Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Portfolio Skill 10: How Steve Jobs Lived It Out

The Canterbury Portfolio Program asks our 8th graders to develop a portfolio of work which demonstrates ten skills we believe a Canterbury graduate should have. Today I want to focus on Skill 10.

Portfolio Skill 10: Respond to an experience of failure in a way that acknowledges that innovation involves small successes and frequent mistakes.

As we all know, Steve Jobs passed away last week and since then writers from every perspective have been writing eulogies of some sort. As I waded through these testaments, I heard very little from Jobs himself until I stumbled upon a reference to his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005. In it he discusses how failure provided the foundation for his success. Most spectacularly, Jobs was fired from the company he created. This may be bigger than the mistakes implied by Skill 10 but nevertheless provides an example of the spirit it takes to innovate. 

I found the address both incredibly fitting as it relates to our last skill and haunting in the way he speaks of his future. I'll leave it to you to read the speech, but will say that he is true to himself in that he uses story to resonate with his audience. We all know how compelling Jobs was and as a result how impactful his ideas have been on how we live our lives.

If there was ever an example of Skill 10, Steve Jobs would be it.

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