Steve Jobs Biography

When you read about Steve Jobs' life, you realize you should be taking notes because there are so many subtle business lessons woven into his life's story. Apple and Steve Jobs are to be studied, whether or not you have an Android phone or run a Windows laptop. The brand, the products and contributions to the world are second to none, and they (Steve for sure) broke all the rules to get there.

Okay, now I’m really going to annoy some people.  A book review?   A bass fisherman doing a book review?  First he does a DVD, and now we are talking about books?  The horror!!!  No this isn’t a book review, but let me put my Steve Jobs in action:  BUY THIS BOOK AND READ IT.   I give this book an A+.  Great read, very insightful and I found myself laughing out loud reading it.  You have to put yourself in my shoes and take my appreciation for this book with a grain of salt.  Steve and Apple are familiar and resonate with me because the stories and tales in the book remind me so much of my former career, the folks I went to college and high school with, my brother, his wife, and his friends who live in and around the Silicon Valley who are all Standford grads, and the life lessons I’ve become aware of at 34. I have a personal connection to much of what I read about, have been to many of the places mentioned, been part of classic hardware/software/open vs. closed source/ sales vs. techy conversations in my former career, so this book strikes a chord to my soul.

Here is the Steve Jobs Biography I’m referring to:  The Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson

Our Southern Trout Eaters DVD was filmed mostly on a Sony Handycam Camcorder in Standard Definition.  The film was edited on a MacBook Pro using iMovie.   Southern Trout Eaters, to me, is a perfect example of the genius of Steve Jobs.  Making technology usable, and keeping things simple.    A fisherman can create a DVD out of the back of his truck with Steve’s technology.   Besides usability and simplicity, the brand and what is ‘imputed’ by Apple are incredible.  Amazing marketing, amazing design, amazing products coupled with a culture and style that are so Californian.     There are a lot of subtle business lessons woven into this book that I found awesome.  There are no rules in business.  You add the Internet and social networks, and we are literally in the wild west again when it comes many things business.   Steve was willing to “Think Different”, and did, and as that campaign points out, “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, often are the ones who do.”   Swimbait fishing, southernswimbait.com, the Southern Trout Eaters DVD, and my ongoing work are in lots of ways an attempt to think different, fish different, and not align myself with things in the sport that I clearly see as “complete shit”, to quote Steve.

Here are the quotes and points that really resonated with me,  from the book:

  • “Simplification is the ultimate sophistication”  (borrowed from Leonardo DaVinci, but what an excellent quote)
  • “He believed that great harvests came from arid sources, pleasure from restraint,” she noted.  “He knew equations that most people didn’t know:  Things led to their opposites.”
  • Jobs told Egan, as he had a few other friends, about his premonition that he would not live a long life.  That was why he was driven and impatient, he confided.  “He felt a sense of urgency about all he wanted to get done,” Egan later said.
  • Her boss, tried to get her to stay at Goldman, but instead she decided the work was unedifying.  “You could be really successful,” she said, “but you’re just contributing to capital formation.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?
  • The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you’ve cast your lot with the destructive people

My former career selling software with eEye Digital Security taught me some valuable business lessons, but it was the lessons where technology intersected human nature I found most profound.  For example,  eEye Digital Security lost 100s of enterprise accounts back in the early 2000s to Foundstone (which was soon after acquired by McAfee).   The number one reason we lost so many deals to the big boy enterprise clients was because Foundstone had a simple “stop light” on their dashboard where all the information, all the data from all the stuff both our respective tools did rolled up into an aggregate score.  Green = good or secure, Yellow = Caution, you have some security risks that need to be addressed, Red = Alert, major holes and security breaches happening.    We basically vomited up all this information and could tell a customer that a printer on the 3rd floor of their building was running HP-UX that had a known vulnerability, had this IP address,  and all this machine info,  but to the executive, to the enterprise level accounts, they just want to know, hey, are we good bad happy or sad at a very very high level?  Net this stuff out for me.  So what if our printer has a flaw?  What is the worse thing that happens if our HP-UX printer has this flaw exploited by the ‘bad guys’?  How likely is that to happen?  Things our engineers and executives failed to recognize—the business impact of the flaws, not just ability to find the flaws.   I had a prospective client from a very large insurance company in Cleveland ask my team, “So, what does this all mean?”  My engineers and executives couldn’t answer and I knew we were done.    eEye Digital Security has gone on to become a major player at the enterprise account level (ie DoD Wide Contract, how is that for enterprise class comeback?), but those early years were painful, because we had a shot at being a 100-500 million dollar company, going public, and all of us retiring early.   That was not our path though, our path took me and my career  to Atlanta in January 2005.  I caught my first Southern Trout Eater on an 8″ Rainbow Trout Huddleston in March 2005, and that’s where all this started.

Steve Jobs, I appreciate your life’s story and your work.  I’m not sure if I would be on your “A” List or on the list of complete shit, but I sure have been inspired reading your biography.   I want to do incredible things.  I want to do things in fishing, different than how they are being done.  I want my legacy to be what I’ve created and contributed, not what I’ve consumed.   I said it online in a Facebook post recently, I’d like to be an ‘aloha’ version of Steve, less a tyrant, less an asshole, but on the same wavelength of focus and drive to do things in a space that I know and love, and am willing to ‘break the rules’ of traditional fishing (including talking about things like books and music) to get there.

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