Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs and the Yankees

There's something poetic about the death of Steve Jobs and the Yankees elimination from the post-season occurring within a day or so. Jobs and the Bronx Bombers were/are all about competing, trying to be the best you can be. Jobs and the late George Steinbrenner, in fact, had a lot in common. Both were maniacal leaders, caustic and often angry when things didn't go their way. The petulance was part of their personalities, and nothing was ever going to change that. They cared not about being liked; they cared about inspiring whoever worked for them to step up their game. I'll wager that even those who couldn't stand their style or their behavior respected them anyway. Yes, neither guy was particularly politically correct, and every journalist in the world knew they'd speak their mind. Jobs and George were "good quotes."

I'm not going to quote any Jobs in this blog -- he's been quoted enough, especially in his Stanford commencement speech, which will soon be known as the "Gettysburg Address of Silicon Valley." Say what you want about Jobs, but one thing everyone knew: he hated losing. Who else would fight a name-copyright lawsuit with the Beatles' brand with such vigor?

It's hard to be a Yankee fan in these times of corporate money grubbing, but I fell in love with this team as a little boy simply because they always won. After ARod struck out to end the season, I flipped off the tube and just thought about Billy Beane's great quote: The only thing that counts is winning the last game of the season. Derek Jeter said it best this morning when he talked about winning or losing. It's black and white.

So what's the point? We all compete, whether we like it or not, and less with others than we do with ourselves.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Damon Runyon, who knew a few things about winning and losing, and a whole lot more about odds-making and gambling: "All life is 6-5 against." Grab it while you can.

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