Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview

Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview is now on Netflix

Last year, former Apple employee and technology columnist Robert X. Cringely unearthed a VHS copy of a presumed lost interview with Steve Jobs that was recorded in 1995, the year before he would return to Apple through Apple’s purchase of NeXT. After a theatrical release last year and arriving on iTunes earlier this summer, it is now available on Netflix.  I’ve watched it twice and highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

You can’t expect to make something beautiful the first time

“Your first projects are gonna suck, and that’s okay”

Jerr Thorp
Photo Credit: Ken Tisuthiwongse via http://blprnt.com

Mashable has a fantastic interview with data visualization expert Jer Thorp.

It’s the same thing with almost everything. There are so many people who I hear from who are like, ‘I really want to do this, what are some books, what should I read?’ You just have to do it.

. . .

The two things that I always tell people is that: First you need to just get started with it, and admit that the things that your first projects are gonna suck, and that’s okay. Y’know, you can’t expect to make something beautiful the first time. My first data visualization was terrible.

The second thing I tell my students is to think about something that’s close to you, something that’s personally relevant to you. If it doesn’t resonate with you, you’re not gonna do a good job with it.

You can read the entire interview on the Mashable site. Jer’s remarks reminded me of the words of Jiro Ono in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, currently on Netflix.

Once you decide on your occupation… you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work.

I’m so grateful that my career turned toward business intelligence nearly ten years ago. Even when my career stresses me out, it’s a profession that I’ve fallen in love with. I hope you’ll read the Jer Thorp interview. And watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi, even if you hate sushi.

Links

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this web site above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Also, some of the books I review were received as review copies and I’ve given my best effort to accurately disclose that information as part of the review. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Grid

The biodigital jazz of “human form into digital space” is, obviously, science fiction. However, we willingly allow smartphones and VPN’s to pull us into The Grid all of the time.

Part four in a series of business intelligence insights from Tron: Legacy, now available on Blu Ray and DVD.

Tron Legacy

The Grid.
A digital frontier.
I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer.
What did they look like?
Ships? Motorcycles?
Were the circuits like freeways?
I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see.
And then, one day… I got in.

— Kevin Flynn

And so begins Tron: Legacy, with a flashback of Kevin Flynn talking to his then-seven-year-old son Sam. We soon learn that Kevin Flynn mysteriously disappears, leaving Sam fatherless and in the care of his grandparents. Fast forward twenty years later, and a mysterious message from Alan Bradley’s pager sends Sam on a quest to search for his missing father.

“Alan, you’re acting like I’m going to find him sittin’ at work, just, ‘Hey, kiddo, lost track of time.’” — Sam Flynn

The biodigital jazz of “human form into digital space” is, obviously, science fiction. However, we willingly allow smartphones and VPN’s to pull us into The Grid all of the time.  So we might be physically present at family mealtime, but our minds and our hearts are trapped in The Grid. I’m just as guilty of this as the next person. Checking my Facebook wall. Tweeting. Reading and responding to “urgent” corporate email. We might be tempted to pat ourselves on the back for not being Kevin Flynn. Or not being some deadbeat dad who is years behind on child support and visitation. But I’m not sure we’re doing our families any better by being the workaholic dad at Buffalo Wild Wings alternating our gaze between the ESPN on the wall and the Blackberry in our hand.

Our children need us.  Our spouses, too.

They need our wisdom.

They need our companionship.

They need our engagement.

Sam Flynn: Look what you’ve accomplished. It’s incredible.

Kevin Flynn: I’d have given it all up for one more day with you.

The moral of Tron: Legacy?  It’s time to put down the smartphone and fully engage the people we love.

END OF LINE.

  • Purchase Tron: Legacy on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com
  • Purchase Tron: The Original Classic on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Miracle

Part three in a series of business intelligence insights from Tron: Legacy, now available on Blu Ray and DVD.

Part three in a series of business intelligence insights from Tron: Legacy, now available on Blu Ray and DVD.

Kevin Flynn: The Miracle…You remember. Isos, isomorphic algorithms, a whole new life form.

Sam Flynn: And you created them? (Kevin Flynn laughs)

Kevin Flynn: No, no. They manifested, like a flame. They weren’t really, really from anywhere. The conditions were right, and they came into being. For centuries we dreamed of gods, spirits, aliens, and intelligence beyond our own. I found them in here, like flowers in a wasteland. Profoundly naive; unimaginably wise. They were spectacular. Everything I’d hope to find in the system; control, order, perfection. None of it meant a thing. Been living in a hall of mirrors. The Isos shattered it. The possibilities of their root code- their digital DNA. Disease? History! Science.  Philosophy.  Every idea man has ever had about the universe up for grabs. Biodigital jazz, man! The Isos, they were going to be my gift to the world.

Sam Flynn: So what happened?

What happened was a movie that was 28 years in the making pulled a plot device out of thin air.  And sadly, many IT managers and corporate executives make the same naive error as Kevin Flynn.  They believe that the deployment of technology alone will result in some perfect solution coming out of nowhere.

The conditions were right, and they came into being.

Corporate decision making isn’t going to make a dramatic transformation because somebody runs the installation wizard for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 (or any other enterprise software product).  What makes the conditions right is a broad consensus that an organization should pursue fact-based rather than gut-based decision making.  But achieving that consensus?  And turning vision into action?  That might take a miracle.

And maybe some biodigital jazz.

END OF LINE.

  • Purchase Tron: Legacy on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com
  • Purchase Tron: The Original Classic on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I Fight For the Users!

Do you fight for your users?

Part two in a series of business intelligence insights from Tron: Legacy, now available on Blu Ray and DVD.

While watching Tron: Legacy in IMAX 3-D, I was hoping for a burst of inspiration for a geeky tie-in to business intelligence, but couldn’t find it.  When I saw the movie a second time (in mundane 2-D), inspiration struck.  I was moved by one of the key lines of dialog in the movie (the same line was originally spoken in the original 1982 Tron):

“I Fight for the Users!”

I fight for the users. Hell, yeah! I FIGHT for the users. I really like the sound of that. It goes to the heart of what I do as a business intelligence professional. In a recent signal vs. noise post, 37signals innovator David Heinemeier Hansson heralds the end of the IT department. And sadly, he makes a strong case against the forced monopoly of the IT department.

The mantra of IT seems to be “no, you can’t have it your way”. And to be fair to corporate IT departments everywhere, it makes sense to run corporate IT like a utility. We expect water and electricity to flow without interruption whenever we ask for it. And likewise for applications like e-mail, payroll, order entry, and B2C web sites.

But the mantra of business intelligence must be a resounding “yes!” As in, “yes, we’d love to supply the data to streamline your monthly business process”. Or “yes, we’d love to help you measure the KPIs that measure the success of the business.” The metaphor for business intelligence is less like a utility (although up-time and performance are still important), but more like your favorite coffee shop or restaurant. Let’s be honest – do you really want some cranky network administrator to be your barista at Starbucks? The experience of the service performed is just as important (or perhaps more important) than the actual service.

The truth is, business intelligence, for all its potential, is optional to the organization. If we supply poor business intelligence, we will not cause the company to grind to a halt. Our organizations will still make widgets and sell them to customers. But we have a privilege to help our organizations perform more effectively, harnessing information for effective decision making. Using business intelligence, we can eliminate much of the drudgery of collecting information and instead help our users to spend more time analyzing that information. The business will always run. But we’re uniquely equipped to help it run better.  Want to do better? Wayne Eckerson’s recently revised Performance Dashboards book has an excellent chapter on “How to Align Business and IT” (see my book review).

Do you talk regularly with your users? Or just talk about them?

Do you go to lunch with your users?

Can you name the top three business priorities of your users?

Do you fight for your users?

END OF LINE.

UPDATE 04/21/2012: Was glad to see Tron inspired somebody else. Read “Why Tron is a true story … or how the iPad is transforming the enterprise” by Eric Berridge via ComputerWorld.

  • Purchase Tron: Legacy on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com
  • Purchase Tron: The Original Classic on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Greetings, Programs!

Tron: Legacy and Tron: The Original Classic on Blu Ray.

Part one in a series of business intelligence insights from Tron: Legacy, now available on Blu Ray and DVD.

Greetings, Programs!

This week, both Tron: Legacy and the original 1982 Tron film (re-branded as Tron: The Original Classic) make their way to Blu-Ray. Tron: The Original Classic and the Commodore 64 were both released in 1982 and each was instrumental in focusing my career plans. So I was very excited when plans for a sequel were first announced, hoping I would not be disappointed after a 28-year wait (see related article, Tron: Legacy).

Last December, my 9-year-old daughter (also a huge Tron fan) and I headed to an IMAX theater on opening weekend and put on 3-D glasses faster than you can say “Reindeer Flotilla”. I would later see the movie again in Disney 3-D and standard 2-D. Despite my enthusiasm (plus the amazing special effects and Daft Punk soundtrack), the movie received a tepid reception from the critics. Which is a real pity, because Tron: Legacy, flaws aside, is a statement about humanity and our relationship with the technology that we create. The filmmakers have crafted a message. I believe that all technology professionals should view the film, enjoy it, and ponder its deeper meaning.

This week, I’ll be sharing my observations from the film. So even if you’re not as fanatical as The Tron Guy, check out the DVD, pop some popcorn, and enjoy.

END OF LINE.

  • Purchase Tron: Legacy on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com
  • Purchase Tron: The Original Classic on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tron: Legacy

A sequel to the ground-breaking Tron is finally on its way.

This past week, Comic Con attendees were teased with a trailer for the upcoming 2010 movie Tron: Legacy (formerly known as TR2N or Tron 2.0). You can view the trailer on YouTube or check out the official Disney site, where I’m sure it will appear soon.

The original, released in the summer of 1982, was one my inspirations behind choosing a career in the high-tech world.

  • Purchase Tron: Legacy on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com
  • Purchase Tron: The Original Classic on Blu Ray or DVD from Amazon.com

What about you? What were you doing in the summer of 1982 and how did the movie Tron impact your life?