Friday, June 25, 2010

Who Are You

Who are you? Who the hell are you? W-h-o a-r-e y-o-u? The question rings in my head from morning to night, it has ever since I read a tidbit Apple Founder Steve Jobs wrote in an email last month.

It all started when a blogger named Ryan Tate shot off an email to Steve Jobs questioning, among other things, the lack of porn made available on the iPad. You can read the play by play here. Rather than the context of the discussion, I focused more on a bit of brilliance from a man full of it at the end of an email sent in defense of his ideas. Steve Jobs gave a glimmer of insight if you will, a look at what seems to be the way society is heading, into a full-blown hypercritical group of conformist followers. As you might have heard the gesture before, if you’re busy always following, how much are YOU really leading? If you own the latest iPhone or laptop, does that make you innovative, or for that matter anything more than someone that paid for a gadget? It’s what you DO with the tools of production, not how fast you got it, or how many pictures you take of it.

Who are you?

The internet makes you anonymous, you can say what you want, because who can find you behind that computer screen. What you say on the computer is exactly what you’d say in real life, right? Wrong. Of course not, you would change your tone, adjusting from animal to human at the first sight of eye balls and flesh. Your digital you is so much different than the physical you. If we could get back to the human standards of real life interactions, and away from the entitlement-centered my every opinion matters crap, we’d all be better off.

Are you a critic?

Do you judge the work of others? If you don’t like a website, are you first reviewing how many you’ve built before speaking? Or a business model, or a restaurant, or flying an airplane, are you putting in the necessary credibility check before opening up your mouth, or are you certified to speak on the topic simply because you think your opinion alone is worthy of sharing, despite the fact it might disrupt the creative process of others.

Critics stifle innovation

Those that truly want to change things are best suited to crawl in a box, turn off all media, and create. Ever hear someone that just did something incredible say they didn’t read about their achievements or struggles in the papers or see it on TV, because they shut themselves off from it all? Me too, many a great innovator has been a diagnosed recluse. Not such a wonder why they’d do such a thing if you stop to think about it.

In the day and age of reality television judgment panels and uneducated bloggers claiming journalist credentials at White House military briefings, it is so easy to feel entitled. To feel as if we are anointed to critique others, as if just our mere opinion matters, having to substantiate that opinion is totally passé. It’s just about judging right off the bat, no matter how little you create, or how afraid you are to create, since you know the exact level of unfair criticisms that can come your way.

Are you really?

So are you really going to be so quick to make your mind up about innovations that cross your path each day, and the people behind them? Are you ready to shove it down their throats for no reason other than you can? You are better than that, and you have to make an effort to be so. I’m not here writing this like I never judge others, twice today I had to cut myself off when talking with a friend about so and so, and we all have a so and so on the tips of our tongues, so let’s all get off our high horses.

If we can be better to each other in the sense that we align ourselves with principles that makes us proud, rather than weak, and motivated, rather than melancholy, would we not be better off for such a thing? Then again, this is just my opinion, and some could say I’m judging the idea of judgment, but at least my intentions are in the right place.

“By the way, what have you done that's so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others work and belittle their motivations?”

Steve Jobs in response to Ryan Tate blogger for

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