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Selling out - What do you really want?

I'd never heard this Apple tale before. The gist of it is in one paragraph:

As struggling 20-year-olds with zero savings and no business 
experience, the idea of a stable job at Commodore comforted them,
Wozniak said. Steve [Jobs] started saying all we want to do was
offer [Apple II] for a few hundred thousand dollars, and we will
get jobs at Commodore, we'll get some stock and well be in charge
of running the program, Wozniak said.

Well, Commodore came to the garage, looked at the Apple II prototype, and left without offering any jobs or stock. Commodore eventually went bankrupt, but I'm typing this post on a MacBook Pro.

If Woz and Steve (oh, yeah, we're on a first name basis) had managed to convince Commodore to hire them, it's anyone's guess what I'd be using as a computer now, but you can pretty well guarantee that neither you nor I would have any clue who Jobs and Wozniak are. They might have made a few bucks, but it's unlikely they'd have what they made from Apple..

So, what's the take-away? Never sell your idea to someone else, always pursue your own dream? No, probably not: for every Apple, Google and Microsoft, there are thousands upon thousands of hopeful wannabe's who should have sold out if they had the chance.

No, I think the real lesson is to know what your dream really is. If it's just money, then you have to look at opportunities dispassionately, weigh the likelihood of success, and make your best decision. The two Steve's didn't get to make that decision, but if they had been able to sell their idea to Commodore, they might have been quite pleased with the results.

On the other hand, if you know right now that your real goal involves less tangible rewards (fame, running your own ship, changing the world, building the best darn whatever), selling out is almost always going to be the wrong move.. unless this sale is just a step along the way to something bigger, of course.

For me, it's all about holding the reins, steering the ship, doing what I want when I want to do it. Very little else is important to me. As fascinating as it might be to explore why one person seeks money while another seeks fame and yet another only wants control, the important thing - perhaps the most important thing - is to understand what YOU want out of life. If you don't know that, you can't make good decisions about anything.

Sounds silly, doesn't it? Who doesn't know what they want? Well, I suspect that a lot of people really do not know, or think they know but are wrong. Interestingly enough, Steve Jobs has shared some lessons he learned in that area. This was a Commencement address he gave at Stanford University in 2005. His advice includes:

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.

"Everything else is secondary". Indeed.

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