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How Steve Jobs Pushed Me to Think Different How Steve Jobs Pushed Me to Think Different

How Steve Jobs Pushed Me to Think Different

by Ann Friedman
October 9, 2011

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.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user EXAME.com

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