Making a Dent in the Universe

steve-jobs

You know you are a geek when you get extreme pleasure in setting up a new device. I was up all night setting up my iPad yesterday and it was really fun. For an ordinary person who uses technology just to fulfill his need, setting up a device is a painful process but not for a nerd like me.

I was already exhausted because of some work I did in the daytime and instead of sleeping and having some rest, all I did was to set up my device. I remember going to sleep only when my eyes couldn’t take it anymore and they were aching of pain during to prolonged staring at the screen.

I know it’s a very typical thing to say but I don’t think anyone at Apple would ever fill Steve’s shoes. Steve Job used to say that we are here to make a dent in the universe, I don’t know if he succeeded in doing that or not but he truly made a mark on our lives and I am very grateful for his contribution to my world.

Advertisements

Connecting The Dots..!

connecting the dots
@ quora.com

I am a technical person, but lately, I have read some of the marketing books by various authors and entrepreneurs. While I was reading the first few books I was like how can I apply all these knowledge. Often I used to get frustrated because there was no way I could apply them right away due to my background. Now that I have finished some of the books, I have started to feel that it’s okay if I am not able to apply these principles right away.

In the history of commencement speeches, the one that Steve Jobs made at Stanford University in 2005 has a unique place. It is by far one of the best commencement speeches ever and if you have not watched it yet here is the YouTube link.

In his speech, Steve Jobs shared that in his college days he was fascinated by the calligraphy course which was taught in the university. The course was not related to him but he took it anyway without ever knowing that it will be of any use. At that time it certainly seemed that it was of no use. The various fonts that we enjoy in our computers are the result of those calligraphy classes but it was impossible to think of its usage when he was learning those skills.

“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. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”
Steve Jobs

I am pretty sure whatever you are learning will be of use in the future, not knowing is actually the part of the game.

Birth Of iTunes

the_virgin_way_-_jacket_image1

I came across an interesting story while reading the book “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership” by Richard Branson, an English business magnate, investor, and philanthropist.

Richard is very fond of pulling up April Fool stunts and he shared many stories which even gave him troubles in doing so. Among those stories, my favorite is the one when he proclaimed in a press conference that his company is going to create a system in which they are going to store all the music of the world and when the system would be ready anyone can connect to it and download free music from it. This was way back in the 80s when there was no cloud, no iTunes, and only cassettes.

Several music companies got infuriated and said that they will sue Virgin Records. The stunt served its purpose and created a lot of hype. Eventually, Richard announced that it was an April Fool stunt and everything got back to normal.

A couple of years later when he met Steve Jobs they had a brief discussion over Richard’s April Fool stunt. Jobs said that it was really a cool idea and worth pursuing too and to which Richard agreed but didn’t do anything about it. Decades later Steve started iTunes (which was actually Richard’s idea) and it eventually put Virgin Record out of business.

Following The Curiosity

On daily basis we encounter various things in our life. Some of the things we find really fascinating and we want to dive right into them, other times we don’t care as it does not interest us, which is perfectly fine.

Sometimes we dive into the things we really like and other times we compromise and say to ourselves that even though it looks pretty interesting, let me refrain from it since I have my own stuff going on and I don’t want to loose focus, which is also very important.

I was listening to Steve Job’s commencement speech and he shared a story where after dropping out of Reed college he started taking calligraphy classes only because he found it fascinating. There was no practical application of it at that time.

But then a decade later when he was designing the Macintosh, it all came back to him and he implemented it all in the Mac.

He shared that looking backwards the message was pretty clear and said, that we can’t connect the dots looking forward and we can only connect them looking backwards.

We should always follow our curiosity because they somehow always  knows what we really want from life.


Faisal

Some Advice From Elon Musk

Today I stumble upon a video of Elon Musk,  who started his carrier with Zip2, a web based company sort of like yellow pages in India, only it was founded way back in 1999 and it was one of first few web based companies in the world. Then he founded/co-founded many other companies which are PayPal, OpenAI, SolarCity, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX.

elon

In the words of Steve Jobs, he is making a dent in the universe.

In the video he was suggesting do’s and don’t to a group of people and I want some his advise to impress upon me forever.

  1. If you need inspiring words don’t do it.
  2. Wishful thinking is innate human nature and the most common flaw in us.
  3.  whatever area you are best into there are chances that you can fail, so its most important that you love what you do, if you don’t like it don’t do it.
  4. It’s very important to like the people you work with, otherwise life would be miserable, (there is no asshole policy at SpaceX).
  5. Dare while you are young and take risks, because you won’t regret it.
  6. Word Super hard; (What does super hard mean?) 80 hours every week.
  7. Seek criticism,  you are wrong, and your goal is to be less wrong.
  8. Never hire for skill, hire for passion.

Thank you,

Faisal

Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Today I completed the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, chairman and CEO of Cable News Network (CNN) and the Managing Editor of Time.

It was really awesome to get to know about the person who changed the world.

Steve Jobs in his early days during his meetings at Apple always used a phrase where he emphasize on making a dent in the universe, people around him were not used to this kind of words but if we see from now he indeed made a dent in the universe and really a big one.

The book has all the aspects of Steve Jobs including his darkest sides. The book starts from the very beginning, where he was adopted by his parents. It was really exciting to know how his love for electronics came into existence and was nurtured by his father.

stevejobsTheir parents told him about the adoption and the realization of being discarded at the birth scarred him and he was very disturbed since the beginning due to this, it was also one of the reasons of his erratic behavior throughout his life.

I was waiting for the moment how Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs’s friendship came into existence because this was one of those moments where Apple was conceived. I truly enjoyed reading about their friendship and the connection between them.

 

Being special was one of the things that was engraved in Steve’s mind since the very beginning, it was a story which he believed into and it was told by his parents. It was one of the reasons why he thought he was above the law and also showed many other traits like this in later point of his life.

He was deeply touched by the idea of enlightenment and wanted it badly since the beginning and to achieve enlightenment he tried many drugs including marijuana and LSD, and he was also very public about it.

His journey to India in search of the guru was really motivating, he was so into enlightenment that he came to India to meet guru  Neem Karoli Baba, but unfortunately he died earlier and Steve could not meet him and returned empty handed,  lastly he found peace in Zen Buddhism.

Steve’s real journey started after he was ousted from his own company Apple in 1985, where he made a series of failures in his next venture called NEXT (pretty  neat huh). It was very astonishing to know the series of events that led Pixar to create an animation movie, and how that turned the table all the way to success, as it was eventually was one of the reasons why we know Steve Jobs now.
He resurrected Apple from its soon to be bankruptcy status when he returned in 1997,  and made a series of changes, many people hated him for that and he ultimately saved the day.

I got to know about the famous “Reality Distortion Field” , it’s a phenomenon which many people use to experience at Apple. Steve had a way to making people think in his way of thinking, he could make people believe into doing the impossible, and many hated him for this. The other side of coin was that Steve so much believed into the things that he talked about that people around him starts believing him, which eventually was the reason we have so many great Apple products.

I was fortunate enough to know about all the challenges behind Apple products i.e. MacBook, iPod, iPhone, iTunes, iCloud, iPad, etc. and i have found a deep respect of Apple products after getting to know about the challenges behind them and the problems they had to go through in creating the Apple products.

 

Steve Jobs had come across a book called Autobiography of a YOGI, by Paramhansa Yogananda, which he found while visiting India, since then he read that book every year. Well that’s not it, at his funeral he made such arrangements that each visitors got a copy of Autobiography of a YOGI, that was his gift to all the people who attended his funeral. If you know me you must have guessed my next book,  that’s right i have already started reading it.

It was really awesome book altogether, if you want to know about a person who has changed almost everything about how we spend our time here, you should have a look at this book, it’s incredible to know about such a person. Indeed there is so much wisdom in books.

Thank you,

Faisal

Why We Should Ship Our Ideas.!

If you have used a MacBook you must be amazed by the dock magnifier. Here is the story of how it came into existence.
The guy who created it was not an Apple employee at first. He developed the application and then started visiting Apple Cupertino office to show it to the guys at Apple.
Since it was really awesome, everybody loved it and he finally reached to a point where he had to show it to Steve Jobs.

Steve had a very bad reputation of looking at somebody’s work and declaring it either shit or awesome.

dock-magnification

This guy was scared of Jobs because of all the things he had heard about him and was deciding not to show it to him and go home, somehow he managed to overcome his fear and showed it to Jobs.

Jobs loved the idea and immediately implemented the feature to the upcoming MacBook . He said there was something missing in the macbook and this is it. This feature is in the MacBook since then.

While it was really a motivating story, I learned that it’s very important to ship our ideas and publish our work, it’s only after that, we would know it’s true potential.
We all have great ideas every now and then but we don’t act upon it. Getting an idea to build something is just the beginning of the process.

Thank you,
Faisal

Book Learning: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: Why We Should Focus

I am learning so much from the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, chairman and CEO of Cable News Network (CNN) and the Managing Editor of Time. In the book Walter has mentioned that Steve’s biggest strength was knowing how to focus.

Upon his return to Apple in 1997 he did so many revolutionary changes that we could not comprehend. Some of them are: completely changing all the board members of the company, shutting down 90% of the projects that was going on at that time and many other changes like that.

stevejobsIt’s true that Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy, and everything somehow look Okay if we see from now. But it was real chaos  at that time, he fired almost 3000 employees and that too with 2 weeks notice only. In the book it has been mentioned very well on how the things were at that time, and it was really horrible.

While everyone was happy to see Steve return to Apple but, a very few people liked Steve as a person because of his nature and personality. Doing these unholy things in the company and that too with a very little support from the people around you is pretty big. It’s like you know people are going to hate you for doing that and you still have to do it because of a bigger purpose.

I remember many times I have been demoralized by my close ones as not to do something and I have not considered it for the sake of them.

We get demoralized by people around us and we feel sad if not supported by our close ones, we should learn this virtue from Steve. It’s not about right or wrong, because being right or wrong is just a matter of perspective and it’s more about what we believe into. It was because he was able to see a picture which other people around him could not see and he didn’t care and he went ahead with his decisions anyways.

Steve was so focused on what he believed in that nobody could shake him, he was in deep trouble because of many other traits that he had, but this was one those which helped him to rise to the top again.

In one of the meetings Steve mentioned “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do”.

Thank you,

Faisal

 

Creating Good Habits

stevejobsCurrently I am reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, who has been the chairman and CEO of Cable News Network (CNN) and the Managing Editor of Time. A great read of course and I am looking forward to complete the book as soon as possible. I would be publishing my review and learning from the book soon after completing the book.

I came across a statement in the book which Steve made on his 30th birthday and I have been thinking about since then:

 Jobs: There’s an old Hindu saying that comes into my mind occasionally: “For the first 30 years of your life, you make your habits. For the last 30 years of your life, your habits make you.”

I am very happy that I have created some very good habits that I am proud of and I am going to continue it till the end of my days.

Indeed we can learn so much from the books, I encourage you to read books as they are one of the very few sources that we have, from where we could learn anytime, Thank you so much Tauseef for recommending the book.

Thank you,

Faisal

Book Review :Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Yesterday I completed the book “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration“,   by Dr. Ed Catmull co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

I have many learning from this book and I have shared few of them in my earlier posts. This book contains the journey of Ed Catmull, since his childhood dream of becoming an animator at Disney till becoming the President of Pixar and Disney both. It was really awesome to see his dream unfolding bit by bit.

One of the major key takeaways from his experiences is that where we are right we can not predict the future all we can do is to hold on to the dream that we have right now and never let it go. There were many times in his journey where he had no idea where his life was going but he had that one dream with him.

However one thing struck me in his journey was that when he did get a chance to work at Disney, he refused, and that story is pretty great too.

creativityIncIn this book he has mentioned that he was always fascinated by people who were doing really great in silicon valley and then collapsed after sometime and he didn’t want it for Pixar hence devoted his life in studying successful people and he has shared all his wisdom related to this in the book, it was really awesome to get an insight from the man behind the greatest animation studio of all time.

Well, I got to know that Pixar was never intended to do animation rather it was a computer graphics company and Steve Jobs purchased it for making high end machines. The journey from a failed computer graphics company to the most successful animation studio is really worth reading.

He has shared most of the things which Pixar studios does while making a feature film and also explains why they have put a particular process in that way. He has written various visualization techniques employed by top executives at Pixar to get through hardship of making a movie. One of the things that he stressed the most was that, ideas can come from anywhere and he also have shared many stories to support that fact.

He has written about the earlier versions of various movies that Pixar have made and I was shocked to know the stories of their earlier versions, because that had nothing to do with the final version (the ones which we saw at the theater), he also describes how important it is to come up with an idea and enhance the idea every single day to make a great movie.

He had a very friendly relationship with Steve Jobs and it was really amazing to get to know his journey with Steve. He mentioned that how Steve got changed in later period of his life and how it had to do with Pixar.

I would recommend this book to people who have a creative job profile or people who want to create something because this book would provide an insight on how to get people to work with you , I would also recommend this book to Steve’s fans because it was really awesome to get to know Steve from perspective of such a close friend.

Thank you,

Faisal