Sunday, May 14, 2017

CC Project #6 - Vocal Variety - Lessons from Steve Jobs

Call him as charismatic or argumentative …
Call him as a visionary or brutal …
Call him as innovative or idiotic …
No matter what you call him as, you will be right.

Good morning fellow Toastmasters and Guests,

The man that I’m going to talk about is “Steve Jobs”. Steve Jobs once said “People, who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do”. He is a perfect example of this quote. You can derive inspiration and messages for a 100 odd World Championship speeches from Steve Job’s life. Today, I’m going to share 2 significant messages that I learned from his life.

Quality is more important than Quantity, one home run is much better than two doubles

Paul Jobs… the man who adopted Steve Jobs was a good and intelligent car mechanic. His profession was to rebuild old cars. During the weekends, Steve helped his dad in doing some household work like laying fence or building cabinets for the home.  His father was a man of perfection. He refused to use poor wood even for the back of cabinets. He would paint even the back of the fence – the same way that he painted the front side of the fence.

Steve Jobs once asked his dad “Dad! Why are you wasting your time in paying attention to what people couldn’t see?”. His dad looked at him, smiled and said “Son… Yes! Others wouldn’t see it, but I know it’s there. For me to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, the design has to be carried all the way through

This philosophy led jobs to manufacture Apple products with the same care, even in the details that would be invisible to the user. For example, Jobs rejected the designs of the original logic boards inside of the Apple II computer … as the ‘lines were not straight enough’.

“Deciding what not to do, is as important as deciding what to do”

Jobs loved simplicity in design. He honed this when he became a practitioner of Buddhism. After dropping out of college, he made a long pilgrimage through India seeking enlightenment. This is when he got hooked to the principles of minimalism from Zen Buddhism.

He applied those principles in every product that he designed. For example, when you are combining the functions of a camera, a music player, a GPS, a phone and a browser into a device like iPhone, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex.

But, Steve’s motto was to “Simplify!” He said “No” to pretty much everything …

1. Should it have screws – NO
2. Should it have a stylus – NO
3. Should it have a keyboard – NO
4. Removable batteries – NO
5. Pack them with manuals – A BIG NO

The result is what you see in an iPhone.

How did these lessons impact me?

These two messages are related to each other and they stress the importance of quality and saying NO to things. Until very recently, I used to think of me as the “Master of Time Management”.   I’m sure all of you might’ve heard about the example of putting “BIG stones first into the jar and you’ll always find time for the SMALL stones, later”. My time management principles were based on that. I used to categorize tasks as big or small based on the time it takes me to complete the job… and I sequenced them accordingly. However, the drawback in that approach is… you are trying hard to accommodate ALL stones and ALL tasks.

What if you have twice the amount of stones than what your jar can accommodate? You’ll have to say NO to some stones… actually… to many stones. So, these days, I adopt a different methodology in time management. I pick only the 3 stones that are of importance to me… and just do a perfect job in that. Be it the emails that I read/respond, be it the stake holders that I deal with, or be it the activities that I focus on.  I’ll brutally say NO to many. This method has increased my efficiency and performance. It also helps me to lead a very balanced lift.

Fellow Toastmasters and Guests, there are very few people in this world like Mahatma Gandhi who can say “My life is my message”. And Steve Jobs is one of those very few people. Steve Jobs' life is a tale of highs and lows, successes and failures, friendships and rivalries, love and hatred...It has innumerable messages for us to take away. If you’ve forgot everything that I told you today, just remember only these 2 things:

  1. Quality is more important than Quantity, one home run is much better than two doubles
  2. Deciding what not to do, is as important as deciding what to do

I’ve started following them… will you… Toastmasters?