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I spent a majority of the weekend with my family, which, with a busy work schedule, is sometimes a feat in and of itself. I decided to put the Blackberry away and just enjoy the valuable time that we all take for granted when life demands more than seems possible and roadblocks can leave us at a screeching halt.
Enter Robot Dance.
There is no real way to define a robot dance, outside of confined arm and hand gestures, in, you guessed it, robot mode. Perhaps the gentleman in the red shirt here is doing a phenomenal robot dance, (dance commences at ~ 48 seconds, and the “phenomenal” adjective is according to YouTube searches and video hits) or even this guy here (same criteria as above).
Well, take the concept, add a funny (albeit there is one criteria: robotic) voice and proceed to say “robot dance” over and over and dance like the robot in front of a two-year old. Despite the initial looks of confusion, chances are, your actions will be mimicked. I won’t lie and pretend that I have the exact statistics and/or links to childhood development regarding this behavior, but we all know, kids replicate behaviors. After twenty minutes of trying to get this behavior mimicked, (I mean come on, a 2 year old saying “robot dance” and proceeding to do it, is adorable), great success! Behavior mimicked and we all had a great laugh.
About 24 hours later, and after re-entering the real world of work-life balance, I had long forgotten the robot dance. And then, enter text messages. Numerous text messages with pictures of my niece doing the robot dance all day, long after I left their home and long after I had forgotten about it myself.
Back at the office, all of my news and marketing RSS feeds remind me that Steve Jobs died last week as I have been consistently delivered new content with their editorial opinions and new interviews. Apple set up an email account for the public to share their thoughts and memories. Google, within hours of his passing, created a simple, yet powerful tribute to Jobs on their homepage linking to Apple’s website (Yes, the companies compete, but competition was put aside to honor one of the greatest visionaries of our time.)
We can’t all change the world as Steve Jobs might have. But you can make a small difference.
I’m not a Mac enthusiast. I own Mac products but I haven’t had the time to fully explore what they can do. For me, the genius of Apple and of Steve Jobs is the focus on simplicity. Not all ideas need to be executed upon. Not all great ideas need to be executed upon. The art of Steve Jobs is knowing, and having a team in place to help guide the strategy and tactics, to focus on key elements, not on all elements.
Was Apple and Steve Jobs a movement against “the man” (Just Google the Apple vs. Microsoft stances)? Was Apple and Steve Jobs an example of employee engagement based on truths and passion? Or was it just genius marketing?
For me, I cannot recall a time in history, at least in my life, in which a figure such as Steve Jobs, moved his consumers to a point where they took the company logo and recreated it in real-life by biting actual apples and leaving them at Apple retail locations all over the world, along with post it-notes and thank you cards at the time of his passing. From Chicago to Beijing, the simple gesture is quite a powerful one.
Maybe it’s in teaching someone the robot dance – someone that will take the gesture, something that you put mild effort in – and whether it’s groundbreaking, it doesn’t matter. It’s the thank you, the smile, the laughter. It’s the simplicity.
Enjoy beauty. Enjoy life. Enjoy simplicity.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Speech, 2005