Kindled Meme

– exploring the purpose of connection

on being Steve Jobs.. on delusion and achieving




“There’s a certain delusional quality that all successful people have to have….you have to believe that something different can happen.” Will Smith.


I struggle with a book I was told to read which alludes to teach the secrets of Steve Jobs presentation technique. He is Mr Success, right? He is the guy we all have to model… But the book fails to point out you have to presuppose you are Steve Jobs first to do what Steve Jobs does. That you are the visionary. That you build the platform for possibilities. That you have the power to direct and shape tectonic change. Without these beliefs there was no Steve Jobs. Without this mindset embedded you cannot present like him. Maybe you also have to be a tyrant – demanding, controlling, vindictive, paranoid and driven to the edge of reason.

You can model his deck but can you model his mind?

The battle between Gates and Jobs frames the mindset – and both are successful – and both are different. A difference (between them) that makes the difference in how we are provoked and inspired by Steve alone.

I like this video from 1983… watch Jobs and Gates tango. Gates was already Steves bitch. Its kind of uncomfortable.  And this is a long game – not a one off twist. If you want to present like Steve Jobs you can chunk it down and look at the keynotes but the context was much bigger than the PPT (ahem.. Keynote) deck. It was a dance that started at high school and waltzed on for 30 years.


Also on delusion…

There are people that talk of the “air sandwich” between strategic dreamers and operational reality. Implying this gap needs to be closed for business to be more effective – or to ease the pain. But in reality this gap is liberating for those shaking up business.

This gap exists with top sales guys – they are unrealistic and unhinged and drive you nuts – but successful. Those without that delusion merely hit the numbers. The crazies deliver bigger. And that is often a good thing.

So long live the crazy ones. Fuck reality.

Learn to love and sit with the delusional ones – suspend your discomfort. Maybe be one.


On Will Smith….

When I read the Will Smith quote I think about him in Pursuit of Happiness movie – playing Chris Gardener . Jeez, that film is brutal. It terrifies me. He sure lived belief, grit and resilience. I expect it was a bit of anesthetising delusion helped keep him going. But he won and thank god he did.

I hope I never need that delusional quality as much as Chris did.





Author: jameslramsay

Practice director at the ShelfLife project - digital by day, campfire by night

2 thoughts on “on being Steve Jobs.. on delusion and achieving

  1. Hi James,
    Actually I read the book you mention, but after several steps in learning and practicing how to deliver a message through public speaking. One book is not enough, I complemented my own education, besides the practical aspects of the Toastmasters clubs (found worldwide) where you can practice public speaking and how to deliver presentations. This book did highlight some important aspects of delivering a convincing message. I practiced the techniques and suddenly whenever I made presentations at my own company, many people from other departments came for the pleasure of listening to the presentations. People can achieve it, not need to be delusional, although i do believe that a dose of delusion helps to get one in the path. We can think on going to the moon, perhaps thinking that way we reach the clouds 🙂

  2. Hey Alexandre!

    I find the book has spoiled me forever – it has set some expectation of the How and What that I want in a presentation – when I see other presentations that miss these tricks Im so disheartened…

    What we all know is that to be a presenter in the zone we have to be our selves – thats the best gift we can give an audience

    I like that people came to see your presentations for pleasure. That is a great image. Bravo!


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