Mindfulness & My Reality Distrotion Field

I recently read an article highlighting the 30+ year relationship between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates including circa 1985 when Jobs accused Gates of ‘ripping off’ Apple when Microsoft released the Windows OS.

To which Gates replied: “If he believes that, he really has entered into one of his own reality distortion fields.

Reality distortion field (RDF) is a term coined by Bud Tribble at Apple Computer in 1981, to describe company co-founder Steve Jobs’ charisma and its effects on the developers working on the Macintosh project.

Tribble said that the term came from Star Trek. In The Menagerie episode, it was used to describe how the aliens created their own new world through mental force.

The RDF was said by Andy Hertzfeld to be Steve Jobs’ ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, appeasement and persistence.

planetmiller has its own reality distortion field that affects its inhabitants

Living on your own planet, the center of the universe in which you live, has a great many advantages, but there is also some downside. It is a position that develops a healthy ego which is reflected to the world as confidence.

I have begun to practice Mindfulness, involving intentionally bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, including being honest with yourself and others, which lead me to question how the planetmiller rdf effects my world.

There are two types of honest people, children and drunks.

Being the leader of a family (and a universe ;-) requires a certain amount of confidence. Entrepreneurs are required to question reality and Think Different to be successful.

But, am I being honest with myself and the people that I depend on and those that rely on me? Does distorting reality have a net positive effect on my world or am I lying to myself and the people around me? Has the rdf perverted my thinking to the point that I am no longer able to discern if I am telling the truth or lying?

Am I a person with integrity, living an honest life and making a contribution that has a positive effect on the world?

Seeking clarity, I began to evaluate Steven Jobs & Bill Gates, the companies they created, their achievements and how they affected people.

Steve Job’s reality distortion field contributed to his revolutionizing five different industries (Personal Computing, Animation, Music, Phones and Mobile Computing). Nearly one billion people own at least one product created by Jobs, fifty precent of US households own at least on Apple product, and the company has created more than five hundred thousand jobs.

Jobs disrupted five industries and the products he created set the standards for all others that followed.

Steve Jobs did not invent anything in the traditional sense, he never really took a completely original concept and personally brought it into existence and popularity purely through his own blood, sweat and tears.

Jobs had an incomparable ability to take an honest look into an industry and identify what it’s lacking and what customers would truly go crazy for, then make that vision a reality.

Neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates invented the graphical user interface. Doug Engelbart’s Augmentation of Human Intellect project at the Augmentation Research Center at SRI International in Menlo Park, California developed the oN-Line System (NLS). This computer incorporated a mouse-driven cursor and multiple windows used to work on hypertext. Engelbart’s work directly led to the advances at Xerox PARC. Several people went from SRI to Xerox PARC in the early 1970s. In 1973, Xerox PARC developed the Alto personal computer. It had a bitmapped screen, and was the first computer to demonstrate the desktop metaphor and graphical user interface (GUI). It was not a commercial product, but several thousand units were built and were heavily used at PARC, as well as other XEROX offices, and at several universities for many years.

When Jobs accused Gates of stealing the idea, he famously answered: “Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”

I don’t think either Jobs or Gates ‘stole’ the operating systems or the pointing device (mouse) that power the majority of personal computers in the world. The history lacks transparency and clarity on the issue is clouded by patented proprietary tech owned by their respective companies.

Until recently speculation has abounded around the predecessor to MS Windows DOS (Disk Operating System). In 1980 Microsoft famously licensed MS-DOS to, the the leading computer company, IBM. Personal Computers made by IBM, with Intel microprocessors, and the MS-DOS operating system dominated the market for nearly two decades.

While the details are unclear and Microsoft has consistently claimed that its ‘hands were clean’ on the matter, Gary Kildall, a pioneer in computer operating systems, wrote Control Program for Microcomputers (CP/M), the operating system used on many of the early hobbyist personal computers.

Bill Gates purchased QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) from Seattle Computer Products for $75,000, who had hired programer Tim Patterson to port its OS to the new Intel processors and was subsequently hired by Microsoft to modify QDOS into MS-DOS, which was licensed to IBM as PC-DOS.

Kildall maintained that QDOS, and subsequently MS-DOS, had been directly copied from CP/M and thus infringed on his copyright. This was Bill Gate’s inital contribution to the computing industry.

Honesty? Integrity?

Nearly three decades later, the tools exist to compare the code used to create the CP/M, QDOS and MS-DOS operating systems. An expert in the field, Bob Zeidman undertook the task of performing a forensic examination of the three products who was unable to find a connection between QDOS and the competing products.

Apple was the first company to commercialize the GUI and in many ways it’s OS is better than Microsoft’s Windows, but:

  • Microsoft Windows is used by 1.5 Billion people
  • MS Office is used by 1.2 Billions people
  • Microsoft’s consumer cloud services has 7.1 Million subscribers
  • Microsoft has sold nearly 100 Million Xbox consoles
  • Xbox Live has more than 48 Million members
  • 57% of Fortune 500 companies on Azure, seven of the top ten using Microsoft Dynamics, and 80% on the Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft has continued to innovate with its Surface hybrid computer devices, the concept technology of Surface has far-reaching potential, and appears to be leading the race in offering a cross-device operating system with Windows 10.

Microsoft provides substance to the argument that you do not have to be inventive nor do you have to product best-of-breed products to make a positive contribution that effects a significant number of people.

Both people are leaders in their industry and have made a significant contribution to the world.

Bill Gates dropped out of harvard, as well as Mark Zukerberg, Matt Damon, William Randolph Hearst & others). Steve Jobs opted to save his parents the expense of college by auditing courses at Reed and stated the creation of multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts for the Mac came from him dropping-in on a calligraphy course.

Neither would be described as having ‘winning personalities.’ In the 1980’s Bill Gates underwent a PR extreme makeover. Many would say that describing Steve Jobs’ personality as abrasive would be generous.

Steve Jobs lived on a hippy comune after dropping out of college and decided to travel through India in 1974 and to study Zen Buddhism. Jobs told a reporter once that taking LSD was “one of the two or three most important things” he did in his life.

The paths of both men support the idea that a distorted vision of what is commonly accepted as the right choices by society can lead to making contributions that have a postive impact on the world.

Our world is in a constant state of change. I lived in the same house from the time I was born until I went to college. My father worked for the same company for 32 years and retired with a gold watch, seriously. But that reality does not exist today.

The world has become a smaller place driven by improved transportation and the mass adoption of the Internet. People have exposure to and can seek global exposure and opportunties. I left America when the economy started to decline, moved to China when its economy was growing at double-digits and have lived here for more than a decade.

Millenials is the first generation expected not to financially beter than their parents. While the cost of a college education has continued to skyrocket, creating mountains of debt, 40% of graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. Those that do find employment change jobs every few years. Nobody is counting on social security to fund their retirement.

CONCLUSION: Our environment is in a constant state of change and we must change with it. It is time to think different, to question the norms of old sociaty, have what some might call a distorted vision of reality.

Stay tuned to my next post where I compare and contrast the achievements of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, share my thoughts of the effects of the planetmiller reality distortion field and the actions I am taking to live mindfully, with integrity, honesty and make contributions that will have a positive effect on the world in which we and our children live.