It was 1983. Our company brought our key people from around America to a strategic development meeting at a Colorado resort. We brought Mike Vance, the “Think Out of the Box” guy to address our group. Vance, who had an impressive prior track record, had been the key design executive for Disney World and The Magic Kingdom. Mike, no longer with Disney, was bringing his “Think Out of the Box” message to businesses. This later developed into the “Creative Thinking Association of America.”
We had him for a half day. For us, that was a long time on our schedule for an outsider. Vance had a reputation as a fast talker. He didn’t disappoint. Yes, Vance did speak at 180-200 words per minute. Far more importantly, every word had value.
Mike told the story of of the only company that hired him to speak to their key people for a week. At the first break, the first morning, Mike stepped off the platform and engaged a young man, in the front row, dressed very casually (sandals on bare feet). “You’re the first person I’ve seen take notes with two hands. Why do you do that?” Mike asked. “Because you talk so fast,” the man replied. “But, you have these teenagers in here,” Mike pressed. “Because they think so well,” came the quick retort. “But you have old people, well beyond retirement—why?” “Because they know so much.”
Well, who are you and what do you do?” Vance asked. “I own the company, my name is Steven Jobs.”
Steven Jobs died yesterday at age 56. He changed —no, fundamentally transformed— the way the world communicates. Here he is communicating at his best.