"...keeping you great"
These overnight successes sure take a hell of a long time.
Steve Jobs, co-founder Apple
Maybe the Biggest News of the Decade ...at least business news. Here's a link to Steve Jobs' resignation letter written to Apple's board of directors - always best to get the message first hand. The letter is simple, direct, heartfelt - the essence of Steve's approach to work and life.
Last Child in the Woods -- this is what I was going to write about before the news about Steve resigning. But I believe the topics are related - hang in there with me. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv was recommended to me by a teacher I met in the jungles of Panama. I was there a couple weeks ago with my sons, making preparations to build a retreat center next summer (looking for fathers and sons willing to come down and help out for a week or two at a time in the jungle next summer - more on this later).
What We Should Say to Children -- anyway, I asked the teacher to summarize the essence of the book in a sentence. What she shared was profound. Instead of telling children every time they go outside (especially to play in a jungle) to "be careful"; the book recommends we should tell them to "pay attention" in all the various meanings this implies. Prepped properly for our 7 hour hike through the deep jungle to isolated villages, rivers, and waterfalls, paying attention vs. being careful is a critical mind shift if you're going to enjoy and benefit from the journey.
Are you Paying Attention vs. Being Careful -- from what I know about Steve and the short time I spent with him decades ago, he has an intense ability to pay attention and thus see things the untrained eye will miss - something his time in India helped to hone. By paying attention, Steve is able to pursue paths others might perceive as highly risky; like hiking through an untamed jungle, Steve has cleared entirely new paths we didn't know existed.
Dennis Crowley -- founder of Foursquare, Crowley is still my choice for Steve's replacement. Tim Cook, Apple's new CEO, can get the product out the door, but who will tell the story that gets people to pay attention. As this Aug 8 Ad Age article details, Crowley is first and foremost a storyteller - probably one of the greatest storytellers of his new generation -- a story that has created a company worth $600 million in two short years. This is a guy intensely paying attention to people and what they really need -- and creating marketing tools the likes of Pepsi and American Express have embraced. Take three minutes to read about the next Steve Jobs.
Tell to Win -- THE book that emphasizes and teaches the importance of "the story" is Peter Guber's book Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story. The former Chairman of Sony Pictures and producer of such hits as Rain man, Batman, and Gorillas in the Mist, Guber understands the importance of storytelling. Check out Guber's website where he interviews Magic Johnson, Pat Riley, and others on the power of the story.
Power of PEC -- Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, in his Amazon review of Guber's book, "From an early age, Peter Guber seems to have intuitively grasped what I slowly learned over my entrepreneurial adventures, which is that the most profitable companies are those that form personal, emotional connections (which we internally refer to as "PEC" at Zappos) with customers. In Tell to Win, Guber shows how the stories we tell -- about our companies, our products, and ourselves -- are what elicit people's emotional reactions and drive word of mouth." It's a book I couldn't put down, from the opening story to his closing remarks. I'm hoping to get Guber at a future Growth Summit - and get Gazelles' story right.
Best of Luck Steve -- and thanks for paying attention.