I was named after a swimming pool. Quite peculiarconsidering my parents never took to water. One of myfather’s earliest business contacts was Francis Adirubasamy. Hebecame a good friend of the family. I called him
Mamaji,mama being the Tamil word for uncle and ji being a suffixused in India to indicate respect and affection. When he was ayoung man, long before I was born, Mamaji was a championcompetitive swimmer, the champion of all
South India. Helooked the part his whole life. My brother Ravi once told methat when Mamaji was born he didn’t want to give up onbreathing water
and so the doctor, to save his life, had to takehim by the feet and swing him above his head round andround.
“It did the trick!” said Ravi, wildly spinning his hand abovehis head. “He coughed out water and started breathing air, butit forced all his flesh and
blood to his upper body. That’s whyhis chest is so thick and his legs are so skinny.”I believed him. (Ravi was a merciless teaser. The first timehe called
Mamaji “Mr. Fish” to my face I left a banana peel inhis bed.) Even in his sixties, when he was a little stooped anda lifetime of counter-obstetric gravity had
begun to nudge hisflesh downwards, Mamaji swam thirty lengths every morning atthe pool of the Aurobindo Ashram.
“She will not find my work dull, but it will be cold, for it may take her to the Bering Sea,” Mr. Howe informed them. “I expect to be ready for her soon.”
“It sounds no end exciting,” Roberta said and her eyes sparkled. A job that would take her to the Bering Sea appeared to have endless possibilities and she was keenly interested. Just then the phone rang and Mr. Trowbridge answered it.
“Your passenger has arrived,” he told Roberta.shlf1314
“I’ll go right down.”shlf1314
“See you later,” Mr. Howe called after her as she hurried away. Ten minutes later Nike,17 her own prize plane, was taxied to the edge of the field, where Roberta and her passenger, a tall, slender woman, whose flying costume,shlf1314
however, gave her huge proportions, waited. The machine came up just as Mr. Wallace and Mr. Howe, in the
for the further
end of the field.
There are two-toed sloths and there are three-toed sloths,the case being determined by the forepaws of the animals,since all sloths have three claws
on their hind paws. I had thegreat luck one summer of studying the three-toed sloth in situin the equatorial jungles of Brazil. It is a highly intriguingcreature. Its only real habit is indolence. It sleeps or rests
onaverage twenty hours a day. Our team tested the sleep habitsof five wild three-toed sloths by placing on their heads, in theearly evening after they had fallen asleep, bright red plasticdishes filled with water. We found them still in
place late thenext morning, the water of the dishes swarming with insects.
The sloth is at its busiest at sunset, using the word busy herein the most
relaxed sense. It moves along the bough of a treein its characteristic upside-down position at the speed ofroughly 400 metres an hour. On the ground, it crawls to itsnext tree at the rate of 250 metres an hour, when
motivated,which is 440 times slower than a motivated cheetah.
Unmotivated, it covers four to five metres in an hour.
“You aren’t announcing that you have been limiting yourself!” Roberta laughed.
“No, that isn’t my claim, but I have to confess that my limit is in sight,” he told her.
“Tough luck, Dad. Now, I am only getting well started,” Roberta said, then added to her mother, “If you drew prizes for all the good things you cook you
would have to have a museum for them as large as Colonel Lindbergh’s in St. Louis.”
“Second the motion,” Harvey put in, then went on to his young sister, “Who’s the lady you have been piloting along the coast the11 last couple of weeks?
Larry Kingsley told me she’s got loads of money and has taken to
taxiing about in
the air with
What other bright ideas do you have for your life?” I askedmyself.
Well, I still had a little money and I was still feelingrestless. I got up and walked out of the post office toexplore the south of India.
I would have liked to say, “I’m a doctor,” to those whoasked me what I did, doctors being the current purveyorsof magic and miracle. But I’m sure we would have had abus accident around the next bend, and ‘with all eyes
fixedon me I would have to explain, amidst the crying andmoaning of victims, that I meant in law; then, to theirappeal to help them sue the government
over the mishap, Iwould have to confess that as a matter of fact it was aBachelor’s in philosophy; next, to the shouts of whatmeaning such a bloody
tragedy could have, I would have toadmit that I had hardly touched Kierkegaard; and so on. Istuck to the humble, bruised truth.
Along the way, here and there, I got the response, “Awriter”? Is that so? I have a story for you.” Most times thestones were little more than anecdotes, short of breath andshort of life.
I arrived in the town of Pondicherry, a tinyself-governing union Territory south of Madras, on thecoast of Tamil Nadu. In population and size it is
aninconsequent part of India – by comparison, Prince EdwardIsland is a giant within Canada – but history has set itapart. For Pondicherry was once the
capital of that mostmodest of colonial empires, French India. The French wouldhave liked to rival the British, very much so, but the onlyRaj they
managed to get was a handful of small ports.
They clung to these for nearly three hundred years. Theyleft Pondicherry in 1954, leaving behind nice white buildings,broad streets at right angles to each
other, street namessuch as rue de la Marine and rue Saint-Louis, and kepis,caps, for the policemen.
Apple resisted licensing out the Macintosh operating system until 1994, when CEO Michael Spindler allowed two small companies, Power Computing and
Radius, to make Macintosh clones. When Gil Amelio took over in 1996, he added Motorola to the list. It turned out to be a dubious business strategy:
Apple got an $80 licensing fee for each computer sold, but instead of expanding the market, the cloners cannibalized the sales of Apple’s own high-
it made up to
$500 in profit.
The descriptions burst with colour, contrast and tellingdetail. Really, your story can only be great. But it all addsup to nothing. In spite of the obvious, shining promise of it,there comes a moment when you realize that the
whisperthat has been pestering you all along from the back ofyour mind is speaking the flat, awful truth: it won’t work.
An element is missing, that spark that brings to life a realstory, regardless of whether the history or the food is right.
Your story is emotionally dead, that’s the crux of it. Thediscovery is something soul-destroying, I tell you. It leavesyou with an aching hunger.
From Matheran I mailed the notes of my failed novel. Imailed them to a
fictitious address in Siberia, with a returnaddress, equally fictitious, in Bolivia. After the clerk hadstamped the envelope and thrown it into a sorting bin, Isat down, glum and disheartened. “What now, Tolstoy?
Bill Gates, who was building a fortune by licensing Microsoft’s operating system, had urged Apple to do the same in 1985, just as Jobs was being eased out. Gates believed that, even if Apple took away some of Microsoft’s
operating system customers, Microsoft could make money by creating versions of its applications software, such as Word and Excel, for the users of
the Macintosh and its clones. “I was trying to do everything to get them to be a strong licensor,” he recalled. He sent a formal memo to Sculley making the
case. “The industry has reached the point where it is now impossible for Apple to create a standard out of their innovative technology without
support from, and the resulting credibility of, other personal computer manufacturers,” he argued. “Apple should license Macintosh technology to
3–5 significant manufacturers for the development of ‘Mac Compatibles.’” Gates got no reply, so he wrote a second memo suggesting some companies
that would be good at cloning the Mac, and he added, “I want to
help in any
way I can with the
give me a call.”
That month Amelio had to face the annual stockholders meeting and explain why the results for the final quarter of 1996 showed a 30% plummet in sales
from the year before. Shareholders lined up at the microphones to vent their anger. Amelio was clueless about how poorly he handled the meeting. “The
presentation was regarded as one of the best I had ever given,” he later wrote. But Ed Woolard, the former CEO of DuPont who was now the chair of the
Apple board (Markkula had been demoted to vice chair), was appalled. “This is a disaster,” his wife whispered to him in the midst of the session. Woolard
agreed. “Gil came dressed real cool, but he looked and sounded silly,” he recalled. “He couldn’t answer the questions, didn’t know what he was talking about, and didn’t inspire any confidence.”
Woolard picked up the phone and called Jobs, whom he’d never met. The pretext was to invite him to Delaware to speak to DuPont executives. Jobs
declined, but as Woolard recalled, “the request was a ruse in order to talk to him about Gil.” He steered the phone call in that direction and asked Jobs
point-blank what his impression of Amelio was. Woolard remembers Jobs being somewhat circumspect, saying that Amelio was not in the right job. Jobs recalled being more blunt:
I thought to myself, I either tell him the truth, that Gil is a bozo, or I lie by omission. He’s on the board of Apple, I have a duty to tell him what I think; on the other hand, if I tell him, he will tell Gil, in which case Gil will never listen
to me again, and he’ll fuck the people I brought into Apple. All of this took place in my head in less than thirty seconds. I finally decided that I owed this
guy the truth. I cared deeply about Apple. So I just let him have it. I said this guy is the worst CEO I’ve ever seen, I think if you needed a license to be a CEO
he wouldn’t get one. When I hung up the
phone, I thought,
I probably just
did a really
But Cao Cao said to Zhang Liao, “He has rejected all I gave him, so bribes were powerless with him in whatever shape. I have the GREatest respect for such as him. He has not yet gone far, and I will try to strengthen his attachment to me and make one appeal to sentiment. Ride after him and beg him to stop till I can come up and bid farewell and offer him a sum of money for his expenses and a fighting robe, that he may remember me kindly in after days.”
So Zhang Liao rode out quite alone. Cao Cao followed him leisurely with an escort of a score or so.
Now the steed that Guan Yu rode was Red Hare, and it was very fast. No one could have come up with him but that there was the ladies’ carriage to escort, and so Red Hare had to be held in and go slow. Suddenly Guan Yu heard a shout behind him, a voice crying, “Go slowly, Guan Yu！”
He turned and made out the person to be Zhang Liao. Ordering the pushers of the carriage to press on along the high road, he reined in his steed, held the GREen-dragon saber ready for a stroke, and waited for Zhang Liao to come up.
“Of course you have come to take me back, Zhang Liao？” said Guan Yu.
“No； the Prime Minister, seeing that you are going a long journey, wishes to see you on your way and told me to hasten forward and beg you to wait till he can come up. That is the only thing.”
“Seeing that he is coming along with mailed men, I shall fight to the very last,” said Guan Yu.
And he took up his position on a bridge where he waited the approach of the party, who advanced quickly. Four of Cao Cao’s generals, Xu Chu, Xu Huang, Yu Jin, and Li Dian, followed close. Seeing Guan Yu was ready to fight, Cao Cao ordered his escort to open out in two lines, and then it was seen they carried no arms. This relieved his mind, for it proved to Guan Yu they meant no attack.
“Why do you go in such haste, Guan Yu？” asked Cao Cao.
Guan Yu inclined his head but did not dismount, saying, “I informed you in writing that since my lord was in the North of Yellow River, I had to leave at once. I went to your palace again and again but was refused admittance. So I wrote a letter of farewell, sealed up the treasure, resigned my lordship seal, and left everything for you. I hope you recall the promise you once made me.”
Cao Cao replied, “My desire is to keep my troth with all people.
I cannot go back on my word. However,
you may find the journey expensive,
and therefore I have here prepared a sum of money to help you.”
Sun Qian had joined Guan Yu in escorting the two ladies, and they were on the road to Runan when
Xiahou Dun suddenly determined to pursue. So with a couple of hundred horse, Xiahou Dun set out.
When Xiahou Dun was seen approaching, Guan Yu bade Sun Qian go ahead with the carriage while he remained to deal with the pursuers.
When they were near enough, Guan Yu said, “In coming after me thus you do not reinforce the magnanimity of your master！”
Replied Xiahou Dun, “the Prime Minister has sent no definite instructions. You have caused
the death of several people, among them one of my commanders,
and so I have come to capture you！ You have behaved most grossly. The Prime Minister will decide.”
thereupon Xiahou Dun dashed forward with his spear ready to thrust.
But at that moment a rider came up behind him at full gallop, crying, “You must not fight with Guan Yu！”
Guan Yu stayed his steed at once and waited.
the messenger came up, drew from his bosom an official letter, and said to Xiahou Dun, “The Prime Minister loves General Guan Yu for his
loyalty and honor, and fearing lest Guan Yu might be stopped at the various passes, he sent me with this letter to show when necessary at any point on the road.”
“But this Guan Yu has slain several commanders of the passes. Does the Prime Minister know that？” said Xiahou Dun.
the messenger said these things were unknown.
“then,” said Xiahou Dun, “I will arrest him and take him to the Prime Minister, who may set him free or not as he wills.”
“Do you think I fear anything you can do？” said Guan Yu getting wrathful.
And he rode forward. Xiahou Dun, nothing loth, set his spear
and prepared for battle.
they met and had reached the tenth encounter when a second horseman came up at full speed, crying, “Generals, wait a little！”
Xiahou Dun stayed his hand and asked the messenger, saying, “Am I to arrest him？”
“No,” replied the messenger. “Fearing lest he should have
difficulties at the passes, the Prime Minister has sent me with a dispatch to say he is to be released.”
“Did the Prime Minister know that he had slain several commanders on the way？”
“He did not know！”
“Since he was ignorant of that, I may not let this Guan Yu go,” and Xiahou Dun gave the signal to his men to close in round Guan Yu.
But Guan Yu flourished his sword and made to attack them and a fight was again imminent, when a third rider appeared,
Jobs came up with a brilliant jujitsu maneuver against Gates, one that could have changed the balance of power in the computer industry forever. It required Jobs to do two things that were against his nature: licensing out his
software to another hardware maker and getting into bed with IBM. He had a pragmatic streak, albeit a tiny one, so he was able to overcome his reluctance.
But his heart was never fully in it, which is why the alliance would turn out to be short-lived.
It began at a party, a truly memorable one, for the seventieth birthday of the Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham in June 1987 in Washington.
Six hundred guests attended, including President Ronald Reagan. Jobs flew in from California and IBM’s chairman John Akers from New York. It was the
first time they had met. Jobs took the opportunity to bad-mouth Microsoft and attempt to wean IBM from using its Windows operating system. “I
couldn’t resist telling him I thought IBM was taking a giant gamble betting its entire software strategy on Microsoft, because I didn’t think its software was very good,” Jobs recalled.
To Jobs’s delight, Akers replied, “How would you like to help us?” Within a few weeks Jobs showed up at IBM’s Armonk, New York, headquarters with his
software engineer Bud Tribble. They put on a demo of NeXT, which impressed the IBM engineers. Of particular significance was NeXTSTEP, the machine’s
object-oriented operating system. “NeXTSTEP took care of a lot of trivial programming chores that slow down the software development process,” said
Andrew Heller, the general manager of IBM’s workstation
unit, who was so
impressed by Jobs
that he named his
newborn son Steve.
In A Plum Garden, Cao Cao Discusses Heroes;
Using The Host’s Forces, Guan Yu Takes Xuzhou.
“Who is it？” was the question on the lips of the conspirators.
Ma Teng’s reply was, “the Imperial Protector of Yuzhou, Liu Bei. He is here and we will ask him to help.”
“Though he is an uncle of the Emperor, he is at present a partisan of our enemy, and he will not join,” said Dong Cheng.
“But I saw something at the hunt,” said Ma Teng. “When Cao Cao advanced to acknowledge the congratulations due to the Emperor, Liu Bei’s sworn brother Guan Yu was behind him, and grasped his sword as if to cut down Cao Cao. However, Liu Bei signed to him to hold his hand and Guan Yu did. Liu Bei would willingly destroy Cao Cao, only he thinks Cao Cao’s teeth and claws are too many. You must ask Liu Bei, and he will surely consent.”
Here Wu Shi urged caution, saying, “Do not go too fast. Let us consider the thing most carefully.”
they dispersed. Next day after dark Dong Cheng went to Liu Bei’s lodging taking with him the decree. As soon as Dong Cheng was announced, Liu Bei came to GREet him and led him into a private room where they could talk freely. The two younger brothers were there as well.
“It must be something unusually important that has brought Uncle Dong Cheng here tonight,” said Liu Bei.
“If I had ridden forth by daylight, Cao Cao might have suspected something, so I came by night.”
Wine was brought in, and while they were drinking, Dong Cheng said, “Why did you check your brother the other day at the hunt, when he was going to attack Cao Cao？”
Liu Bei was startled and said, “How did you know？”
“Nobody noticed but I saw.”
Liu Bei could not prevaricate and said, “It was the presumption of the man that made my brother so angry. Guan Yu could not help it.”
the visitor covered his face and wept.
“Ah,” said he, “if all the court ministers were like Guan Yu, there would be no sighs for lack of tranquillity.”
Now Liu Bei felt that possibly Cao Cao had sent his visitor to try him, so he cautiously replied, “Where are the sighs for lack of tranquillity while Cao Cao is at the head of affairs？”
Dong Cheng changed color and rose from his seat.
“You, Sir, are a relative of His Majesty,
and so I showed you my inmost feelings. Why did you mislead me？”
But Liu Bei said, “Because I feared you might be misleading me,
and I wanted to find out.”
No detail was too small. Jobs went over the invitation list and even the lunch menu (mineral water, croissants, cream cheese, bean sprouts). He picked out a video projection company and paid it $60,000 for help. And he hired the
postmodernist theater producer George Coates to stage the show. Coates and Jobs decided, not surprisingly, on an austere and radically simple stage look. The unveiling of the black perfect cube would occur on a starkly minimalist
stage setting with a black background, a table covered by a black cloth, a black veil draped over the computer, and a simple vase of flowers. Because
neither the hardware nor the operating system was actually ready, Jobs was urged to do a simulation. But he refused. Knowing it would be like walking a tightrope without a net, he decided to do the demonstration live.
them on television, he said, “I was finishing their sentences for them.” It was a line eerily similar to one Sculley had often used. Perot called Jobs the next day and offered, “If you ever need an investor, call me.”
Jobs did indeed need one, badly. But he was careful not to show it. He waited a week before calling back. Perot sent some of his analysts to size up NeXT, but Jobs took care to deal directly with Perot. One of his great regrets in life,
Perot later said, was that he had not bought Microsoft, or a large stake in it, when a very young Bill Gates had come to visit him in Dallas in 1979. By the time Perot called Jobs, Microsoft had just gone public with a $1 billion
valuation. Perot had missed out on the opportunity to make a lot of money and have a fun adventure. He was eager not to make that mistake again.
Jobs made an offer to Perot that was three times more costly than had quietly been offered to venture capitalists a few months earlier. For $20 million,
Perot would get 16% of the equity in the company, after Jobs put in another $5 million. That meant the company would be valued at about $126 million. But money was not a major consideration for Perot. After a meeting with
Jobs, he declared that he was in. “I pick the jockeys, and the jockeys pick the horses and ride them,
” he told Jobs. “
You guys are the
ones I’m betting on,
so you figure it out.”