Steve Jobs Legacy for me – what’s important to you?

October 21, 2011 - 11 Comments

This is a tough blog post for me. Like many folks in the US and around the world I too believe we have lost a genius. From a consumer products perspective Jobs disrupted the animation industry, disrupted the music industry, disrupted the phone industry and disrupted the laptop industry. Disruption for the last  three meant big wins for Apple – big profits and big market share numbers.

We’re all wondering what was planned next and, despite assurances that Apple will continue to produce innovation and that innovation is in safe hands with the existing management, I have a feeling that the ‘Jobs spark’ will be hard to replicate in the future. I do have confidence that someone or ‘ones’ will appear in the future to continue the innovation the US has been famous for.

Steve Jobs  ‘Righting the Ship’ after he takes the Helm. He’s talking about his predecessor’s approach, not his! That’s why Gates etc. are laughing.

As Managing Editor of the Manufacturing Industry Blog I am allowed the occasional ‘Editorial’ only slightly related to the industry (well, that’s what I’ve decided, anyway!). So this blog is tough because I’m not going to address the innovation issue. I’m not going to address the need for improved education or more engineers or more math students (though they are sadly needed).

No, this blog is about priorities in life. I’ve learned, as many of us have, that Jobs allegedly  delayed getting surgery for his pancreatic cancer by three-quarters of a year, or thereabouts. It is reported that the new biography that’s due out on Monday has some of the details. Now I make no judgment on his choices, I’ll leave that to you as reader, but a “60 minutes” interview that airs on Sunday with biographer Walter Isaacson apparently confirms details that had been speculated upon or widely reported, including that Jobs might have been cured of his “slow-growing” cancer had he sought professional treatment sooner, rather than resorting to unconventional means.

Please don’t judge Steve Jobs, or me. But here’s a similar learning from both of us. I passed a certain age a while ago where I should have had my first colonoscopy. I delayed it. Too busy; not high enough priority; low risk factors; you name the excuses. Four years after that time, in 2010, my wife Julie forced me to have it done. We had a 6 year old and she had just given birth to our second child – a beautiful baby girl.

Unfortunately for me, It was bad news…

I could have cancer. They found polyps in the colon. One pretty big in a difficult place to remove. We waited for tests to come back. No cancer in the two other areas, but this one near my appendix they weren’t sure about. If not cancerous now it was the type that goes that way 60% of the time in 5-10 years. Only way to be sure of stopping it was to cut it out. So they did. They performed a partial colectomy which removes a portion of my colon along with my appendix and another valve-like organ. You can read the whole story with gory (well not that gory) details on my personal blog here.

A Happy Managing Editor leaves the hospital in 2010 with 'get well' flowers from his Cisco team.

I’m one of the lucky ones. Lymph nodes clear and all polyps were ‘pre-cancerous’. Not sure I’ll be around to play with any grandchildren (we had kids late in life), but I sure as hell want to walk my daughter down the aisle one day (and maybe I’ll be invited to my son’s bachelor party? – he’ll probably not want me as a witness!). None of this would have likely if I had delayed even more.

Right now is the time most people get ready to choose their health options for next year. Whilst you’re about it, think about those health tests you should have had done. That colonoscopy you should have had ages ago.Whatever else to keep healthy.

With Halloween parties soon, Thanksgiving around the corner, the holiday season next and a new year ahead of us it’s easy to get distracted. Take a lesson from Steve Jobs and Peter Granger – get your priorities right! Many Happy Years ahead if you do!

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  1. This is a great post, due to other aspects of life, health often takes a back seat.

    But only in situations like the one you describe that people learn to get their priorities in order.

    • Thanks again, Talha – yes, we often only seem to respond when we have to! Like in the manufacturing Industry we should do more ‘preventative maintenance’ and hopefully that will lead to less ‘repair requirements’ for our bodies! All the best to you, Peter

  2. Great story Peter!!! We all need to have the courage to put first things first. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Peter, a good reminder of keeping our priorities straight!
    Thanks for sharing your story!

  4. Thank you for your incite Mr. Granger. I have postponed several of my family’s preventative health checks due to job loss and financial considerations. It is always a wake-up-call to find that we still need to value “the little things” more. We continue to place importance on our ‘jobs’ and pay less attention to taking care of things.

    Best of health to you!
    Regards, Amy Johnson

    • Thanks Amy – sorry to hear about the job loss. We get all sorts of challenges in life, but the health ones are really the most important. Unfortunately they so easily drop down the list of priorities. Good luck to you..

  5. Wow, Peter. That’s quite a story. Thanks for sharing, and good health to you!

    • Thanks Andrew. I now take (a little) more care over my health. So easy to let it slip. l had similar fears as Steve Jobs did of ‘being opened up’ for surgery, but that won’t happen again. Good health to you too!

  6. At the end of the day we are all humans ….