Thursday, 6 October 2011

My Impression of Steve Jobs

I had a boss back in the 1990s who emphasized the logic of going beyond the first step or two on everything.  He viewed every issue....every problem....every solution....to a idealistic point five steps ahead.  By doing something....were you really fixing the problem or making a new problem?

At some point around 2001/2002, I watched an interview with Steve Jobs, and he impressed as a guy who looked beyond what was in front of him.....and was going to the idealistic point of ten steps ahead.  This was a skill that very people are willing to put effort into and think beyond the normal vision we tend to operate with.

When I look over all the things he delivered in three decades....they all led onto more inventions that a step or two beyond.  He knew the next trend.  He knew the next demand.  He knew how to take a simplistic concept and make it possible.

For this reason, we are going to miss Steve Jobs.  There are probably five or six things in the Apple tunnel which have his fingerprints on them.....and when they clear....it will be questionable if the future can stay focused on Apple's past.

The bottom line?  Imagine if we just had twenty Steve Job-like characters walking around the US today.  The sad truth is that we were lucky to have just one.

Just Observations

Over the past couple of weeks....a number of folks have gotten pulled over in DC and noted by the cops for having expired tags.  Some were DC residents who live there....some were Maryland.  Well....in the old days, up until the last month, you just got a ticket.  Today?  The cops actually arrest you on the spot and take you downtown.  You don't get out until you post bail.  The reason?  The cops won't say much.  DC is really screwed on funding and I would imagine that the city leadership has put the pressure on to find various court fees to help out the District.  Naturally, getting arrested really pumps up folks....getting them to comment to the cops about the unfairness of the deal.  So the DC cops have this special treatment for the whiners....you get shifted over to another cop station in DC after you post bail, with the original station just grinning as they say they lost your paperwork temporarily.  So you spend five more hours at another station while they hunt down your bail deal.  Kinda like the treatment you'd get with wannabe cops, but these are DC cops.  All in all...it's best to just avoid DC entirely with your car, and just METRO in.

The NBA lock-out?  The strike is just about to screw up the first twenty games of the season.  The commissioner admits that things aren't anywhere near a solution.  I pondered over this.  The millionarie players don't care that much....they will lose money, but it's not the end of the world.  But, if you chatted with the kids who left college and have a contract to play professional ball.....they are pretty much left out in the cold.  They might as well have stayed in the college ranks for another year, and just avoided a locked-out season.  And playing for some team in Brazil or Italy?  Yeah.....you might take home $12k a month max....while spending $15k on your expenses.

There's this former minister.....Cheryl Perich.....who was hooked up with the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Redford, Michigan.  She was mostly there to teach classes.  She had this illness, and sat out for a number of months while this was being attended to.  Things fell back into place and Cheryl wanted come back into her old job.  Well....the Church had replaced her during this period, and just said no.  Cheryl got upset then and started talking about a legal action....which then triggered the Church to stand up and say that she'd lost her "callling".  "Calling" typically means that you and Jesus went separate ways....you did some immoral stuff to the Church....or you got caught doing some pretty stupid stuff with Church members.  So the Church fired her plain and simple.  In steps the state Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who've taken this onto court now.  The comical thing?  The Church could end up with a legal order to rehire some Minister.  You can imagine the US government directing this action....and church members standing there and wondering how you end up with some Minister that you don't want.  If you were in with the Baptists.....there'd be some payoff and folks would just move to another state.  I'm guessing the Lutherans just aren't happy about paying folks off.

There's a comical episode popping up in Iraq with the idea of American GI's staying on....into a new era.  The Iraqis want the American GI's there....preferably in the 20k range.  But it's a strange thing....they want legal immunity tossed out, and the ability to arrest American GI's.  Naturally, you won't find this on CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox News, or CBS.  It'll take a week before some think-tank raises the issue and lets people in on the issue.  You can imagine some Sergeant Snuffy standing there....with accusations coming via some Iraqi guy, and the Iraqi police wanting to arrest him.  The platoon stands to protect Sarge, and some general is barking orders to hand Sarge over to the Iraqis.  And the Sarge's boys just won't do it.  Within an hour....over 300 GI's are surrounding Sarge to protect him.  At that point, the Iraqi action is finished and you might as well remove every single GI.

Some smart folks came around today to chat about the $450 billion that the Pentagon needs to cut over the next couple of years, and this discussion going on about the strategy to cut and still fight two major wars.  For about five decades, we've had this brilliant strategy that we could fight two major wars.  Typically, this meant we'd fight the Soviets and North Korea.  It'd be a five-star conflict with both.  So if you have to cut $450 billion....how would you fight two wars.  I pondered over this and came to a brilliant observation. Like a card game....you'd just plan the two wars accordingly, one from menu "A", and one from menu "B".  My menu "A" group: Mexico, Venezuela, Angola, Philippines, Norway, and Mongolia.  My menu "B" group: Tonga, Cuba, western Canada, Crete, and Bolivia.  With this menu setting....you could utilize a requirement of four aircraft carriers, eighty fighters, and 50,000 Marines with each war.  I admit it'd be hard to admit this strategy in public....mostly because it'd embarrass Russia that they'd slipped so far, but it's the only way to cut $450 billion.   You would just admit to Putin in private that America will return to greatness one day.....a decade or two in the future.....and then we'd be prepared to move them to menu "A".

Finally, it's another story that you won't hear much on CNN or Fox News....but Kirit Amin, the chief information officer of the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs....finally said "the hell with this" and asked for a 4-month reassignment with the State Department CIO (the IT wiz kids).  His anger?  Well, he kinda came out and said his whole division is loaded with "cronyism" and "nepotism."  He's been trying to bring budget cuts and new ways of doing business to the IT folks within the State Department, and it's going nowhere.  Naturally, a bunch of smart folks ran up and said "nope, got no problems here" in defense of the division.  What happens now?  My suggestion would be for the new guy coming in....to be some former US Marine general.  I'd send word down the line the day before he arrives that any potential problems will be directed to HR very quickly, and some folks may be asked to retire earlier than expected.