Yes, Please, Try: Think Different

From Stanford University — June 12, 2005:

“Commencement Address” by Steve Jobs

You can never read this one too many times.  With the release of the iPad2 this week — yep, I’m getting me mine, a b-day gift from my incredible wife, as soon as they are back in stock my gift card gets redeemed — I came back for another re-read of Steve’s masterpiece.

Here’s the part that sticks with me, following the theme of my Peter Schneider post from a few days ago where he talks about Krakauer and just how the wheels are usually chewed off the wagon in little bits, not a big bite:

“… 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.”

This is the inverse of Krakauer, which illustrates how a big bang goes bust with a boatload of paper cuts we don’t even feel.  In Jobs’ application, it’s the good that happens when you don’t even know that you are building to it.  The true irony is, with each setback comes opportunity, and with each adverse circumstance, an opportunity for triumph awaits.  This is not rhetoric, it is the reality of creative destruction.  The new grows of necessity, because in the negative there is learning, and in learning there is reward.

Do what you love, reinvent frequently, don’t get comfortable, don’t take yourself overly seriously.  That’s where iPads come from.  Great friendships, too.  And all the memories that make our time together unique, valued, magical.  That time is brief, but our potential unlimited.

Spider-Man and the Creative Process: Worlds at Odds?

From The Wall Street Journal, Speakeasy — March 11, 2011:

“The Many Trials of ‘Spider-Man'” by Peter Schneider

Julie Taymor is a brilliant talent.  So is Peter Schneider.  They have both seen immense success in their careers, and experienced untold ups and downs.  So when Peter chooses to speak publicly on the creative process, he does so with empathy and class.  We want our creative heroes to win, but the odds are just so against the outcome.  That makes the people who choose to accept these tasks all the more vulnerable, and unique.

This passage in Peter’s op-ed particularly grabbed me, it is an analogy well-worth encoding:

“A show does not come off the rails in one day. It is the cumulative impact of many wrong turns. In Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air,” there is a moment when the climber thinks he is going to die and wonders how he got into this awful and dangerous position. Looking back, he realizes that it was not one big mistake of judgment. Instead, it was 10 little decisions that seemed inconsequential along the way but, in retrospect, turned out to have led him into a precarious and nearly fatal situation. At some point, the cumulative impact of all those wrong decisions makes it impossible to regain your bearings.”

I will be picking up on that theme of how small decisions have unseen consequences many times in future thoughts.  It is core to my ethos, and it is extraordinarily real!