be different–what i learned from steve jobs

this is likely my tribute to steve jobs post.  it originally was going to be a post about acting and thinking differently, but based upon the events of this week and some reflection, it seems more appropriate to also serve as a what i learned from steve jobs post.  my mom and steve jobs could not be more different, but one thing that both did was embraced individuality.  when i was growing up, my mom dug her heels in about causes and issues she was passionate about – the equal rights amendment is my favorite example.  my mother believed in this cause so much we did not vacation in florida because they had not ratified the equal rights amendment (nevermind the fact that illinois hadn’t either).  as a teenager my mom correctly labeled me “a follower” and in many ways that continues to this day.  my mom also pointed out to me in trying to follow my peers a lot of times i sacrificed my individuality.  i thought about this recently as i have been asked to follow some rules at work regarding disclosure and have come to the conclusion that i will be following what has been asked of me from the windows leadership at microsoft (more on that – or actual why there won’t be more on that – later).

in many ways i am very unique.  as an adult male i could care less about sports and this doesn’t make me unique but sometimes feels like i might be the only one who has no idea what others are talking about.  i made a decision in college not to get my ear pierced even though most of my unique friends did (i went through some crazy haircuts, but no ear rings, piercings or tattoos) because i didn't want to and if everyone else did, i was the one that didn’t.  i also decided not to drink.  i don’t have a problem with people drinking and in many ways my personality humor and quirkiness sometimes are easier to deal with after a few drinks, but i don’t like the taste of alcohol – why try and change that?  this is probably the decision that has made me stand out the most for the majority of adults i work with, but has the added benefit of the designated driver.

there are other examples i thought of and a couple involve my employer and tie into my tribute to steve as well.  for the past six years i have been employed by microsoft.  after my first year when it was time to replace my personal computer, i decided to make one of the most unique decisions i could considering my job as a life long windows user – i bought a macbook pro.  granted for a couple years i ran windows on it, but i had my first apple product and began to learn their os.  i bought a second desktop system to learn how to network, share, troubleshoot and restore the computer.  running windows on a mac doesn’t make me unique, but it certainly sets me apart.  i also rarely use powerpoint.  it’s not that i don’t know how, it’s that everyone at microsoft uses powerpoint and if you have ever spent an extended time in meetings being “powerpointed to death”, hopefully i was not involved.  minimizing use of powerpoint on windows or the mac isn’t my best example – it’s my new keyboard.

this summer i learned to touch type on the dvorak keyboard layout.  it has easily set me apart from everyone i have ever met except one person – mike hammond (who gave me the idea years ago).  i do a lot of demos but typically from my own computer.  in windows or in the mac os you can change your keyboard back and forth from dvorak to query, but you can set a default of one or the other and it is based upon the user.

so when i heard steve jobs passed away this week a post that was going to be about windows disclosure turned into a tribute to him and how he has influenced me to think differently.  steve – you will always be admired and remembered.