Saturday, October 8, 2011

Musings on the Life and Art of Steve Jobs: The Visionary, Pixar Chief and Inspiring Speaker

Believe it  or not, I have been thinking about Steve Jobs for the past few months already.

Partly, it was because of his resignation from Apple that sparked controversy and speculations from various sectors in society causing one analyst to conclude that Jobs' resignation was expected, judging from the fact that his shares in Apple are so much smaller by several millions (maybe billions) from his shares in Pixar.

And then, there was the cancer issue lurking in my mind.

It's hard not to think about it for in his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, he spun a myriad of colorful and heartfelt tales around it.

Maybe it was a little strange even for Stanford's standards at the time to listen to such a glum picture of life.

On the contrary, I thought it was brilliant!

For those few precious minutes, Jobs was able to relay the message  that the "The best way to learn how to live is if one understood death."

This stunning truth can be interpreted in many ways, of course.

For Jobs, he was talking about his battle with prostate cancer and how it fueled the "after life issue" in a more realistic level for him.

                        Courtesy of Stanford University on YouTube

I've re-watched this video a dozen times ever since our senior pastor talked about it one Sunday, a few years back.

Being a lover of speeches, I think it is one of the most poignant speeches ever made in contemporary America!

But  aside from those reasons which I've just stated earlier, another reason comes to mind.

And it is actually related to my toddler's marvel and endless fascination at the Pixar classic cartoon "Cars."

Judging from the countless times we've watched Cars The Movie and Cars TOON MATER'S TALL TALES, I'm continually amazed at how the people at Pixar were able to create a bunch of talking cars into larger-than-life characters so diverse and yet so realistic, I actually felt that I was in an actual car race!

But the movie's charm lies not only in its main characters, Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, which have become a part of the family, but the life lessons one can learn from the movie.

For one, there was McQueen's temporary detour at Radiator Springs which made him not only a better racer but a better "car" as well.

Yes, I would like to teach my son someday that "life's detours are God's appointments to lead you to a more meaningful path."

This lesson is also inherent in Steve Jobs' life. 

When he took calligraphy in college, it looked like he hit a brick wall or something with that unusual decision.

But his calligraphic skills proved to be pivotal in the way he designed the fonts for the Mac, Apple's very successful PC series.

Remember when Apple fired him as CEO?

                                                                  Courtesy of Pixar

If not for that, he wouldn't have bought The Graphics Group from Lucasfilm in 1986 and marvelously changed its direction forever by deviating from hardware sales to cutting edge animation in the form of Pixar! 

And what would Tutapel's life be without Cars? LOL.

On a more serious note, not all of us will be given the chance to be a business magnate like Steve Jobs.

But we can all dream beyond our abilities and resources just like what he did at one time.

Only a few people will have the divine opportunity to witness their dreams' fruition in their lifetime.

Ludvig van Beethoven for instance, only heard the infamous Ninth Symphony (1824) in his head for he was already completely deaf at the time.

As far as King David was concerned, he wasn't able to see the construction of God's temple in Jerusalem, for the Lord didn't allow him so. He was just permitted to gather materials for it and let his son Solomon accomplish the task.

But for Steve Jobs, he was allowed to see the success of his inventions time and time again.

And for that, he is abundantly blessed.

What I would love to teach Tutapel someday is that it really doesn't matter whether you get to see your dream's fruition or not.

The most important thing is to dream, innovate and envision something that will help others and glorify God.

I would also tell Tutapel...

"Expect bumps and bruises along the way, just like what happens when you play your favorite game... 

But 'if you want to improve,' like what the Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, 'be content to be thought foolish and stupid.'

For that's pretty much the destiny of any visionary and innovator slash inventor at one point in his life."


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  1. this is exactly what i have felt when Carl Sagan, 21st century's greatest astronomer and scientist transported... departed.

    and now here comes Steve Jobs. he is a great CEO, a power combination of both a marketing genius and a technology trailblazer.

    i watched the latest Keynote with the iPhone 4s officially and publicly released. and while i am happy about it, i honestly think nobody did a keynote better than Jobs himself.

    so for the technology he envisioned, good luck. for the empire he built, good fortune. for the culture that he inspired, godspeed.

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