Category Archives: Technology

What I Learned From Steve Jobs

From Apple.com

From Apple.com

Three years Steve Jobs and his imaginative leadership left this earth.

I never met Steve Jobs but I was privileged enough to work in an Apple Retail store for two and a half years while he was leading Apple. I started just after the launch of the first iPhone and left after the launch of the iPad. These were exciting years for Apple and for us as employees.

Those years at Apple Retail were more transformative for my life and leadership than my years at seminary.

Here are just a few of the lessons I learned from my time at Apple Retail:

  • Focus on a few things and do them well
  • Give fearless feedback often
  • Enrich lives, don’t just sell products
  • Infuse values into everything that is done and refer to them often
  • Hire for fit on the team, not for qualifications or knowledge

I still remember that day three years ago when I heard that Steve had passed away. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted to go to the Apple Store where I used to work and mourn with my co-workers.

We mourn the passing of those whose life and actions impact our lives the most.

Thank you Steve for inspiring and challenging me to think different.

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Enhancing Relationships with Technology

Maybe it’s the fact that we have two daughters but I’m a sucker for emotional commercials especially when they feature dads and daughters. Recently, the commercial for Google Chrome titled “Jess Time” brought tears to my eyes. It tells the story of a daughter at college connecting with her dad over video chat.

 Continue reading over at Playground Dad

Finding Rest on a City Bus

Today I found rest for my soul on a city bus. I had thirty minutes to just sit without checking my email, reading the news or listening to music. It was beautiful.

I struggle with a restless soul especially during this season of my life. I am quick to become anxious and worry. I quickly leap for my phone and the endless checking of email, news and social media. This restlessness affects my relationship with God and my family. Read the rest of this entry

The Information Diet

I have an information addiction. Just ask my wife and kids. It is a struggle for me to put away my phone and focus. I am drawn to the latest tweet, email or blog post. This morning I came across Clay Johnson’s new book The Information Diet. Johnson’s contention is that just like junk food can ruin our personal health and overall society, bad information and its overconsumption has negative effects. The book is next on my reading list. Check out the website for the book here. There is a great list of tools and software to help us on our information diet. I am personally excited to try out Self Control which blocks email and websites for a predetermined time so I can concentrate on one task.

Here’s a video promoting the ideas in The Information Diet.

Internet Piracy and Censorship

Today you will notice something strange on many of the websites that you frequent. Even the main page of WordPress had censorship images on the top blog posts. Today some websites are going dark protesting two bills before Congress, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). These bills are designed to stop the piracy of copyrighted music, movies and television shows. Many in the tech world believe that though piracy needs to be stopped these two bills go too far. Here is a great explanation of the issues by Google.

I was in college during the heyday of Napster and thought it was a little strange that we could get music from the internet without paying for it. At Taylor University we had many discussions about the ethics of Napster and other file sharing services. My sense of justice always kicked into overdrive when fellow Christian students saw no problem with downloading free music illegally. Now almost twelve years later I still see the same lack of ethics in those who are younger. They see no issue with downloading movie or television shows illegally for free.

Hillary and I are currently addicted to the television show White Collar. We could have easily gone to a website and downloaded the shows for free but that went against our beliefs. You pay for the goods and services you consume. So we paid for a season pass on iTunes for the show. We have to wait an extra day to see the show after it airs on television but those who play a role in the show get paid. And it’s legal.

Though PIPA and SOPA go too far in censoring the internet, Congress needs to work with those in the tech world and the entertainment industry to shut down and prosecute those who distribute content illegally.

Here are a couple of videos which explain the potential impact of PIPA and SOPA.

Future Belongs to the Curious

The future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it and turn it inside out. – Skillshare

Skillshare is an innovative community that is driven by the idea that everyone has something to learn and something to teach. Their website has a huge variety of classes in major cities that people can take to learn something new. Definitely worth checking out if you live in a major US city.

Reflecting on 2011 from Google

There is power in reflecting on the past, especially when it is combined with images, video and music. Here is Google’s look back at 2011.

Canceling Facebook

Today I made a big decision. It was a hard decision but a much needed one. I decided to end a relationship. I permanently deleted my Facebook account today.

Even as I went through the process of deleting my account, Facebook made me feel like I was missing out on something by leaving. It showed me four pictures, one being my wife, and said that each person would miss me. Will my wife actually miss me because I don’t have a Facebook account? No she won’t! But Facebook wants me to believe that relationships on Facebook are real and that I will be missed. The irony is that I actually live with my wife and when I am on Facebook, my wife misses me.

As I sit here I wonder what is happening on Facebook. It’s like a party is going on and I’m not invited. What am I missing? What won’t I know about because I’m not watching everyone’s lives going by on my Newsfeed?

What is the real impact of social media on relationships? I understand that social media can enhance relationships but isn’t relying on an online connection with someone a sort of relational crutch?

We were created for relationship. The type of relationship where we see the other person and listen to their voice. Being present with someone is powerful. I gave up on Facebook because I want to go back to experiencing the power of presence with those in my life. I want to listen to what is going on in their life. I don’t want to be limited to quick snippets. I don’t need Facebook to enhance my relationships. Seven years ago we were fully functional without Facebook. I can thrive without Facebook.

Sorry Facebook, I don’t need you.

Prophetic Innovation

Taken from apple.com

I feel like a close friend has died and those I want to mourn with are far away. Upon hearing of the death of Steve Jobs, my heart sunk. The world will not be the same for quite a while. For me it seems like a personal loss even though I never met Steve Jobs.

For two and a half years I had the awesome opportunity to sit under Steve Jobs’ leadership and enrich lives in an Apple Retail Store. From the very beginning we were told that we were involved in changing the world and making a difference in people’s lives through technology. Working at an Apple Store was a special experience. A family was formed. Now that our leader has passed away I feel far away from my family members who I want to mourn with. But thankfully the devices that Steve designed help me feel closer.

In Apple Retail we were not just selling cold pieces of technology. We had the joy of seeing Steve’s products connect people together and enrich the lives of those who purchased them. I could tell story upon story of customers who purchased a Mac or an iDevice and how those devices connected them to their family and friends in very real ways.

What did Steve Jobs have that sets him apart from other innovators and CEO’s? I believe Steve Jobs had what I call “prophetic innovation.” He knew what we wanted before we could even articulate it. Whether it was the Apple II, the iPhone or the iPad he prophetically knew what people would want and designed it for them. He saw a future and designed technology for that future. I love selling products because I know that when people go home and plug them in, they will be hooked. The products sell themselves.

I think Apple will weather this sad loss in stride. Apple is very good at developing new leaders and encouraging leaders to train up a “bench” of talent to step up when there is a transition. Apple is much different than it was in 1985 when Steve left Apple for the first time. Steve has raised up other prophetic innovators to take the torch and run with it. But the world will never quite be the same without Steve Jobs.

We miss you already Steve.

Protecting Your Family Online

Last night we concluded our series of seminars on technology and the faith with a session titled “Protecting Your Family Online.” I believe that the church needs to be actively informing families about the benefits and dangers of technology. Technology can enhance family connections but it can also destroy them.

Here are some resources for parents on how to set healthy boundaries with the internet and protect your children:

Great Overview of Internet Safety

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/user/CommonSenseMedia#p/a/FE4141CAE38B0AE4/1/H0xh9uTEMg0%5D

Common Sense Media resources for educating children on how to use the internet

Online safety guidelines from Focus on the Family

Internet safety contract from Focus on the Family

How to setup parental controls on a Windows computer

How to setup parental controls on a Mac

Free way to block objectionable content before it reaches your computer

Internet tracking software for your computer or iDevice