The Truth About Steve Jobs: My Take On the Best-Selling Biography

My wife bought me the Steve Jobs biography for Christmas. I know what you are thinking: Yes, it is only December 23rd , and yes I have already finished the book. I couldn't wait, okay?

I took copious notes, and here is what I learned.

#1: STEVE JOBS WAS A WORLD CLASS JERK .(Actually, jerk doesn’t even begin to explain him.  There is a more appropriate word, which I won’t use, but it begins with “a” and ends with “hole.” )

#2: BEING A JERK IS, MANY TIMES, NECESSARY TO GET ENOUGH PEOPLE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS THAT CREATE WORLD-CLASS RESULTS.

Closely related to this lesson are a few principles in which I strongly believe. Namely:

(a) Talk is cheap – I hate people whose mouth muscles are the strongest part of their body, while their legs muscles  lie dormant. Steve Jobs was definitely not one of these types and he did not permit his employees to be this type either.

(b) Actions speak louder than words – Andrew Carnegie said, “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”  I think Jobs and Carnegie would have gotten along well, if they had lived in the same era.

(c) Honesty trumps kindness, if you want to create meaningful improvement. Too many people are so sensitive that they would rather have people lie to their face, and as a result, have no growth. To me, that’s sick. Apple was a place where brutal honesty was practiced (even forced) and they created better products because of it. If an Apple employee’s work was crap, they heard about it. If their work wasn’t perfect, they would hear about that too. Then, they would begin a journey that would ultimately end with a much better result. BUT, brutal honesty was the start of that outcome.

#3: NOT TAKING “NO” FOR AN ANSWER MAY BE ANNOYING TO EVERYONE WITH WHOM YOU ASSOCIATE, BUT IT ACTUALLY IS THE STARTING POINT OF ALL SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE WORLD.

Henry Ford, once asked his engineers to create a car engine that had eight cylinders. They told him it was impossible. He told them that it WAS possible and to keep on keeping on until the task  was done (if they wanted to stay employed by him). The engineers, not knowing what else to do, kept at the project which they thought was absurd. Eventually, they invented the V8 engine – a mechanical and technological breakthrough at the time. Steve Jobs did the same thing time after time with his employees. As a result, we now have mouses on computers and GUI, personal computers in almost every home, the iPhone and iPad. Sometimes it pays to NOT believe something is impossible.

#4 FOCUS.

In this modern mobile world, we have too many distractions. I have been known to berate someone who texts during a conversation with me and cuss out a driver that is paying more attention to his phone than to the road. It is kind of ironic that Apple created the iPhone, which undoubtedly has created less-focused people, while Jobs was so focused himself. In fact, he was focused to a fault – to the point that he ignored loved ones. But, we can learn from him. We SHOULD learn from him. We should learn the trait of putting aside the unnecessary and pushing forward with the more weighty matters in life – the things that will move us to meaningful goals.

#5 MY FAVORITE PASSAGES IN THE BOOK:


“Here’s to the Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore
them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them
as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world – are the ones who DO!” ~ Apple Computers 

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. 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.” ~ Steve Jobs

MY CONCLUSIONS:

You must read this book if:

(a) You are a business person.

(b) You are an Apple fan and want to know how Jobs was able to create such first-class products.

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Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

I’ve heard some very inspiring words from Steve Jobs since his passing. It’s very sad to me that I didn’t pay more attention to this man when he was alive. Mostly, I knew his technological successes. I didn’t know his philosophies about life. In my opinion, he was braver than most. Much braver than most.

 

 


 

 

“Jesus would not shop at Wal-Mart.” –Brian Bolton. (Luhi Confronts Walmart-Haters Head On)


This post was spurred by the comments of my many friends that hate Walmart. I've read their objections on Facebook and heard them talking about it at social gatherings, but most of their arguments don't make sense to me.

Walmart objections seem to fall into two categories. First, that Walmart will destroy something economically (a small business, city, county, country, etc.)

Second complaint, the horrible dress of Walmart shoppers. I'm not going to even attempt to tackle that one.

I have many thoughts about why I disagree with Walmart-haters, but I wanted to back up my thoughts with data of some sort. So I hit the books.

I looked at both sides of the issue (for and against) and read more studies, opinions, etc than you could ever count. If you want to read some of them yourself, to form your own opinion, I've listed a few of them below (not all of them, though. Too many to list here.)

Harvard Business School – The Real Wal-Mart

The Effect of Wal-Mart Stores on Businesses in Host Towns and Surrounding Towns in Iowa

Impact of the Wal-Mart Phenomenon on Rural Communities

Competing with the Discount Mass Merchandisers

The Economic Impact of Wal-Mart Supercenters on Existing Businesses in Mississippi

How do you deal with the entry of a new Wal-Mart?

Pros and cons of having Wal-Mart stores.

Wal-Mart colapes cites and towns.

Always low wages. Where would Jesus shop? Not Wal-Mart.

The Writing On The Wall – Blog

Some books you can read on the topic are:

The Bully of Bentonville: How the High Cost of Wal-Mart’s Everyday Low Prices is Hurting America by Anthony Bianco’s

The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman’s

QUICKLY, BEFORE I START, I WANT TO MAKE A POINT:

Life is not fair – And trying to make it fair by forcing people via government/laws (at the point of a gun) will only backfire in the long run

Stop the producers and stop the world –

LET’S BREAK THIS WALMART ECONOMIC THING INTO IT’S PARTS, SHALL WE?

OBJECTION #1: Walmart is killing small business.

My original thought when I heard that Walmart was killing small business was, "If small business owners don't know any business strategy beyond 'price' then they are business ignoramuses and they shouldn't be in business in the first place. If they aren't smart enough to compete with Walmart with an angle on service, or creative enough to find a new method of marketing themselves, then please get out of the hell out of the business world." Some of the most successful businesses I know have the highest price, NOT the lowest. Can the small business owner not get past price?

NEXT THOUGHT: Small business has been under attack for over 100 years - way before Walmart was even in the picture. First by the expansion of the railroad which made mail order companies flourish. People no longer were forced to buy from their local shop keepers. They could order via catalog from companies far away- like Sears & Roebuck. (Oh my gosh, just like the internet is doing to small business right now. Who would have thought?) Should we have stopped the growth of the rail road in the name of small business?

Then an extensive road system began to be built along with better and faster cars which made people more mobile and gave them more options. Should we have halted the production of the automobile and an extensive road system in the name of small business?

Then up popped malls. The same argument was debated then, about malls, as is surfacing now with Walmart. Yet small business still continues to live on. Should we have stopped the growth of malls in the name of small business?

Big-box stores were another big objection of small business owners. This story just keeps going on and on.

NEXT THOUGHT: Walmart is NOT the first company to threaten small business. Sears expanded from its mail order roots and started opening stores - becoming the low price leader way back when - putting a strain on small business.

After Sears, JC Penny was the low-price leader.

Can't forget Woolworths.

Then a little later in time the Kmarts came along... now it is Walmart. Quite frankly, most Walmart haters (and other) have a very short view of history. They don't see that the "low-price leaders" can't sustain themselves for too long anyway. It 's a bad business model - long term. I predict that Walmart will follow the path of the Sears, Woolworths, and Kmarts of the world. The will either have to reinvent themselves like Sears, disappear like Woolworths, or dwindle in uncertainty like Kmart.

ARGUMENT #2: Walmart is killing small town America.

Most studies showed that the effects of Walmart on small towns were a wash. The positives balanced out the negatives. For example, in some towns, the grocery stores saw a decrease in business, but the furniture stores saw an increase.

The author of one study echoed my thoughts from earlier in this post. He said small town business needed to change their strategies from price to things such as service, specialization, and maximize advertising.

NEXT POINT: Of all the arguments I read about Walmart shutting down small town America, I could only find one real-world example. The closing of the RCA television plant in Circleville, Ohio. Walmart haters repeatedly gave this same example over and over but no others (that I could easily find, anyway). They seemed to believe that this one isolated incident was all the proof they needed.


ARGUMENT #3: Walmart is Paying Unfair Wages to Its Employees

FIRST POINT: It's not like Walmart has a gun pointed to the head of every employee that works for them.

It's a mutual agreement between Walmart and each employee. They work there by choice. Besides, I don't see any Walmart employees complaining. I know several people that work there who have no complaints.

NEXT POINT: Walmart is not the only company offering low wages. From everything I read, the average start wage there is $8.00 per hour. How do Walmart cashiers compare? Pretty close I think. Look at this post for a cashier at a restaurant chain in my local area.

Here is another example from a furniture store in my local area.


And yet another example from a local ski resort. Seems to me that the very people bad mouthing Walmart, in the name of small business, haven't looked at what small business pays its employees. Hypocritical, don't you think?

NEXT THOUGHT: There is this law called "Minimum Wage" and Walmart has to pay at least that amount. (Of course some people in the U.S. are paid on salary and made to work countless hours and therefore make way less than minimum wage, but that's a whole different argument.)

But back to my main argument, Walmart employees don't have to work at Walmart. They chose to work at Walmart. It is a mutual agreement between them.

ARGUMENT #4: Walmart is killing the U.S. economy.

If Walmart saves a consumer money, thus freeing up a certain percentage of their income that he/she can now spend in other parts of the economy, then how is that going to hurt our economy? Just a thought.

ARGUMENT # 5 The Child Labor Issue.

First off, I want to be very clear that I am against childhood labor. The point I want to make, though, is this. You can't blame Walmart for this. We, ourselves, have done this to the world.

. As a country, we in the U.S. have pushed ourselves right out of being competative for jobs and are propelling the child labor issue with labor unions...

Frivolous lawsuits...

And excessive taxes on businesses.

The cost of running a business in the U.S. is so expensive now that the only way to remain competitive is to find cheaper labor overseas. In my research for this post, I have found example, after example, after example of companies that did not want to participate in child labor, but were forced to because of the cost of business due to the reasons I mentioned above.

In closing. I am open to being wrong about this. Please post a comment if you see an angle on the Walmart issue I have missed. If you see holes in my argument. I welcome your rebuttal. As for now, I am still shopping at Walmart.

Going to the Pediatric Dentist; More Fun Than Disneyland

O.K., going to Dr. Markham, our kids dentist, is not as fun as going to Disneyland, but it is a pretty close second.

They have a full arcade.

A large play house.

And a 60" plasma screen TV with Disney movies constantly playing. Here we are watching Nemo stuck in a fish tank in a dentist's office when...

around the corner, Dr. Markham has a fish tank with a Dori and Nemo. Kind of ...well, funny.

This is McCann making whale sounds, just like Dori.

SIDE NOTE: This girl was watching "Finding Nemo" over our shoulders. Man did she have bad breath! Hope she is seeing Dr. Markham about halitosis. Actually...

What she needs is an Orabrush. Mine works wonders for me, girl. Have your mother go buy you one now at http://www.orabrush.com.

Finally we get to go back. The kids get to wear sunglasses, so the light doesn't blind their eyes.

Dr. Markham checked out Lily's retainers to make sure they are working properly. He was very careful not to touch the cut on her lip.

McCann waited patiently for a dental assistant to tie him an animal balloon.

Balloon tying is a required skill at Dr. Markham's office.

They all know how to do it.

Lily got a snake.

McCann got a monkey in a tree.

In closing, I would like to leave you a special message from Dr. Markham, which you can see in the photo above.

The Lesson I Learned From Rose, the Little Caesars Pizza Girl


 

 

In the video above is Rose. She works at Little Caesars Pizza. Most of the time she stands on the street corner waving their sign to attract customers. I have known Rose for almost 20 years. I don’t know the nature of her condition, but she most definitely has a mental handicap of some sort. Any of my friends that also know Rose will vouch for this fact.

I see Rose from time to time at the store or on the street. Sometimes I give her a ride, because she doesn’t have car.

Like most mentally challenged people, Rose can sometimes be a bit hard to swallow. I have to confess my sins. There are times over the past 20 years when I haven’t wanted to deal with her or hear her crazy stories. I ignored her on those occasions. I would see her and have a knot in my stomach. Do I feel guilty about this? Yes. Have I earned my fire hole in hell? Probably. (Buy I am most likely going to hell anyway, so what does that matter?)

Anyway, despite Rose’s handicap, she has taught me a very valuable lesson. One from which we can all learn. She has a horrible job that most people would shun. In fact, most times I see someone standing with a company sign on a street corner, they are hiding behind it in shame. But not Rose. She gives 100% to her job. She dances and shakes that sign like it’s nobody’s business.

I think we can all learn from that. Do we give 100% to everything we do? Even the mundane, boring, or even embarrassing tasks? We should give our all to whatever we do, and Rose is a shining example of this. May we all learn this lesson and strive to apply it to our lives.

Ten Things I Know For Sure

1. There is always someone smarter, prettier and richer

2. There is always someone stupider, uglier and broker.

3. Talk is cheap.

4. If everybody’s doing it, then it is probably wrong.

5. Family first and always or don’t have a family. Take your pick.

6. The best way to a woman’s heart is to treat her like a queen.

7. The best way to a man’s heart…well, I’m not gonna go there.

8. If you want to truly shock and awe people don’t  go “the extra mile.” Go “the extra ten miles.”

9. There are  ups and downs…always, and in everything.

10. Quality is almost always the better route