Birth Anniversary and Death Itinerary

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By Rajendra Shende, Chairman TERRE, Former Director UNEP, IIT Alumnus

More than his birth anniversary world knows more on his death itinerary. Not many were aware that 24th February was 65th birth anniversary of Steve Jobs . He was born on February 24, 1955. That was the day when a genius avatar arrived on the planet. Calling him ‘co-founder of Apple Inc’ is like calling Albert Einstein as ‘ man that formulated theory of relativity’. These men go beyond the boundaries of rationality . They are not inventors, discoverers or explorers. They are transformers and the game changers .They are disrupters that think differently . With stratospheric vision they literally live on the thin air because their food is ‘reimagining’ the planet.

I was sad and was acutely pained to read that Steve Jobs succumbed to complications from pancreatic cancer on October 5, 2011 . I still think that in reality he succumbed to the cancer of pan-creation rather than pancreas . Pan-creation allowed hi to think out-of-box Doctors could not cure is cancer of pancreas , not cancer of pan-creation. Steve’s was a ‘maddening’ disease.

The disease of ‘addiction to creativity’ is common among those who are true visionary-genius. On top, Steve was a brilliant showman, a focused perfectionist, and a charismatic non-conformist all rolled into one. Add the spices of arrogance to the likes of Albert Einstein and one starts getting the image of Steve Jobs.

I never deducted marks for that haughtiness of Steve’s character . I thought that it is ok for man who was in great hurry. He was in hurry to reach the destination that was unique . Jobs , like Einstein , did not wait leisurely under apple tree for the apple to get ripe and fall. He knew in advance the trajectory of Apple!

“I am thankful for all those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I am doing it myself’ – is the quote famously attributed to Einstein. But it would also go down well with Jobs. That’s what I realised when I read the transcript of interview of John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple on Steve Jobs. Jobs-Sculley was known as a pair, first as “dynamic duo” and later ‘ devastating duo’.

Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 after a long power struggle with the company’s board and its then-CEO John Sculley, Jobs founded NeXT, a company that specialized in computers for higher-education and business markets. Innovations related to designs, visual effects and graphics were the KSFs for Jobs.

His comeback to Apple and the turn-around that he strategized there was well documented inspiring history of modern technological era. He died of respiratory arrest related to the tumor at age 56 on October 5, 2011.

I found the interview of Sculley very transparent and exemplary . Two rival and jealous CEOs could be judged based on how one talks about other. Though the interview has to be discounted for the fact that it is in public domain ( privately the opinions may be more opaque) it is excellent read. It’s rare for anyone, never mind a big-time CEO, to make such frank assessment of their career in public.

Read the transcripts of the interview ( Curtesy Cult of MAC) :

Once you finish reading the transcripts, recall what Steve Jobs said once:

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and even one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it”

After that I suggest take five minutes and talk to yourself!

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