Saturday, April 23, 2011

Do you feel lucky? It is true you can create your own luck. See how it worked for Steve Jobs (and learn how popular fonts came into being)...Now, THAT was LUCK!

This is a very good article about creating the conditions to become more "lucky"...There are some very interesting antedoctes related to Steve Jobs and how things might be different except for a few right turns in his life. I excerpt a couple here but read the article. It is short but shows you how by just being more aware you can improve your luck...The last paragraph is my favorite. So many of us get hung up on trying to telegraph the placement of future "dots", we forget that those dots to the future are laid down today using what we learned yesterday...
What Lucky People Do Different

“For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”--Steve Jobs

“Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for.”

“Reed College at the time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class and learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, and about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great.”--Steve Jobs

Here’s the kicker:

“If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, “ Jobs explained, “the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionately spaced ones. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

He added,

“Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”


  1. "it’s likely that no personal computer would have them"
    Does he really believe that nobody else would have come up with them?

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  3. You pose a difficult question that really is impossible to answer. It is very easy in retrospect/hindsight to see a discovery or invention as inevitable ("that was easy, I could have done it!"). But why didn't I?...or anyone else? Also, it is not only coming up with the idea but following through to make it happen is the hard part. For Jobs, it was taking something that existed (the script in Caligraphy) and creating the technology that did not exist before to make it usable for the masses. I tend to think in terms of the complexity of creating something so simple. In other words, all the back-story to any good brought to market...Google "Milton Friedman I,Pencil" and watch him explain "How to make a pencil"...I think of this video everytime I go to a store...Thank you for the comment...

  4. I think the crux to this is that Jobs was one of the first people in the world of High Technology to more classify himself as an artist/layman. At the time, IBM and other such software makers were focused strictly on making products for the business, government/military, and science sectors. What need do those industries have for more than one typeface? As long as they could read what was going on, they could do what they needed to do. It wasn't until the Silicon Valley guys, who did develop for the more common person, who would care about such artistic and tangential features, that things like typefaces and GUIs were made. So, no, if Jobs wouldn't have come along, typefaces would have been developed still. That said, if you take it as his segment of the tech industry, then yes, if we didn't ever develop the aesthetic end of computering, we wouldn't have separate typefaces. Or the ability to look at the screen at all.


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