Posted on March 20th, 2012 No comments
I don’t have anything to say publicly about Mike Daisey’s lies. What I will say publicly is that Heather and I saw The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at Woolly Mammoth Theater on April 14, 2011. It was a powerful piece, and – unusually for me – I saved the program. After reading this essay by the former marketing directory of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, I have scanned page three and page four and placed them here. I have slightly edited the image of page three in an obvious manner. You may click on the the images to view full-size versions.
Posted on October 6th, 2011 No comments
Everyone has lunch at Caffé Macs on their first day. I was no different. It was exceptionally crowded that day, with a bevy of new hires meandering aimlessly around the cafeteria, overwhelmed by the myriad possibilities for lunch. You could barely hear the person next to you over the din of friendly chatter, clattering plates, and sizzling food. The lines for anything freshly prepared were long, and I opted for a pre-boxed lunch: a caprese sandwich and fruit smoothie.
After paying came the most daunting task so far: find a place to sit. I had lost track of the friend with whom I had come to lunch, so I just stood for a moment, barely past the cash register, and surveyed a scene of chaos and scarcity. Every seat at every table, both inside and out, was filled. People with trays of food circled the floor, a ravenous look in their eyes – for a seat or their lunch, I wasn’t sure. Chairs were snatched from beneath diners while they were still standing up, and more than once a newly-opening table nearly resulted in a brawl. As I tentatively stepped out into that shark pool, my eyes suddenly landed on an open spot.
It was a small, four-person table, with four chairs around it. Amazingly, three seats were empty, with only one person sitting quietly in the eye of the hurricane while the storm raged around him. Surely this person wouldn’t mind sharing a couple seats at his table! Without hesitation, I made a beeline for the table.
As I closed the distance, I had a few moments to actually see who was at the table. He had finished lunch, and he had pushed his chair a bit to the side. His legs were crossed casually as he quietly read. He had salt-and-pepper, scraggly stubble, a balding head, and was wearing jeans and a black sweater.
I stopped so fast the sandwich nearly slid off my tray and the fruit smoothie almost tipped over. It was Steve Jobs.
Should I approach his table and ask to join him? Would he care? What if I pretended to not know who he was? Would he be impressed by the courage of a first-day hire, or would I have the shortest career in the history of the company?
I don’t know exactly how long I stood there staring, but my racing thoughts were interrupted by an incoming text message. My buddy had found a table, and had let me know where it was. I turned, and I walked away from the only chance I would ever have to meet Steve Jobs.
I keep a small list of regrets: moments and decisions in my life from which I vow to learn a lesson and not repeat the same mistake again. The time I didn’t meet Steve Jobs is on that list.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
– Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
Posted on May 7th, 2010 4 comments
Yesterday I announced my impending departure from the Library of Congress at an all-hands meeting of the group I helped form. My last day will be May 14. I’ve spent seven years at the Library, and every one of them has been fantastically rewarding. I have learned so much through the successes and failures, and I couldn’t have asked for a more dynamic and intelligent group of people to work alongside. It has truly been an honor.
I will be moving on to exciting new territory, however. I have accepted a position with Apple, and the thrill of working for such a dynamic company on ground-breaking technology cannot be overstated. Those who know me know I’ve had my ups and downs with Apple over the years, from buying an iPhone to decrying DRM. None of that changes my commitment and interest in Doing Cool Things. And Apple is certainly Doing Cool Things. I can’t wait to begin.
Finally, Hedda and will not be moving to California. I will be spending a fair amount of time in Cupertino, but our home base will remain in the District.