When I accepted this job as editor of GOOD, one of my best friends had two pieces of advice for me on being a boss. One, hire an awesome assistant. Two, set aside some time every week to "Steve Jobs it." That's right, a verb. An action. This was my friend's way of advising me to step away from the day-to-day and think creatively, not just about where everything seems to be headed but where you want it to go. To him, and probably to a lot of people, Steve Jobs embodied this particular way of thinking about the workplace and the wider world.
I've tried to take his advice. I carve out four hours every Friday morning for Steve Jobsing—working from home, away from meetings and phone calls and (somewhat less successfully) email, for an uninterrupted solo brainstorm session. I can't say it's "worked," exactly, as I have yet to solve all of journalism's problems. But I can certainly say it has made me more sane and made me better at my day-to-day job.
In his well-circulated Stanford commencement speech in 2005, Jobs said, "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." Those few hours a week I spend Steve Jobs-ing are my way of remembering what is and isn't worth losing.
I am by no stretch of the imagination an Apple fangirl. I do not own an iPhone and got my first Mac this year. But I've always admired Steve Jobs as a thinker and a visionary, and am deeply saddened by the news of his death. The best tribute, I think, is for all of us to take a few hours each week to "Steve Jobs it." We've got nothing to lose.