Steve Jobs as Hero (a Personal Reflection)

My brother Greg texted me, “Steve Jobs died?” immediately after it was announced. A quick check of Twitter and confirmed the news.

I mourned. I submitted my own several tributes to my Twitter and Facebook followers. I read everyone else’s. I kept tabs on which news outlets updated their home pages fastest. I read all the news stories. I stared at my iPhone for hours, refreshing Twitter, reading blogs. I stared into the eyes of the man whose portrait was on Apple’s homepage. I was in shock. Later that night I wrote a post on why my company Blue Ocean Ideas would not exist without Steve Jobs.

The next morning I cried. This was confusing until I realized exactly why I was sad: I was scared.

As soon as I thought about how fundamentally different (read, worse) my life would be if there never was Steve Jobs, I became afraid at how my life might not improve now that there is no more Steve Jobs. I know this is practically unreasonable, but it was the emotion I was feeling… and still feel.

With Steve Jobs in the world, I knew that something great would come. Essentially Steve had given me a promise of hope, and he always delivered on that promise. I trusted him. More than Apple the company, I trusted that Steve the man would make the world a better place. I trusted he would make my life better, too.

And, with every keynote sermon, Steve kept making it better, over and over again. He had the position and the talent to hold out this hope. Who else can do this? Who else will protect me in the ways that Steve did?

I hope we don’t forget the magic – everything we take for granted now: the touch screen, the predictive typing, the mouse, the iWhatever software, the fact that there are different fonts on a computer, music in my pocket. Do you remember your first time with those things? It was magical!

So, we wait for the next magician. We can be sure he won’t be anything like the last one. There will just be another name in the list of Gutenberg, Da Vinci, Galileo, Edison, Jobs.

While we wait, let’s remember the other magic we take for granted. The sunrise. Conception. Stars. Laughing. These are cliché things, but so is the iPod these days.

I miss Steve. I’m afraid of a future without Steve. But, perfect love casts out fear. Ironically, none of Steve’s technology can offer the very thing I need in light of his passing: love.

A collection of the best tributes I’ve seen is below. I encourage you to read them all.

  1.  “Steve Jobs, the Secular Prophet” by Andy Crouch – a stunning piece examining the “meta” look at Steve’s impact on culture
  2. “RIP Steve. Thanks for Everything” by Tracey Halvorsen – a personal reflection on Steve’s influence in her life and work
  3. “The Night the Lighthouse Went Out” by Simon Sinek – a short article about Steve the inspirer
  4. (and for those interested) “Blue Ocean Ideas Would Not Exist Without Steve Jobs” by me – a survey of Steve impact, including my favorite quotes



“The One Minute Sales Person” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. & Larry Wilson – Summary & Review


Take the time to focus on: purpose, people, an the most beneficial parts of what you do.

Selling is always about helping people get what they want.

During the sales process, 1. imagine success, 2. build trust, establish need, show how you help, and find if there’s urgency, and 3. ask for referrals.

To establish need, ask “have” questions and “want” questions. What do you have now? What do you want? Establish the gap between the two and see if you can fill it.

Follow up with your clients often to make sure that what you sold them is actually helping them. This follow up reminds them of this help, and more importantly, allows you to fix things if they need to be fixed. Either way, you’ll be earning referrals.

It takes time to remember to do this and to actually do it. But it’s valuable.

Also valuable is taking the time to figure out what is most valuable – and then doing only those things. I’ll often think I need to do everything that’s worth doing, when in fact, I need to isolate the best of what should be done and do only this.

What I Learned (Or Was Reminded Of)

Being intentional with my time is a sure way to feel like I’ve accomplished what I meant to instead of feeling like I just need to keep going to do more. Focus. The emotional and physical results of this (completing strategically decided-upon tasks) are immense and stress-killers. This rest and focus can, in turn, help provide clarity in deciding the next set of actions to take to maintain the cycle.

Other Major Points, Whether I Agree with Them or Not

  • Take special note of when you do something right – even approximately right. Don’t just see what you’re not doing, or not doing well.
  • Goals begin behaviors. Consequences maintain behaviors.” Likewise, I need to self-manage myself to have consequences for my behaviors. Specifically, I ought to try to create a positive feedback loop for the things I do that I like.
  • Do the most important stuff.


The Search

  • [my margin note: selling is a transfer of emotion = inspiration]
  • “Marketing… was about doing research to learn what people wanted, creating the products and services that people wanted, pricing them competitively, and then making it easy for people to buy.”

The One Minute Sales Person

  • “Behind every sale is a PERSON”
  • “…start helping other people get what they want.”

Selling on Purpose

  • “What would you think of a person who sat in front of a cold stove and said, ‘As soon as you give me heat, I’ll put in some wood’?”
  • “…first fulfill their purpose and then they will make money.”
  • “…people  go on chasing goals to prove something that doesn’t have to be proved: that they’re already worthwhile. Of course, goals are very important in helping us get what we want. But too often we run around using them to get what we already have—our worth.”
  • “…the Tombstone Test…can help you figure out your purpose. … What would I like to have written on my tombstone?”
  • “The fastest ways to achieve your goals…is to stay on purpose.”
  • “…with a product or service you believe in, selling is inherently purposeful.”
  • “…it comes down to caring about your customers…”
  • [my margin note: It’s not what you say. It’s not how you’re saying it. It’s why you’re saying it.]

The Key Minutes Before the Sale

  • “…take a minute…to see the entire encounter running smoothly from beginning to end…The One Minute Rehearsal.”
  • “The first part…is A Walk in the Other Person’s Shoes—seeing things from his side. The second part is The Advantages—how the features of my product combine to solve his problem. And the third part, as corny as it may sound, is The Happy Ending—seeing the other person using and benefiting from what he buys—and feeling good about it.”
  • “Before I can walk in another person’s shoes, I must first take off my own.”
  • “…the key hero of your rehearsal is the other person.”

The Key Minutes During the Sale

  • “…people hate to be sold, but they love to buy.
  • “…people resist any salesperson.”
  • “People buy for their reasons, not ours.”
  • “Sales people exist to help buyers buy. But if buyers don’t trust the sales person, don’t feel a need for our service, don’t believe the product offers more help than a competitor’s, and aren’t in any hurry to buy, they won’t accept our assistance.”
  • “To help people feel trust, I remember my purpose.”
  • [example:] “Sir, in thinking about this call it occurred to me that most of the people I’ve worked with on the past have had some questions they wanted answered before we ever got started. They wanted to know the purpose of our getting together, the process they could expect if they chose to look into our service, and finally their payoff for the time they might invest with me. If those questions have crossed your mind, I’d like to answer them.”
  • **”I ask ‘have’ questions like ‘What do you like most about what you already have?’ And then ‘want’ questions like ‘What do you want that you don’t have?'”
  • “…I take a minute to summarize the key points, repeating them back to let them know I’ve listened and understood…I very clearly point out the difference between what they’ve got and what they want…”
  • “…tell them about another person, much like themselves, who benefited from buying what I have to offer…”
  • [my margin note: social proof, 3rd party story]
  • “…mention…specific feelings my customer wants and that another person experienced…”
  • “People don’t buy our services, products, or ideas. They buy how they imagine using them will make them feel.”
  • “If he feels he doesn’t have a need, I get out of the person’s office. I never create a need, since that is not in the other person’s best interest. It would also rob me of eighty percent of my time and get only twenty percent of my results.”
  • [my margin note: Do I agree? Create demand?]
  • “…it’s the other person’s fear that is the cause of ‘no hurry.’ The idea then is to suggest a course of action that will result in maximum opportunity for them to gain with the minimum risk.”

The Key Minutes After the Sale

  • “…the key minutes in a sale and the most important work I do come after people buy from me. These minutes pay the highest rewards.”
  • “…people don’t just do [referrals] for you, but because it makes them feel good to help their friends.”
  • ** [my margin note: DO THIS] “After people have bought, I telephone them several times. I let them know that the purpose of my calls is to find out if they are enjoying and benefitting from using what they bought from me.”
  • “After I’ve praised them, I tell them about a gift that I’m sending them. Usually it’s an inexpensive feature they could have bought but didn’t…”
  • “Then I ask them if they know other people who would appreciate my help.”
  • “What if the news is bad after the sale and things aren’t working?…First, I don’t see it as bad news. … It’s only information. …any information I get get gives me an opportunity to help…”
  • “These bad experiences usually provide my best referrals later.”
  • “After the Sale: A Summary
  1. I contact people after the sale to be sure that people are feeling good about what they bought and about themselves for buying.
  2. If they are not happy, I take the opportunity to help make things right for the other person.
  3. When they are pleased, I praise their buying decision and specifically point out something the did that helped that action come about.
  4. I exceed their expectations by providing some form of added value.
  5. When they are feeling good, I ask people for active referrals. I ask for the names of people they know whom I can contact, using the buyer’s name as a recommendation.”
  • ** “I frequently follow up to make sure people are actually feeling good about owning what they bought from me.”

Self-Managed Selling

  • “When people see that they are doing something for themselves, they are more apt to actually do it—and without being constantly managed.”

My One-Minute Sales Goals

  • ** “…about twenty percent of what I do during the day gives me about eighty percent of my payoff. // So, the first thing I do is sort out what that important twenty percent is , and then I concentrate only on that. I choose not to do the eighty percent—the unnecessary.”
  • [my margin note: important lesson for me. selling is not binary. (some is worth more than others)
  • “We become what we think about.”
  • I look at my goals. I look at my behavior (e.g. my appointments). I see if my behavior matches my goals.

My One Minute Praisings

  • Goals begin behaviors. Consequences maintain behaviors.
  • “The better I feel about myself, the better I work.”
  • “I’m afraid I spend too much of my time catching myself doing something wrong. Like thinking of what I could have said during the sale but failed to, or how I should be making more cold calls, or…”
  • “As soon as I realize I’ve done something I like, I tell myself specifically what I did right. …approximately right.”

My One Minute Reprimands

  • “You never reprimand your self. You reprimand only your behavior.”
  • “Do you want someone else to manage you? … Or do you want to manage yourself?”

The One Minute Sales Person Explains

  • [my margin note: Be Aware. Be Intentional.]
  • “One Minute Goals help reduce anxiety, one of the greatest causes of stress. Anxiety is simply fear of the unknown.”
  • “One Minute Praisings—catching yourself doing something right—reduce stress because they reduce fatigue.”
  • “…One Minute Reprimands…clear away your own obstructive behavior. …you rid yourself of a major source of stress.”
  • You don’t make the sale. They do.
  • ** “The didn’t sell a product; they sold what the person really wanted.”
  • [my margin note: This principle can be abused in advertising.]
  • ** “…you remember that effective ad because you have been thinking about what really works for a long time.”

A Gift to Myself

  • “…he didn’t experience the daily emotional and physical stress other people subjected themselves to. // He was living and working On Purpose.”

I Hope I Never Feel Successful


My wife, Lisa.

I hope I never feel successful. Let me explain.

My wife Lisa is one of the most healthy and in-shape people I know. When she goes to the gym she’ll see other women hitting the weights and she will feel like she’s not really that strong. “I mean, look at those chicks over there. I’m so weak.”

Last week at work, Lisa was carrying three boxes down a hall way. As she tells the story, someone asked her if the boxes were heavy. Lisa said, “No, they’re not heavy.”

Later in the day, the person asking about the weight of the three boxes had difficulty lifting even one.

Lisa’s strong. But she doesn’t consider herself strong. It’s not a “look at me” strong. This is only because she subjects herself to the influence of people who are better than her.

I run a small creative agency called Blue Ocean Ideas. It’s very easy for me to look around at all the big agencies, all the great speakers, all the amazing designers, all the compelling authors, all the tech startups, all the people that get a lot of press, all the bloggers, all the cool kids, and say, “I want that. I’ll be successful when I have that.” Sometimes this can depress me. Other times it inspires me.

Whether it’s Lisa going to the gym and being around people stronger than her, or me following guys on Twitter who are doing inspiring things with their careers, this is how we push ourselves. We can position ourselves to not see ourselves as the best. It makes us better.

If I put myself in the position where I always felt great about who I was and what I do, I would being doing a huge disservice to those around me, especially my clients. My clients get the benefit of me subjecting myself to the leadership and influence of people better than me.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I think that only as I continue to feel like I have no business doing what I’m doing (I mean, look at that guy! He’s awesome! Who would want to hire me?) will I have any chance at being good at what I do.

And by the time I get to where I want to be, I’ll be staring at another mountain.

I’m ok with never feeling successful. I hope I take the time to glance backward – just ever so often – so I can at least feel progress and contentment.


“The Dip” by Seth Godin – Summary & Review


The Dip by Seth Godin

The Dip by Seth Godin


Quit often. It frees up time and space to do the things that you shouldn’t quit.

Don’t quit the things where you can become the best in the world at something. The “world” is however nichey you want it to be. But be the best at it.

Count the cost. Decide early if something is worth doing because you have to be prepared for the struggle. The struggle is inevitable if the thing is worth doing. Just make sure your ready for it. Expecting it can help get through it. This struggle is called “the Dip” and the ones who get through it are the ones who lean into it in the first place.

Additionally, make sure you decide up-front when you’re going to quit. And don’t be afraid to quit. Don’t let being in the moment decide whether you should quit or not.

What I Learned (Or Was Reminded Of)

Zig Ziglar says, “Failure isn’t a person, it’s only an event.” While “The Dip” is certainly not a self-help type of book, it was very encouraging in how it encourages you to keep going.

As an entrepreneur, I can tell you this is very, very hard. The inclination to quit comes and goes at various intervals. The worst part is not knowing how to address that emotion.

This book gave a context for deciding when to quit. I feel more ok with quitting than ever before. I also feel less of a desire to quit than ever before. Zig Ziglar also says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you’re good at it.”

The harder anything is, the fewer people will do it. This means that the ones who do will have more value to add to the world. Don’t be afraid of adversity. Embrace it. Get through it. Just don’t give up in the middle of it. Give up sooner if you’re going to give up.

Reading this book was even more delightful trusting that a sovereign God is in the mix of this mess that we all fight through.

Other Major Points, Whether I Agree With Them Or Not

There is surprising value to being #1. Of all of the various ice cream flavors, vanilla is the top-seller, and its sales are drastically higher than even the second most popular flavor, chocolate.

What I Underlined

  • “Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.
  • “Anyone who is going to hire you, buy from you, recommend you, vote for you, or do what you want them to do is going to wonder if you’re the best choice. Best as in: best for them, right now, based on what they believe and what they know. And in the world as in: their world, the world they have access”
  • “…each micromarket still has a best…best in that world…”
  • [cartoon] “Only talented people fret about mediocrity.”
  • “In a free market, we reward the exceptional.”
  • “The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery…that’s essentially a short cut.”
  • “Scarcity, as we’ve seen, is the secret to value. If there wasn’t a Dip, there’d be no scarcity.”
  • “…lean into the Dip.”
  • [margin note: AKA “The Resistance” (War of Art)] in reference to: “If It Is Worth Doing, There’s Probably a Dip”
  • “…facing either of these two curves [The Cliff, The Cul-de-Sac], you need to quit. Not soon, but right now.”
  • “What’s the point of sticking it out if you’re not going to get the benefits of being the best in the world?”
  • “And if you don’t have enough time and money, do you have the guts to pick a different, smaller market to conquer?”
  • [cartoon] “If it doesn’t cost you your life, it isn’t a quest.”
  • “It wasn’t until Butch and Sundance faced certain death that they escaped.”
  • **”In a competative world, adversity is your ally.”
  • “When Jack Welch remade GE, the most fabled decision he made was this: If we can’t be #1 or #2 in an industry, we must get out. // Why sell a billion-dollar division that’s making a profit quite happily while ranking #4 in market share? Easy. Because it distracts management attention. I sucks resources and capital and focus and energy. And most of all, it teaches people in the organization that it’s okay to not be the best in the world. // Jack quit the dead ends. By doing so, he freed resources to get his other businesses through the Dip.”
  • “…the wind is unpredictable…every single function of an organization has a wind problem.”
  • “The reason people bother to go windsurfing is that the challenge makes it interesting.”
  • ***”The Dip is the reason you’re here.
  • “***”A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”
  • “…you do a minute or tow of work for no reason other than to tire out your muscle so that the last few seconds of work will cause that muscle to grow.”
  • “…you quit using your muscles before you reach the moment where the stress causes them to start growing…because an exhausted muscle feels unsafe–and it hurts.”
  • “Unsuccessful trainers pay exactly the same dues but stop a few seconds too early.”
  • “If the journey you started was worth doing, then quitting when you hit the Dip just wastes the time you’ve already invested.”
  • ***”Simple: If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start.”
  • “Not only do you need to find a Dip that you can conquer but you also need to quit all the Cul-de-Sacs that you’re currently idling your way through.”
  • “Being better than 98 percent of the competition used to be fine. In the world of Google, though, it’s useless. It’s useless because all of your competition is just a click away, whatever it is you do. The only position you can count on now is best in the world.”
  • “One of the underpinnings of the Dip is the pyramid…people at the bottom support the guy at the top.”
  • “…lots of people sign up for a health-club membership (having a lot of members lets the club keep the rates reasonable)…very few people actually come frequently after they join.”
  • [cartoon] “[pawn:] ‘The harder I work, the sooner I get to be king!” [King:] “The harder he works, the longer I get to stay king!”
  • “The pain (and the waste) comes when the optimists have to make the hard choices when they get stuck in the Dip.”
  • “Why not quit? Same reason as always…it’s easier to stick with something that we’re used to…”
  • “It’s about the story you tell yourself. You grew up believing that quitting is a moral failure.”
  • “…Declaration of Independence warns us, “all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which the are sccustomed.”
  • “I’d rather have you focus on quitting (or not quitting) as a go-up opportunity. It’s not about avoiding the humiliation of failure. Even more important, you can realize that quitting the stuff you don’t care about or the stuff you’re mediocre at or better yet quitting Cul-de-Sacs frees up your resources to obsess about the Dips that matter.”
  • “Worse, when faced with the Dip, sometimes we don’t quit. Instead, we get mediocre.”
  • “When faced with the Dip, most people suck it up and try to average their way to success. // Which is precisely why so few people end up as the best in the world.”
  • **”…you have only two good choices: Quit of be exceptional.”
  • “…sticks with a consistent theme, showing up, paying its dues…”
  • ***”Most people are waiting for the tested, the authenticated, and the proven.”
  • “…(you must) quit a product or feature or a design…you mustn’t quit a market or a strategy or a niche.”
  • “Your strategy—to be a trusted source in your chosen market—can survive even if your product is canceled.”
  • “The Opposite of Quitting Isn’t ‘Waiting Around’…the opposite of quitting is rededication. The opposite of quitting is an invigorated new strategy designed to break the problem apart.”
  • “…someone with nothing to lose has quite a bit of power.”
  • “He wasn’t bluffing.”
  • “No One Quits the Boston Marathon at Mile 25”
  • “Winners understand that taking that pain now prevents a lot more pain later.”
  • “If You’re Not Going to Get to #1, You Might as Well Quit Now.”[cartoon] Short-Term Panic –> Long-Term Gain –> Short-Term Panic –> Long-Term Gain –> Short-Term Panic –> etc., etc.
  • “Quitting is better than coping because it frees you up to excel at something else.”
  • “Are you too proud to quit?”
  • “If pride is the only thing keeping you from quitting, if there’s no Dip to get through, you’re likely wasting an enormous amount of time and money defending something that will heal pretty quickly.”
  • “The best quitters…are the ones who decide in advance when they’re going to quit.”
  • ***”Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google, told me, “We knew that Google was going to get better every single day as we worked on it, and we knew that sooner or later, everyone was going to try it. So our feeling was that the later you tried it, the better it was for us because we’d make a better impression with better technology. So we were never in a big hurry to get you to use it today. Tomorrow would be better.”
  • “Measurable progress…needs to be more than…just “surviving is succeeding.…surface new milestones in areas where you have previously expected to find none.”
  • “Quitting Before You Start // Here’s an assignment for you: Write it down. Write down under what circumstances you’re willing to quit. And when. And then stick with it.”
  • [quote from ultramarathoner Dick Collins] “Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to stop and drop out. You don’t want to be out there saying, ‘Well gee, my leg hurts, I’m a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy, I’m tired, and it’s cold and windy.’ And talk yourself into quitting. If you are making a decision based on how you feel at that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision.”
  • ***”If quitting is going to be a strategic decision that enables you to make smart choices in the marketplace, then you should outline your quitting strategy before the discomfort sets in.” [margin note: Execute w/ nothing to lose until this point.”
  • “The lesson is simple: If you’ve got as much as you’ve got, use it. Use it to become the best in the world, to change the game, to set the agenda for everyone else. You can only do that by marshaling all of your resources to get through the biggest possible Dip. In order to get through that Dip, you’ll need to quit everything else. If it’s not going to put a dent in the world, quit. Right now. Quit and use that void to find the energy to assault the Dip that matters.”
  • “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”
  • “All our successes are the same. All our failures too. // We succeed when we do something remarkable. // We fail when we give up too soon. // We succeed when we are the best in the world at what we do. // We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit.

Performing “Add to the Beauty” with Jeremy Casella


Our Honeymoon to Paris – (Music) Video Recap


Lisa Bond & Brody Bond – Wedding – October 10, 2009

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