Much Respect for Steve Jobs

The November 2005 Blog post, “Gates, Jobs, & the Zen aesthetic” by Garr Reynolds of presentationzen.com really got me thinking about what Steve Jobs is doing on stage for Apple Inc. Steve is dancing! This is as close to a physical, CEO sport as we are going to get as long as there are “white men” running the world and the legend they can’t jump!

You see, Steve Jobs, his kanso slides show only a few items at a time. At times he only shows you one item on a slide. There are times when he shows ‘nothing’ on the stage. The stage goes blank for a moment. Garr writes:

Does it get more “Zen” than this? “Visual-Zen Master,” Steve Jobs, allows the screen to fade completely empty at appropriate, short moments while he tells his story. In a great jazz performance much of the real power of the music comes from the spaces in between the notes. The silence gives more substance and meaning to the notes. A blank screen from time to time also makes images stronger when they do appear.


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Garr then contrasts this jazz dance with the noisy, cluttered, visual representation of gluttony that is a Bill-Gates, PowerPoint slide. At first, my conclusion was that this is what Bill wants to see and he chooses not to get kanso. But then it hit me—boom: Bill has no choice—he must show you his slides this way because Bill can’t dance!

The assumption here is that Bill’s imperial conditioning provides him with very little respect or appreciation for talking and clicking at the same time. The left-brain dominant person needs a clean, analytical separation among talking, showing and stopping. You don’t need rhythm to count money. This is not a genetic defect based on some “reverse” racial theory. The soldier culture does not stay on the battlefield. The warlike ways roam in and out of the earth—and even corporate officers inherit from such death…

When you show a presentation slide with everything on it you don’t have to synchronize your speaking with your clicking. You can ramble on as much as you want for paragraphs at a time without respect for audience attention—because soldiers are trained to stand at attention whether or not the Emperor has no clothes…

But enough about Bill Gates. Steve Jobs is a pimp. He’s real slick. He knows how to mack down the ’ho’es. He reminds me of that architect, you know, Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank will build your dining room (and your whole damn house)—and he will come over for dinner after telling you what table napkins to put down and how to arrange the chairs. Frank will build your roof out of innovative, revolutionary materials—but, when the rain comes, it leaks. Somehow you admire and respect Frank anyway while using a garbage can to catch the drips.

Apple Inc. customer service is close to a pimp slap and Macs fall apart, scratch and fade white plastic in ways (my) PCs never have but Mac people still love Steve anyway…

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