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Think Different, Be Different

My usual perch is in the heart of Silicon Valley, but this week I’m in New York City for Interop. So when I heard the news Wednesday night about Steve Jobs passing, I felt a sense of the surreal. Nothing like hearing about something hard-hitting and close to home when you’re 3,000 miles away. While I didn’t know Steve Jobs personally, he has been a source of inspiration for me, from the start of my career, on. He was part of the legend of Silicon Valley that drew me from Toronto.

Clearly he has moved many and inspired untold numbers. So much has already been written, but I feel compelled to share two things that, for me, characterize the essence of his inspiration:

  1. A Steve Jobs quote as reported in All Things Digital: “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
  2. From Forbes a few weeks ago, “The Top 10 Lessons Steve Jobs Can Teach Us – If We’ll Listen”: “To create the future, you can’t do it through focus groups…The customers today don’t always know what they want, especially if it’s something they’ve never seen, heard, or touched before.”

Steve Jobs challenged all of us to ‘think different.’ But more to the point, he set the bar that much higher. He inspires us to not settle for easy or mediocre, but to push for excellence not yet defined.

And, if you have a spare 15 minutes, please listen or watch Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 where he says, among other elegant, inspiring things: “do what you love.”

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17 Comments.


  1. Yea I agree Steve Jobs was an innovator. He was the mind behind iPhone one of the most desired smart phones that exist today. He will be missed by Technology enthusiasts.

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  2. World lost a lot with his getting out..

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  3. Reading Steve Jobs business trip is very inspiring to me. Imagine, a nearly bankrupt company that could come back and lead the market with its products. There are no words that can describe it except “Incredible”

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  4. agree with Kartiwa, it’s incredible… will miss him.

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  5. It’s amazing the outpouring of comments from people all over the world who have been affected by this brilliant man. Can you think of anyone who has had such an impact in our daily lives?

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  6. The big problem these days is that many people are afraid to be “different”. Steve Jobs wasn’t afraid of that. His vision was to change the world and he succeed big time !

    I took 15 minutes of my life and saw this Youtube video. Extremely inspiring and motivational !

    Rest in peace Steve Jobs

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  7. No matter how many times I watch this video, it’s always inspiring. I have probably watched this over 10 times.

    Thanks Marie for posting it!

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  8. A true asset to us all. Steve Jobs reall raised the roof on innovation. The same developers who continue to make negative remarks should be ashamed of him. They should be thanking him for providing a home in which they can be creative in their own developments. Let’s take this weeks to enjoy the positive contributions that Jobs has made and save the negative comments for another day. We thank you Mr Jibs fir all you have done. You have brought many wonderful innovations into our home and many roofs around the country.

    May you rest in peace, and God Bless.

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  9. There were no better recognition than most of the people find out of his death on the device, which he has developed.

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  10. I think Steve did not only challenge us to “think different”, but also “think big” or “think globally”. Steve challenged us to innovate something new that useful to human all over the world.

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  11. Steve was not only one of the greatest inventor of this era, he was in fact one of the best leader.

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  12. Great man and great invention . I salute Steve for his great effort in IT .

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  13. Steve Jobs was skilled at being able to create a story around his products. It wasn’t just a case of make products and sell products. He told us stories about why we need his products and how we should use them.

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  14. Someone sent me that speech that he gave at Stanford about 6 months ago I think. All I can say was that I was definitely captivated by his words. A peculiar thing happened the day he died. I took out an old Apple laptop I have that had stopped working about a year ago. I booted it up just to see… and it worked. Kind of interesting, I thought.

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  15. I agree Marie, Steve Jobs was a source of inspiration for many.A true fighter till the end, there is no one in apple to take his place.

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  16. I don’t think anyone represents the American Business Spirit more.

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  17. I think this is what pushed Apple in the last decade with the attitude “think different, be different” it’s not an easy path to take.

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