When Steve Jobs passed away earlier this month, something inside me broke. I am the same person who finds it difficult adjusting to a serious environment during conferences or funerals. Yet I was affected by SJ’s departure. Yes, I had a bet that I would some day sit across the table and do business with him, Arpit motivated me to shoot for it and the man himself inspires the entrepreneur in me. That day won’t come in this lifetime and that bet didn’t even cross my mind, it was a distant dream. More like an illusion to keep me hungry.
I am not even a longtime Apple user, I bought my Mac last year and never used an iPod other than the clip shaped shuffle in recent times. Unlike many, my connection to Jobs wasn’t because of the products he sold. During the end of my retail days, I made lots of cash on iPhones and iPods as they picked pace in India. I made a iPhone site (just as a hobby) for a friend and that became serious and somehow made money as well, but my attachment to SJ isn’t for the money I made trading products or news about his inventions.
The one time when Jobs made a real impact to me (and he still continues to) was when I first came across his Stanford commencement speech. It shook me, it touched that 15 yr old kid hungry for business on the streets of Crawford market. It gave me the courage to do so much more, break out of the shell and see the world. I have a long long way to go, but the journey is so much more powerful. Every time I listen to his words, it comes out even stronger. Be it not being burdened by others thinking or doing what you love to do. In a short speech he left behind a world of wisdom.
The day news of SJ’s death broke, like millions of others I played that video for myself one more time. And his words hit me harder than ever. It is so difficult and yet so easy to follow your heart. I wouldn’t express myself on twitter or fb as I would do in person, why? Because then I would be a soft target for a long time when it would come to my profession as an editor. Heck, I don’t care anymore … I won’t be killing my own voice.
Something occurred to me today and yet it was nothing new. Rumors suggest that SJ was working for Apple right until his death. That may not be entirely true, but as a matter of fact we know that he resigned from Apple only 6 weeks before his demise. During his Stanford speech Jobs spoke about loving your work, to keep looking for it and measuring life like it was your last day. That’s good to hear during a graduation speech, but you know now that that man meant it. He did it. He demonstrated it to us.
We so happily talk about loving our work. Even show it off. But how deep is that? Asking myself a simple question ‘if these are the final few days of my life what would I be doing?’ is enough to give clarity in any situation. Would I be writing? Retailing? Hosting a Startup Weekend / Saturday? Conspiring the next BCM with Sengupta? Or spending time with long lost friends and family. The answer is for me, but as a CEO, co-founder, employee, freelancer… Whoever you are. Would you be working until the day of your death to make something happen? Do you love the work you are doing?
Also read: Had completely forgotten that I had penned similar thoughts back in 2008. This one might be a relevant read as well “Do What You Love“