Not another Steve Jobs

No, I don’t want to be another Steve Jobs.  Though there is much one can learn from emulating him. And though I have copied him (often with disastrous effect), I’d rather like to see this become another Apple. I’d like to set this as the objective for us to achieve in the next 3-5 years time.

If we can all discover the Steve Jobs in us. If we can discover our best. If we can help others discover their best. That would be worthy of fighting for. Nothing would bring me greater happiness.

As part of my work, I need to set standards, I need to push for higher standards, I need to insist on the better. Sometimes, this is seen by people as forcing my will on them. Sometimes, it is seen as pigheadedness and a desire to see my ideas prevail. Not so. Nothing dismays me more than seeing people constrained and falling for compromises. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see them blossom to their best.

It is sad that some people don’t see it this way. They’d rather see it as an assault on them. So they hack away in dark corners avoiding confrontation and scrutiny as much as they can.

Perhaps the most valuable contribution by Steve Jobs has been not so much in technological progress as has been in showing the value of not settling for anything less than the best. On the value of work done well.

In a world where people can get paid well for doing little, it is hard to talk about the value of work. Especially when, presenting yourself better and learning to pretend can bring more money. Nobody really cares to listen. Nobody really has the time to do a work well, when so much more can be earned by hustling through. And when there are so many ‘good things’ that can be done with your time.

But what happens when things collapse? When the person who was paying for the shoddy and unproductive work, can afford to do so no longer? As is happening in today’s financial crisis.

It is then that the value of work surfaces as being the most important. It is then that your ability to be of use to others becomes critical to your survival. It is then that your ability to adapt becomes necessary.

Maybe these shifts won’t happen in the next few years (particularly here in India). Maybe no tectonic shifts in technology and society would happen in our working life. But they surely will over time.  Maybe they will hit the next generation. Teaching our children the value of work is the only assurance we can equip them with. And that cannot be done unless we ourselves live that value. It has to become a family tradition. Something that we pass on to the succeeding generation and beyond. Surely change is in store ahead.

Steve Jobs legacy is about the value, of doing things well of putting work before one’s self, of doing work that will inspire. His mostest contribution has been in inspiring people across the world to step up and claim their best.

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