Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Do I Get Free Wi-Fi?

Source:  "Ask Bigger Questions" by Keith Anderson.

In June 2011, Steve Jobs made a twenty-minute presentation to the Cupertino City Council to introduce Apple’s plans for a new corporate headquarters, affectionately known as “the mothership.” This presentation caught my attention because it happened on the heels of Jobs’s big introduction of OSX Lion, iOS5, and iCloud at the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. I laughed that even Steve Jobs had to deal with local politics, and I wondered how he would perform on someone else’s much smaller stage. So I watched.

He presented the new building to the City Council with his trademark charm. He talked about the architectural significance of the building, how it would create significantly more green space, the value of staying in his hometown of Cupertino and the accompanying economic benefits. Following his presentation, one of the city council members, inquiring about the benefit to the residents, asked Jobs — the Steve Jobs, the Edison of our time, the CEO of Apple, the second largest company in the world — “Do we get free Wi-Fi?”
Jobs responded by reiterating that Apple is the largest taxpayer in Cupertino, that it attracts bright and fairly affluent people (who also pay taxes), and that they are vastly increasing the green space. He concluded, “I think we bring a lot more than free Wi-Fi.” No kidding.

The memory of this presentation and exchange has remained with me, particularly since Jobs’s death, because of the valuable lesson I took from it. Most of the time our questions are too small.

No comments: