Connect the dots
Everything is inevitable in retrospect. (Agree?) Also, 7 other things.
I have one more thing to say this week about the late Steve Jobs, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of his passing, mostly because I hope it will prompt a really good comments section.
I’ve been working on a separate article for Inc.com about him that will run this weekend. I’ll link to it here on Monday. Today’s newsletter sort of fell out of my research and thinking about that article, and onto the rhetorical floor.
It goes like this. Jobs never graduated from college, but he did attend Reed College in Oregon; he only lasted a short while before dropping out in 1972.
However, instead of heading home after he was no longer officially enrolled, he stuck around for another 18 months. He slept on friends’ floors, returned Coke bottles for the deposits to get some money, and “dropped in” on classes that interested him.
One of those classes was calligraphy. As Jobs explained in the same Stanford speech I talked about earlier this week, it wound up having a profound affect on him:
I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. …
If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. …
[Y]ou can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.
I feel like we all have stories like this, don’t we? So, as a comment thread for this weekend, can I ask you to connect the dots looking backward?
What’s your equivalent of studying calligraphy? It could be a person you met, or something you studied, or an experience, or an unexpected opportunity. What did you explore simply because it was interesting and you felt called to—with no expectation of payoff—that in retrospect, led to a payoff?
7 other things
Congress passed a short-term funding bill, 254-175, largely along party lines, averting a government shutdown that otherwise would have occurred at midnight. (We’ll do this again in November, apparently; this bill keeps the government going until Dec. 3.) Separately, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reiterated that Republicans will not vote for any measure that would increase the federal borrowing cap, without which the federal government risks defaulting in the next few weeks. (NPR)
After 15 long years in prison, Juwan Deering, who was convicted of five counts of murder for the fire-related deaths of five children but insisted on his innocence the whole time, walked out of court a free man, after a newly elected prosecutor asked a court to dismiss all charges, saying Deering’s trial had been “totally compromised by misconduct.” (NPR)
A Marine who says he saved a baby in Kabul by lifting the infant over the walls outside Hamid Karzai International Airport, Lance Cpl. Hunter Clark, is now under investigation for appearing on stage with former President Donald Trump at a recent political rally in Georgia. (Task & Purpose)
United Airlines says its number of unvaccinated workers dropped from 593 to 320 after the airline said it would fire those who weren’t vaccinated. Earlier Thursday, Tyson Foods, which also mandates vaccines, said more than 90% of its 120,000-person workforce has been vaccinated against COVID. (CNBC)
TikTok has settled a lawsuit filed by voice actor Bev Standing, who claims the popular app used her voice for its text-to-speech feature without her permission. (The Verge)
A 105-year-old woman who survived the 1918 Spanish flu has died of COVID-related complications. (USA Today)
“A US Army veteran who discovered a hissing alligator outside his house used a wheelie bin to corner and capture the reptile.” (Sky News, Twitter)NEIGHBORHOOD HERO: This Florida man took matters into his own hands, using a trash can to capture an alligator in front of a home before releasing the reptile into a nearby body of water. abcn.ws/3m9ZxLF
Thanks for reading, as always. Photo credit: myself. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.