Monday, January 02, 2012

Steve Jobs and my life runway

I really enjoyed reading SJ's bio. The opening quote was from an Apple ad in 1997:

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."

This and Jobs' ability to focus (whether its marketing, user interface or design) is inspiring, but also a reflection of what happens when your laser-like focus can burn your personal life.

The way I bring back his life story to improving my own is through the following questions:

1.) What do I want to focus on in my life right now? and
2.) How can I change the world?

My answers are as follows:

1.) My main focuses are the following:
  • Starting a family / being a good husband
  • Refining my abilities to analyze businesses
  • Getting to "fuck-you" money in life
2.) How do I make a mark? After hitting my financial targets, it should be a lot easier:
  • Enabling family and friends to optimize their lives. This may mean pursuing life interests that may not be economically feasible otherwise.
  • Philanthropy. There's a lot of need out there, so even if it doesn't change the world the way Apple designed products that changed society, if philanthropy can save lives (e.g. Bill Gates on malaria) or enable the dirt poor to achieve more in life it can make a dent. The secondary effects of this type of philanthropy aren't easily understood, but I would argue are equally important. After all, the secondary effect of a Nazi guard showing kindness to my grandfather means that I'm around today.
  • Lastly, one area of focus that could tie my passion (investing) with improving the world could be venture capitalism...financing entrepreneurs to achieve their goals potentially impacting millions. Just look at Sequoia as one example: