After Steve Jobs: What’s next?

By on April 28, 2012 10:48:26 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Draginol

Join Date 03/2001
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I wrote awhile back how the death of Steve Jobs affected me. This is kind of an update on how things have progressed since then.

Now, I don’t consider myself in the same league as Steve Jobs. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the titans of our industry and their force of intellect has been humbling.

Capability aside, certain types of people are motivated by very similar things. We all have our demons.

In my case, I grew up with very little. I never felt I was good enough.  It was just my mom and I in an apartment for much of my childhood. Insecurity was my motivator and “success” was the score card I used to keep those demons at bay.

My first money-making effort was started when I was 6. I made money by taking out the garbage to the dumpster for the neighbors in our apartment building.  I saved nearly every penny. Delayed gratification was something I was pretty good at. When I got to be a teenager, I earned money helping clean mechanized shovels used for sewer repair (I won’t go into any more detail than that).  The money I made with that let me buy my first car, a Chevette which let me get a job further away at the mall selling books. That in turn, got me enough experience to get a job as a proof machine operator at the bank during the Summer when I went to college at Western Michigan University (which I went to because I got a scholarship because of my ACT scores).

In college, for reasons I still can’t fathom, my professors asked me to teach lab classes and sub lecture classes despite my 2.x GPA. When I wasn’t doing that, I was working at Babbages (now owned by Gamestop). I still didn’t have enough money to pay for school so I started my own company making custom PCs called…Stardock.

After I graduated, I ended up focusing on Stardock as it was hard to find my “dream job” because of my 2.x GPA and let’s face it, a small state college doesn’t open a lot of doors. I will admit that I get a pang of…I dunno, envy and personal failure when I see someone who went on to make it big after a stint at Harvard. Having mentors and connections can really make the path easier – or at least, so I’ve heard.

But that’s why I have tended to look to Steve Jobs as a role model. He didn’t have the resources to go to a Harvard, make the connections, build networking skills and seamlessly magnify his inherent talent to reach the pinnacle of success.

Steve Jobs built his success the hard way.

image

Steve Jobs at 40

The hard way, however, includes some sacrifices. Some terrible, sacrifices that in the bigger scheme of things makes one wonder if they’re worth it. Missing out on your kids growing up. But more specific to this particular path, it means building skills and knowledge at the cost of heart breaking personal failures.

And in the end what was it for? Steve Jobs, the CEO of the world’s most successful company was still, ultimately, unable to save his own life. No matter how successful you are, life isn’t just short, its length is often beyond your control.

image

Steve Jobs, at 50 (only 10 years later)

I didn’t know Steve Jobs personally. He was an inspiration from afar. His death made me reevaluate my life goals. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had some level of success.  Certainly not billions like Steve Jobs but certainly far more than I could ever realistically need.  Like I said, Steve Jobs was beyond me in every measurable respect (talent, capability, and level of success).

I know from talking to others that I’m not the only one who used money as purely a score card.  At some point after I graduated I had my own score card  net worth goals. $1M at 25, $10M at 30. $100M at 40. $1B at 50.  But they might as well be just points in an arcade game. The money is largely meaningless since most hyper-driven people never spend even a fraction of what they amass.

I probably would have continued on this trajectory if I hadn’t gotten the wake up call. Two years ago at this time, my typical schedule was 84 hours a week.  That’s 10 hours a day, 6 days a week plus one all-nighter (Wednesdays).  During crunch times, I’d do 15 hours a day, 5 days a week plus 2 all-nighters.  I wish I could come up with some excuse for this other than I enjoyed doing it.  It’s no different than the MMO player who’s trying to power-level their character as fast as they can. Last year I turned 40, so I thought I had “at least” another 40 years, minimum.

But the death of Jobs’ broke me out of that line of thinking.

Now, I’m working 40 hours a week. Well, maybe a bit more but I haven’t done a single all-nighter since Jobs died. It’s very weird having all this…time. I’m getting to know my kids. I’m hanging out with my wife a lot more. I’m getting more involved in hobbies and we’re about to start a charitable foundation this year. It’s a different life.

That’s not to say that I’m retiring. Far from it.  But my life has changed. I’ve been granted a reprieve. Life is short. And as has become clear, no matter how successful you are, you have little say over just how short that life is. It doesn’t change my hero-worship of the visionary aspects and drive of Jobs. Instead, I would like to think I’m looking at his inspiration from a new, broader, perspective than I had before.

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April 28, 2012 10:59:41 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I probably would have continued on this trajectory if I hadn’t gotten the wake up call.

But the death of Jobs’ broke me out of that line of thinking.

Now, I’m working 40 hours a week.  Well, maybe a bit more ...

I'm really glad to hear that, Brad.  It's pretty easy to fall into that particular trap.  Consider what you've accomplished already.  You have an excellent software company (did you ever, REALLY, imagine that would happen?).  You have a family that loves you.  Your company produces great software that is used globally.  And you managed to create an excellent distribution platform and profit from its sale, etc.  In short, you've accomplished quite a bit and will still be able to do that in the future.  But if Elemental 3 (the greatest game on God's green earth) comes out at the cost of the relationship of your family, then, imo, while the world is all the richer, you are a failure. 

Anyway, as always, looking forward to what SD will bring in the future and I'm really happy to hear you've found a better balance. May you and your family's lives be enriched for it.

for you and + 5 day old stale donuts for your staff for not telling us about gal civ 3. 

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April 29, 2012 12:37:02 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Brad....death is God's way of telling you to slow down.....[I kinda like that phrase]....

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April 29, 2012 2:23:54 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Now, I’m working 40 hours a week. Well, maybe a bit more but I haven’t done a single all-nighter since Jobs died. It’s very weird having all this…time. I’m getting to know my kids. I’m hanging out with my wife a lot more. I’m getting more involved in hobbies and we’re about to start a charitable foundation this year. It’s a different life.

That's what life is all about...family and enjoying the fruits of your labor. Seems every year someone comes out with something to "make life better" or "give us all more time" which never really happens...we always manage to use the "extra" time to work more and more and not actually live. Enjoy your new different life.

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April 29, 2012 2:43:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow, posts like this just make it all the clearer that there is a heart behind this CEO, and he isn't afraid to show it.

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April 29, 2012 6:09:56 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

And some wonder why I like being here. Go figure.

Edit before foot in mouth sets in: Not those here....the ones who look at me all crazy like when I try to explain what we're all about.

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May 2, 2012 4:51:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think Steve Jobs led his brainwashed followers ... eh, loyal users through the prickly maze of new and confusing technologies by giving them omens easy to use, white and aesthetically pleasing devices to calm down their agitated minds. Now, when he made his last step into the Great Unknown, what can his disciples honest admirers do but to follow through reflect his great heritage he left behind?

Seriously, though, there were greater innovators in this field, but they are not so accessible by mainstream media and less-technical user base. How about Kerninghan, or Ritchie, most software today is written in some flavor of C{arbitrary symbol here}, why not worship them a bit too? They would certainly deserve it a whole lot more.

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May 2, 2012 2:10:10 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

You are as great as Jobs.  But you have one advantage.  His life to learn from, and you have.  I hope you and your children have a wonderful life together.  I really enjoyed your story (and do not need to know about the sewer shovels!).

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May 2, 2012 9:24:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

But they might as well be just points in an arcade game. The money is largely meaningless since most hyper-driven people never spend even a fraction of what they amass.

Ironic isn't it, I've seen this first hand.  My former colleague was an 80 hour a week guy, wrecked his health, his marriage, everything.  He's a millionaire now, though I'm not sure I'd trade places with him.

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May 3, 2012 3:41:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You need a reason other than money.  What's the use of amassing even higher amounts, hardly spending any of it, and making your life solely about how much money you made?  You don't get to keep it after you're gone.  While you can still have a positive flow-on effect after you're gone if you've made really positive difference to the lives of your family and others you've encountered in your life journey.

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May 4, 2012 10:52:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What come after Steve jobs

 

Other than that: What StevenAus said in his last post. Work-life balance keeps you from degenerating into a kind of Smeagol...

Our CIO works even in morning hours between 1 and 4 and also on weekends. He makes the money while the three women in his life (wife and 2 daughters) spend it.

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May 6, 2012 6:51:34 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Amen.

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May 12, 2012 8:08:57 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Brad remember this.
Both my father and grandfather worked incredibly hard their whole lives.  My father suffered a stroke in his late 50s and my Grandfather died to a heart attack even sooner.  "I will work harder."  Both were medically diagnosed with near perfect health for their age group.  Even the doctor said wow.

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Here is what I learned from them and others.

There are two different types of people in the world.  One type of person is self made.  He worked hard.  He was smart even though he stumbled from time to time.  He learned from his mistakes and became stronger.  He faced adversity with courage.  Why?  Because he had to as someone being disadvantaged in the great scheme of things but only from his own perspective.  When he became very successful he found he was being criticized for his hard won success by a great many different interests.  Some were a collectively common ideological perception while others were much more personal.  Very free economic in nature.

The second type is establishment.  People who dress the right way, go to all the right places, say the right things, go with the right people, kiss the right asses (big emphasis) and so on.  These people are sometimes referred to as privileged but that really isn't accurate half the time.  Early starting capital often tends to come easier with this group.  Very planned economic in nature as it adheres to structure.

Know what?  They don't like each other.  The self made is despised by the establishment because he gets a level of solid stable respect that they will never truly have.  The establishment is made by others and can be unmade twice as quickly by the same party.  The self made sees the establishment as almost unnatural.

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So while you may regret lost time there is still a sense of pride you can take in what you accomplished versus those others that did not have to take the same path in life.  I regret what happened to my grandfather, how he had so little time left to spend.  However, as I grew and looked back, I became proud to have come from such strong men who have served as a great inspiration in my life.

If you are ever confronted by your children about those years lost just remember the story I told you about the establishment and the self made man.  In time when they grow older they will understand and if any feelings were hurt they'll eventually respect and forgive you as long as they know this simple truth.

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May 17, 2012 9:06:11 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

The wisest man in the world once wrote:

"Even a live dog is better off than a dead lion." ~King Solomon

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