A few thoughts on Jobs from D5 and what I’m reading tonight …

I never spoke to Steve Jobs or had any of those famous emails threads with him.

The closest I got was standing just a few feet away from him at the AllThingsD D5 conference back in 2007. It was a group of us talking in the hallway and Steve just sort of walked by and starting chatting with someone nearby. I believe Brian Lam was right there as well, and was chatting with Steve. I recall sometime later that day, Brian telling me how amazing it was to hear that Steve read Gizmodo 3-4 times/day !

D is one of these conferences with top executives in the digital world, and it was instantly clear to me that Steve Jobs was in his own category. He was the only person who created a buzz when he walked through the hallway. He was the only person people would remark to me later in conversations that when they got to meet him, would have to call their wife/husband an instant later, to let them know. Simply put, it was a defining moment for people to even be in his presence.

At the joint interview session with Steve Jobs & Bill Gates — people packed the hall and it was one of the most amazing conversations I’ve ever seen on stage.

When Jobs remarked that “You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead” – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience.

By a strange coincidence, I was searching for some older photos last night, and stumbled on this one from that night in 2007 (taken by Adam Tow and captioned “Raanan is witness to the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates interview at D5.”):
Steve Jobs & Bill Gates @ D5

It’s been amazing reading all the coverage today, and there are some really interesting posts going up tonight that everyone should check out, including:

So a sad day for many of us, but very inspirational as well – just watch this:

Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

At a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, Jobs shared the philosophy that drove him.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said. “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

via Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011 | Epicenter | Wired.com.

Polaroid and Apple: Innovation Through Mental Invention

Ran across this fascinating article, Polaroid and Apple: Innovation Through Mental Invention from Fast Company – which excerpted a few section from the book, Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us.

Steve Jobs admits to few idols. But one is Edwin Land, the college dropout who invented the polarizing filters used in everything from car headlights to sunglasses. Land, of course, also invented the Polaroid Land Camera. It happened like this: One time when Land and his three-year-old daughter were in New Mexico, she asked why she couldn’t immediately see a photograph that he had snapped. He took a short walk through the desert, pondering that question. By the time he had returned (and it was no more than an hour, he recalled), he had visualized the elements of the instant camera. “You always start with a fantasy,” he said. “Part of the fantasy technique is to visualize something as perfect. Then with experiments you work back from the fantasy to reality, hacking away at the components.”

Now, some 40 years later, Land had agreed to meet with Jobs at Land’s laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jobs was on one side of the conference table, Land on the other. They were of different generations, but cut from similar cloth: Jobs, the dropout from Reed College; Land, the dropout from Harvard. Jobs, working nights inventing video games at Atari; Land, lifting a window and sneaking into a lab at Columbia University at night to use the school’s equipment. Jobs, neglecting his clothes and his health to build his PCs. Land, who in his prime worked 20 hours a day, forgetting to eat, and wearing the same clothes for days on end.

Land once told a reporter, “If anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing to excess … My whole life has been spent trying to teach people that intense concentration for hour after hour can bring out in people resources they didn’t know they had.” Similarly, Jobs had once remarked, “We have a short period of time on this earth … My feeling is that I’ve got to accomplish a lot of things while I’m young.”

Looks like a good read.