Most of the world heard the news of Steve Jobs passing yesterday and as expected when someone as beloved and historically significant as Mr. Jobs passes there will be tributes. Instead of repeating what hundreds have already said I would like to offer a different take and actually attempt to describe what made Mr. Jobs different by not talking about him at all but rather to share an experience I had recently.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear Jelly Helm speak. For those not familiar, Jelly Helm is formerly Executive Creative Director of Wieden+Kennedy in Portland and Amsterdam, and Founder/Director of W+K 12, Wieden+Kennedy’s experimental in-house school. I speak at a lot of conferences and am exposed to a lot of great people so I am a little jaded but knew right away that this talk was going to be different.
For starters, Jelly didn’t speak to the crowd, he welcomed us into his mind and explained Branding and Storytelling with a “Show, Don’t Tell” point of view [side note: Show, Don’t tell will be the name of my Marketing book if I ever find the time to write it] and introduced concepts and ideas that on first glance were probably out of the norm but upon further thought made perfect sense.
Jelly introduced the concept of how some of us see a tragic gap between the world as we know it and the place we know it could be. He referenced Parker Palmer by calling it a tension between corrosive cynicism and irrelevant optimism (a place of no shadows) and stated that this is really a creative tension and where the growth actually occurs.
Think about that for a second. Everything has two sides and needs a little of both to be great.
The other thing that every great idea/company needs is the following:
- Vision: What you see
- Purpose: What you do different, do it
- Presence: Let people see purpose by what you do – present expression, the experience of you
- Roots: What do you come from, how you see the world, pull everything into your story. Deep roots are fed by a vision
Have you ever asked yourself what’s your deep story that connects vision to roots?
If you can answer that question and have a real passion for something, I, Jelly and Steve would tell you to follow your passion because very few people get to say that they are doing what they really love.
I never had the chance to meet Steve Jobs but I was certainly touched by his vision. Jelly reminds me a lot of Steve Jobs because of the way they both look at the world and see an opening to really impact it for future people.
I recently read Buckminster Fuller say before his passing that he has no feeling about death because while there will soon be a time when no one can see him anymore, his stories and the emotions of his experiences won’t leave people and can’t be erased.
I feel that way about Steve Jobs and I am grateful that Jelly Helm reminded me of this.