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…value added…

October 7, 2011

I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fan of “buzzwords” and catch phrases used in business lingo.  Generally I feel as though they are just ways of talking around a subject.  A whole lot of mumbo jumbo with no real meaning.

Also, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an Apple girl, for all that I love my gadgets.

And yes, those two things will come together.  I promise.

I have owned one Apple project my entire life.  It was a thirty gig video iPod that was given to me by an employer.  It was my first mp3 player, and something I would never have considered buying for myself.

It was, to my mind at the time, a luxury. I would never have made that a part of my life until someone handed me one.  Inside a week, I was addicted to the idea of having my music collection in my pocket all the time.

However, as with all things electronic, it eventually died, about a week after its warranty ran out.  I looked into getting it fixed, but the person I spoke with at my local Apple retailer gave me an estimate I couldn’t choke down and instead, I went shopping.

I ended up buying a Zune that was double the capacity for about $50 more than the estimate to fix my iPod.  A lot of reasons went into that decision, including my dislike of Apple in general and the simple to use, more friendly user interface of the Zune.

Now, living in the Silicon valley, I’ve heard all manner of things about Apple.  I have friends who nearly worship at the altar of Apple.  I have other friends who despise Apple with a nearly visceral hatred.  I have heard amazing things about Steve Jobs.  I have heard not so amazing things about Steve Jobs.

I never met the man myself.  And my feelings on Apple as a whole are rather ambivalent.  However, when I look at what is being said about Jobs today, now that he has left this mortal plane, I have to concede that even if I do not own anything his company made, his existence added value to my life.

Value added is one of those buzzwords I was rambling about at the top of the post.  You hear it a lot in business, especially when it comes to process improvement, where the goal is to eliminate as much work that does not actually add value to the finished goods as possible.

It’s an interesting principle to apply to ourselves.  I look at the life of Steve Jobs and I see value added…not just to his own life, or his family’s lives, but to the world around him.  His innovation drove a generation forward.  The world of gadgets will never be the same…and I’m not being facetious.

What we do with those gadgets?  Well that will determine what value we’ve added I suppose.

So, I invite you to look at yourself today, at the work you’re doing, at the life you’re living, and ask yourself where you’re adding value to the process and where you’re just moving the process along.

I don’t need to save the world, but I would like it to be said of me, when I’ve moved on to the next, “she added value” to it.

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