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We all have our stories about discovering the world of Apple, whether on the Apple IIe or the Mac SE or the iPhone or iPad. Who can forget the smiling Mac when booting System 7?

Photo credit: Diana Walker

Apple created a magical world. Steve Jobs, the man who started the movement, is exceptional in a way that one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami, describes very well:

In every interview I’m asked what’s the most important quality a novelist has to have. It’s pretty obvious: talent…

The problem with talent, though, is that in most cases the person involved can’t control its amount or quality. You might find the amount isn’t enough and you want to increase it, or you might try to be frugal and make it last longer, but in neither case do things work out that easily. Talent has a mind of its own and wells up when it wants to, and once it dries up, that’s it….

If I’m asked what the next most important quality is for a novelist, that’s easy too: focus—the ability to concentrate all your limited talents on whatever’s critical at the moment. Without that you can’t accomplish anything of value, while, if you can focus effectively, you’ll be able to compensate for an erratic talent or even a shortage of it…

After focus, the next most important thing for a novelist is, hands down, endurance. If you concentrate on writing three or four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. What’s needed of the writer of fiction—at least one who hopes to write a novel—is the energy to focus every day for half a year, or a year, or two years…

– Haruki Murakami, Japanese novelist

Steve Jobs has demonstrated these three characteristics better than most: talent in design, focus on the essential vision and endurance though decades of turbulence. Jobs had a vision of intuitive interfaces: a computer desktop, a mouse, a tablet. And over the course of 35 years, he built that vision.

Through the ups and downs of Apple, NeXT and Pixar, Steve Jobs has committed himself to his vision and his values. What a world of difference he has made.

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