impact that made it the iPhone, still regarded as the biggest change in tech industry. He saw the future in technology, and brought it to life. He made things simple, elegant and sophisticated. People said he was arrogant and rude, which I think is the right attitude for those who never trust, don't want to listen, refuse anything you say or make baseless comments. He pioneered that technology alone was not sufficient but its marriage with liberal Arts make it the complete experience. He taught that design matters, and a good design leads to better user experience as well as easier to manage. Design is not something that how it looks, but it actually about how it works. He understood that products should be designed by starting with the user experience and then figuring out the technology to achieve it. His passion towards his projects was steadfast, and he always tried to remove any hindrances ahead ruthlessly. He hired the best talent,  because if you hire A plus players then they will hire A players, else if you hire B payers they hire C players. He was bold and was never afraid of change, he got rid of floppy disks, disk drives, Adobe flash and adopted flash drives, one click mouse when they were relatively new technologies. In his own words, if the change makes the product better then people would buy them or else they won't and it would all itself work out. His perception towards life is that to not be bounded by the standard age old boundaries, but to poke the walls of life and try to find new directions. Being a hipster who traveled to India for enlightenment, he experimented with life to find new goals and dreams. Often time people asked the end users what they wanted and try to design it, but he believed that people don't really know what they wanted unless you show it to them. Ease to use was the most single factor which made his products popular. He understood the importance of innovation and drove Apple towards it make it the most valuable tech company of all. While other companies relied on making improvements, he envisioned new categories of products and made them a reality. His keynotes were not only entertaining, humorous and exciting by creating huge buzz but also brilliant at marketing. He knew to make people excited about new products is to surprise them with amazing features using skillful presentations. Hence all the details of the products we tightly kept secret until his keynote. Also his humor, mockery and well crafted demos made the event a long awaited festival among the tech world.
   The Stanford speech given by Steve was one of the most inspiring speeches of my life. It changed my perspective towards life. Every day felt important to me, thinking what if today is my last day and whats the purpose of my life. He reminded that life is fragile and death may appear any moment, so never to waste your time in life. He inspired to always listen to our inner voice, and never be drowned in the external noise, as we alone know who we want to become. How anything unforeseen in life can connect the dots in future and make its relevance was astonishing to know. Moral was nothing learnt is unimportant, we don't know its important until the right moment.
Words will fall short to write about him. He was simply the face of modern tech world. I hope that we all will continue to drive innovation as he did to make the world a better place.

His cherished quotes

"When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again."

"Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works..."

"You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology"

"We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us, that’s great, because we need all the help we can get. And if we screw up and we don’t do a good job, it’s not somebody else’s fault. It’s our fault."

"The line of code that is the fastest to write, that never breaks, that doesn’t need maintenance, is the line that you never have to write"

"Sometimes life's going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did"

"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."

"If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today."

"Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent."

"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 other's 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."

"If you live each day as it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right"

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future."

"Focusing is about saying No"

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."