Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Steve Jobs Film Leads To Dylan Insights for CEOs in New Forbes Article

Walter Isaacson's book Steve Jobs was a compelling read when it came out in 2011. I wrote at the time, "Just when you thought you knew everything important that there was to know about the passionate founder of Apple, you discover through this incredible biography how little you really knew." But it's the silver screen that reaches the masses, hence the new film about Steve Jobs is creating more than just a ripple effect.

Dylan receiving the Medal of Freedom.
This past week Forbes published a contribution by Grant Feller* titled Bob Dylan's Guide To Being A Better CEO. Feller opens the piece with a great opening line that will magnetize any Dylan fan: The best reason for going to see Danny Boyle’s new film on Steve Jobs is, as far as I can see, not to indulge in some Apple gadgetry porn but to understand the influence Bob Dylan had on him. 

He immediately follows with this disclaimer:
I’m a huge fan of the latter and have, at various moments, felt just as inspired by Dylan’s moving, incisive and often unique lyrics. By all accounts, so was Jobs.

It's a perfect setup.

According to Isaacson, Steve Jobs was indeed a huge fan of both Dylan and the Beatles. In fact, he was so much of a Dylan fan he pursued and maintained a two year romantic relationship with Joan Baez who had herself been romantically entwined with Bob. Jobs gave it up when he came to realize he didn't really love her but loved the idea of being involved with his idol's woman.

When the iPod came out, a brilliant Steve Jobs concept that revolutionized the way we listen to music, Jobs was asked the question that Apple's TV commercials were asking: "What's on your iPod?" The interviewer then asked, if you had to choose between the Beatles and the Stones, who would you keep? Jobs replied that that was easy, The Beatles. "But if you asked me to decide between the Beatles and Bob Dylan, that would be a much harder question."

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Feller's article is an good example of a basic article structure. If you picture of line of railroad cars, the intro is your engine. It's aim is to hook the reader, and Feller does this effectively. The transition must follow. Like a highway billboard it has to be quick and clear. The writer offers up this:

After all, if CEOs can be inspired by lines from Sun Tzu’s Art of War, why can’t content marketers find similar truth in the lyrics of Dylan…

From here we get a string of boxcars which stretch out to the end of the story. No time to argue or to judge the merits of his premise. If the reader has travelled this far he or she will just go with the flow. It's an easy, breezy ride. Here's that link again.

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I can't leave off without commenting on the author's name. Grant Feller. Grant is a family name that one of my brothers, an uncle and a grandfather carried, among others. I've personally found U.S. Grant to be an inspirational hero for my own life and maintain a photo of him on my office wall.

But I've also found strong inspiration in a man named Feller, specifically the Hall of Fame Cleveland Indians pitcher of the 40's and 50's. When I was born my teddy bears were named after the starting rotation of the Cleveland Indians, and for some reason Feller became my favorite. (I carried Lemon around with me for a long time, too, though.)

Thank you, Mr. Feller, for this fun little excursion through the Dylan catalogue.

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Meantime, life goes on all around you, within you and without you. Get into it.

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