Archive for Laurene Powell
February 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm · Filed under Capacity Building, Economy, Education, Health, Job Creation, Social Sustainability, Taking the Bite out of Apple, Workforce and tagged: Apple, Aspen Institute, Laurene Powell, Laurene Powell Job, Leonard Cohen, Silicon Valley, Steve Job, Walter Isaacson
Taking the Bite out of Apple TSOMU Series -Part 2 of 3
This 3 part series looks at 3 perspectives of the cost to people in the manufacturing of Apple Products.
- Accountability for What? Constructing the 3rd Pillar – Social Sustainability
- Steve and Laurene Powell Job’ Legacy
- Defining the Future Inquiry
By Lavinia Weissman
The Wholistic View
“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in every thing. That is how the light gets in.”
If one looks outside of Steve Jobs leadership and performance at Apple as CEO, and follow a very complete story of his life, work and his final days, I believe the picture painted if very different than what is described in the business press.
Jobs contact with people outside the context of running a company contains within it the legacy Steve left behind supported by his wife Laurene Powell Jobs, that are an interesting foundation for building a “social sustainable agenda” described in Part 1 of this series. Time will only prove if this vision can translate into community solutions aligned with Laurene Powell Jobs current vocation.
Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, was selected to by Steve and Laurene Powell Jobs to be Jobs, biographer. The book, simply titled, Steve Jobs. Completely atypical of Jobs, he and Laurene both gave full control over the book and the content to Isaacson. Jobs in his final days asked for final say on the artwork for the cover.
This book is a composite of the story of the history of Apple as Jobs and others crafted it, the products that resulted from Jobs vision, the meanderings of Silicon Valley ups and downs influenced by the MBA Venture Community and ultimately how Jobs as a visionary and innovator powerfully drove his agenda to build Apple as the strongest multinational company based headquartered in Silicon Valley.
Jobs informed Isaacson, “I think you are good at getting people to talk.” This is why Jobs selected him as his biographer. Steve and Laurene wanted the book to relay the real story that included Steve’s failing and success. They wanted the truthful story. Even Steve in his candid conversations with Isaacson saw his own personality flaws, which may have been unnecessary.
For fans of the history of Silicon Valley from a technical view, you will have to read the book that captures a rich history of all companies that sit side by side with Apple and the influence of the cast of characters from Larry Ellison of Oracle, Gil Amelio of NEC and Apple, John Scully and more. Isaacson true to form studied the man, the culture that surrounded the man and the family from which he grew and in the end helped him make peace.
The Silicon Valley and Apple Corporation that I knew emerged to be number 1 after my downsizing research in the late 80′s predicted it would be Apple, Sun or IBM.
Unlike Sun Microsystem and IBM, Jobs crafted with his products a vision of creating an Apple lifestyle, but in the final chapter of his legacy with his wife he began to create a global lifestyle through conversations with his wife Laurene and his final conversation with Bill Gates in May 2011 before his death in October.
Isaacson’s talent for asking “the why after the what,” helped me make see this new form legacy that is socially sustainable, that Laurene is now making her focus.
While the business press offered consistent final reports, e.g. Thomas Friedman, that when Obama inquired about bring back jobs to the US for IPhone and other Apple products, Jobs replied, “Those jobs aren’t coming back.” Friedman was one of many that reported this based on secondary research.
Isaacson captured 40 interviews with Jobs, dating back to 1984, when Isaacson was at Time Magazine and drew from more than 115 people and interviews and secondary research for this book. This is where the story behind how Jobs meeting with Obama in Silicon Valley’s story behind the story begins to open inquiry on the legacy that Jobs crafted in the final 10 months before his death.
Hidden in this story is the non technical legacy that Jobs could see that integrated a view of humanities and science with his genius capacity to design the leading technology and thought that captured Apple’s market today.
Laurene’s Added Spark
In 2010, Laurene Powell Jobs joined the White House Council for Community Solutions. At the most recent, State of the Union Address, by President Obama, she was introduced as the founder of Emerson Collective which she has directed to focus on underserved communities to better lives and in her role with the White House Council for Community Solutions she advises the President on how to mobilize and involve each sector from a true capacity building point of view on how to concretely address specific community needs.
Fall 2010, Laurene advised her friends at the White House that include John Doerr, Venture Capitalist and then at a meeting for President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board that Obama needed to hear Steve Jobs point of view on why the US had lost its edge. With help from the Jobs son, Reed, who was attending Stanford, Laurene was able to convince Steve to join Obama in a private 45 minutes meeting in October 2010.
No Holds Barred
In his book, Isaacson reported that Jobs told Obama at their private in October 2010, that Obama had to become morbusiness friendly and make it easier for business to open factories in the US over China that he was headed for a one term Presidency. Here is was indicating a need to reduce regulation and unnecessary costs. Jobs then asserted that even bigger obstacle was the American education system as antiquated due to unionization of workers and teachers. There was a need to revamp the entire system, beginning with defining the role of the teacher and improving the status of teachers.
By the end of the meeting, Jobs offered to put together a group of 6-7 CEO’s together to converse with Obama and examine how the US government was obstructing innovation. Jobs idea was to create this as a dinner and conversation. The White House almost derailed the meeting, trying to turn it into a major event of 20 ore more CEO’s, including GE’s Jeffrey Immelt. Jobs made clear his terms and the agenda and format were recovered and given Jobs assumed control.
Over a dinner at Palo Alto’s Greek Restaurant, Evita of 12 included Carol Bartz (Yahoo), John Chambers (Cisco), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Art Levinson (Genetech), Eric Schmidt (Google) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) with Obama, Jobs and White House Staff, Valerie Jarret and John Doerr.
Isaacson writes that Jobs began the dinner conversation by stating, “Regardless of our political persuasions, I want you to know that we’re here to do whatever you ask to help our country.” While this prompted proposals and suggestions, starting with John Chambers idea for a tax proposal. Zuckerberg was heard to lean over to Obama’s aide Valerie Jarret and point out they were all there to help the President and wanted to know from him, what he needed.
John Doerr and Jobs returned the discussion to the focus and Jobs indicated that America had to educate and train more engineers. In China today 700,000 workers are need on site support from 30,000 engineers and Apple simply has no resources of that talent to hire here in the US.
This pointer caught Obama’s attention and while Jobs was in the final phase of his own journey, he pointed out if America (Obama) can train the engineers Apple would bring back manufacturing to the US.
Isaacson’s ability to interview and capture the full story is quite different than the business press reporting the short sentence. Yes it is true, at the present time, Apple cannot bring manufacturing back to the US. And yes, if America addresses its most critical problem – our educational system’s inability to produce enough engineers, Jobs committed to bring manufacturing back.
While this is a story capture of Isaacson’s book (in red) that are taken from the book. Pardon me with breaking from the tradition of footnoting with the limitations of blogging.
Isaacson has opened the door to integrating a story that values all 3 pillars of view for sustainability that can not be constructed without opening a conversation and inquiry that examines issues from the 3 perspectives that Jobs drew from his study of Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid; these persepctives are about creating a balance of view drawing from humanities, science and technology.
From my studies on dialogue and inquiry, I learned something similar from the perspective of David Boehm, Physicist. Boehm often pointed out based on his studies with spiritual teacher, Krishnamurti, that he learned that building trust to innovate change and evolve culture cannot be built without building into our conversations practice that appreciate these 3 elements (humanities, science and technology).
This invites my readers to join me for next and final post. This poises the question of how we alter our view of education integrating the vision and forecast for education that Steve Jobs shared with Bill Gates before he died.
Stay tuned for Part 3 – Defining the Future Inquiry that describes this opportunity and a history of dress rehearsals that failed. Is it time to launch this as a community of practice within the UNGC?
For More information on Lavinia’s Coaching, Workshops and Presentations or to obtain an invitation to Monday Circle or Prayer Community Conference,
Contact Adriana Hill in the US by phone 516.204.6791 or at mydestinyjourney ampersand gmail.com.