domingo, 28 de fevereiro de 2010

Memorabe quote - "Life or Something Like It" - Prophet Jack

"Live each day as if it was your last; one day, it will."

sexta-feira, 26 de fevereiro de 2010

"You've got to find what you love", por Steve Jobs - CEO Apple & Pixar

Nem o texto nem o vídeo são novos - datam de 12 de Junho de 2005, data em que Steve Jobs, CEO da Apple Computer e da Pixar Animations Studios se dirigiu a uma plateia de recém-licenciados da Universidade de Stanford com um discurso feito de saber adquirido ao longo da sua vida. Também eu já tinha ouvido falar do tema, até em palestras a que já tive oportunidade de assistir e que o referiram, sem contudo consumar a pesquisa e visionamento. Inspirador foi o termo escolhido para descrição pelo amigo que gentilmente o partilhou comigo esta semana. Se facilitar a que mais pessoas o conheçam, óptimo, aqui fica.

"I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much."


segunda-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2010

Guerreiros Jedi de rabiosque ao léu

Há dias alguém me dizia que poderia enveredar pelo ofício de crítica de cinema. Simpático. Se como assessora de comunicação a coisa não começar a render milhares rapidamente posso sempre ir ver filmes à pala e deslocar-me ao estrangeiro para entrevistar estrelas da Sétima Arte. Mas como nada é perfeito, na mesma conversa aproveitou-se a oportunidade para me ser apontada uma aresta a necessitar ser limada: o facto de comentar apenas os filmes que me merecem avaliação positiva. Pela amostra que neste espaço disponibilizo, outro remédio não tive senão assentir, mas retive o reparo e aqui estou para lhe dar o justo seguimento, desbravando caminho à conta de uma película recente que em muito me desiludiu - “The Men Who Stare at Goats”.

Este foi nitidamente o caso de uma excelente selecção de conteúdo para trailer que, tendo criado expectativas altas, não se consumou na versão integral, o que me levou a pensar, pela primeira vez este ano, em barrete.

No que diz respeito ao casting, nada a apontar, não fosse ele ser o primeiro a sofrer da insipiência do argumento pelo qual concordaram dar a cara - e não só: Mister Nespresso também mostra o rabiosque. George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey e Stephan Lang - o mesmo de “Avatar” - pareciam prometer horinha e meia de bons desempenhos, com a diferença face a películas anteriores a consumar-se no texto parolo que um filme com semelhante título faz antever. E em verdade, os homens até cumprem, mas à mesma fica a sensação de “fraquinho”...

Clooney reitera a postura de brincalhão carismático com a qual já reservou o seu lugar ao Sol; Bridges enquadra-se que nem luva na condição de militar hippie, talvez por sempre ter sido algo bananinha; Spacey continua o verdadeiro sacana que todos adoramos e McGregor, eternamente o tipo de quem se gosta, não parece ganhar expressão quando comparado com as personagens mais absurdas que o rodeiam e que insistentemente o procuram atirar para um estado próximo da insanidade. Qualquer comédia precisa de um ‘certinho’, o ‘cromo’ com o qual todos se metem, mas não necessariamente que este seja tão facilmente relegado para um plano terciário, quase esquecido.

Com realização de Grant Heslov, “The Men Who Stare at Goats” é, a meu ver, uma comédia superficialmente satírica, já que a meio da farsa ficam no ar pertinentes questões sobre a indústria da guerra. Para quem visa passar um bom bocado na sala, o filme sobrevive à avaliação com um andamento ritmado e pontuais cenas dignas de gargalhada sonora. Contudo, não deixo de pensar que pessoalmente esperava algo mais substancial… E vai daí, pensar que se trata de um filme em que homens – mais concretamente militares com capacidades paranormais, monges combatentes, guerreiros Jedi e mais que lhes ocorra - tentam matar cabras através da mente… Afinal talvez seja tão substancial quanto uma trama como esta possa realmente ser. Ainda que se trate de cinema!

sábado, 20 de fevereiro de 2010

Perú | Estádio 1 - Preparativos

Já várias vezes ouvi dizer que uma das melhores partes de uma viagem tem que ver não com a chegada ao destino propriamente dito, mas com os aprestos que este, dependendo do grau de organização, implica.

Este é o momento em que se pesquisam milestones, se investigam ligações de transporte, se comparam locais para estadia, se lista o equipamento necessário, se estimam custos... Basicamente 'googla-se' desenfreadamente, em busca do esqueleto perfeito para o que se pretende que seja uma viagem de sucesso. E logicamente, quanto mais tempo e mais distância a saída implica, maior é o investimento nos preparativos.

A alguns meses de voar para o outro lado do mundo, é exactamente neste ponto em que me encontro. A ideia já existia há algum tempo; daí em diante foi uma questão de encontrar mais gente disposta a embarcar na mesma aventura, tratar de redireccionar parte das poupanças para o objectivo e, em conjunto, arrepiar caminho por entre páginas oficiais de turismo, blogues de mochileiros, secções de montanhismo em lojas de desporto, ao mesmo tempo que ficamos mais atentos às notícias que chegam do local. Infelizmente não têm sido as melhores - o mau tempo também causa estragos naquelas bandas.

De uma forma ou de outra, sinto-me expectante. E sortuda. Para grande parte das pessoas do meu círculo de conhecimento, o plano que desenhei para Agosto não passa de um sonho partilhado que jamais verão concretizado, mesmo que estivessem em causa moldes menos ambiciosos. Existem obstáculos. Surgem constrangimentos. Fazem-se opções. Preterem-se oportunidades. Escolhem-se caminhos. Por ora, o meu faz fronteira com as referências a sacos-cama térmicos q.b., pastilhas purificadoras de água, ponchos, pilhas a dinâmo...

Cansaço bom

Até recentemente não compreendia o porquê de tantas almas, logo cedo pela manhã ao fim-de-semana, a andar, a correr ou a passar de bicicleta, com uma expressão de realização tremenda, como se o cansaço resultante dessas actividades fosse a segunda melhor coisa do mundo, logo a seguir a... dormir, por exemplo.

Com as caminhadas apercebi-me que, estranhamente, pode ser muito revigorante consumir a energia que temos e não temos a subir escarpas, a descer valados, a transpor cercas e a atravessar povoados, carregando às costas o lanchinho da ordem e conversando sobre tudo e umas botas - que também fazem parte do equipamento base - com a companhia do dia.

Mas nem sempre o tempo propicia passeios do género, o que em parte me levou a comprar uma 'bina' que, por estes dias, tem tido efeitos fantásticos nos meus tempos livres. À bonita hora a que me deitei ontem já era hoje, bem cedo por sinal, mas nada que me impedisse de às 09h30 já estar equipada e pronta a explorar a Mata da Machada em duas rodas. Duas horinhas e pouco ao pedal resultaram em praticamente 15 km de exercício suado e algumas mazelas típicas, mas também numa sensação de cansaço bom, se é que pode ser explicado assim.

Já no fim-de-semana passado fiz um percurso pela zona ribeirinha do Barreiro que me deu um gozo tremendo, além de boas oportunidades para fotografias que em nenhum outro momento tiraria. Conhecem-se sítios que normalmente passam despercebidos e há que convir, parar literalmente onde nos apetece é excelente - e ninguém apita nem insulta.

quarta-feira, 3 de fevereiro de 2010

Do livro de versos de Henley

Com "Invictus", Clint Eastwood volta a marcar pontos na minha cine-consideração. O homem insiste em trazer-nos boas histórias e quantas mais vemos, mais certos ficamos de que voltaremos a ver. "Mystic River" (Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, Lawrence Fishburne), "Million Dollar Baby" (Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman), "Changeling"(Angelina Jolie), "Gran Torino" (com o próprio Clint em cabeça de cartaz)... E recuei apenas um par de anos.

Neste caso, a sequência de abertura dá o mote a todo o enredo: África do Sul nos anos imediatamente pós-apartheid; Nelson Mandela atravessa de carro uma estrada que divide dois campos - de um lado, um grupo de rapazes brancos, equipados como deve, praticam rugby na relva sob direcção do seu treinador; do outro, um grupo de negros tresmalhados corre de pé descalço num campo poeirento, sem postes nem linhas. O comentário do treinador à agitação dos rapazes que festejam a libertação de Mandela não se faz esperar, curto e grosso. Genial. Com menos de um minuto de filme Clint Eastwood apresenta toda a envolvente política necessária à compreensão de largos meses de acontecimentos.

Morgan Freeman e Matt Damon são as estrelas de "Invictus" mas é em Mandela 'Madiba' que ficamos a pensar quando a fita acaba. Vinte e sete anos de pena com base em acusações relacionadas com o seu activismo anti-apartheid. Dezoito dos quais passados entre trabalhos forçados e uma cela de Robben Island. O primeiro presidente sul-africano eleito em eleições democráticas, entenda-se, representativas. Prémio Nobel da Paz em 1993. Um homem cuja contribuição para a paz e a tolerância no mundo não tem homóloga e que, contudo, não consegue arrancar uma palavra de compaixão ou um sorriso à própria filha.

O que seguramente me vai ficar dos 133 minutos de filme não é a vitória sofrida dos Springbok, nem tão pouco a dança maori dos All Blacks, mas a mensagem do poema do escritor inglês William Ernest Henley, de que 'Madiba' se apropria para inspirar um capitão de equipa e toda uma nação.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

terça-feira, 2 de fevereiro de 2010

Muito cuidado... Alguém pode estar a LER...

Logo agora que me tinha convencido de que podia achincalhar tudo e mais alguma coisa publicamente e em regime de perfeita e total impunidade, saem-se com esta... Não há direito!

Fica o artigo publicado pelo jornal Diário de Notícias a 27 de Janeiro último, no qual juristas da nossa praça discutem a possibilidade das sanções a comentários prejudiciais em redes sociais poderem ir de processos disciplinares a despedimentos... Mas não serão estas as conversas de café dos tempos modernos, já alguém perguntou...