Stanford Commencement Speech

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, gave very substantial advice to graduating students at Stanford University today. At age 50, Jobs has gone through a lot of ups and downs in life, and one of the biggest examples of this was him being fired from the company he started almost 10 years later. Jobs addresses the challenges he’s had, how he overcame them, and how the lessons learned in his experiences can be applied to daily life in his commencement speech.

Jobs delivered his speech in three different themes, each of which having something to do with a major shift in his life. One of the biggest obstacles in his life came in 1985, when he was forced out of Apple after getting the organization up and running for 10 years. He called this segment of his speech a story about love and loss. He felt devastated afterwards and shared his thoughts with the graduating students:
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.
Bob Noyce, nicknamed “the Mayor of Silicon Valley” and David Packard were renowned technological innovators in Silicon Valley at the time. After meeting with them, Jobs felt that he could still do what he loved. His passion kept him going and years after founding his NeXT Company, he found his way back into Apple and where he is today. Jobs wanted the students to know that finding what they love is a very important part of life. “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.”

Another lesson that Jobs wanted the Stanford students to know is that the road to success isn’t immediate or lined up for anyone. He addressed this in another theme, which he called “connecting the dots”. Jobs dropped out of Reed College during his freshman year, to “drop in” on courses he found interesting and that would benefit him in the future. He specifically spoke on a calligraphy course that he took that didn’t have any application to his life at the time that he took it, but it helped him 10 years later when he designed the first Macintosh computer. He couldn’t connect those dots looking forward in college, but it became very clear to him once it needed to be. “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. 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.”

The last piece theme that Jobs spoke on was regarding death. In October 2003, he was diagnosed with cancer and was not expected to live as long as he has. Jobs knows that no day is promised for him, or anyone for that matter, and he uses that as a tool to make some of his very important decisions. It is a natural part of life, and rids of the old to make way for the next generation. “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.” The major piece of advice that Jobs had for the graduates is that in order to be the best person he or she could be, they must follow their hearts and intuitions no matter what obstacles get in the way.

Kittatinny, Pennsylvania Budget Story

Gustavus G. Petykiewicz, Mayor of Kittatinny, Pennsylvania held a news conference today regarding his proposed budget for 2016. The Susquehanna Steel Corporation, which is Kittatinny’s largest employer, decommissioned one of its blast furnace units. This resulted in a significant amount of job losses, and the city has lost $100 Million in industrial income.
Petykiewicz started the news conference with this statement, “There is a fiscal crisis in Kittatinny and we must respond to it.” He then proceeded to address some of the proposals that affect the citizens of Kittatinny, starting with the potential increased tax rate. The tax rate would be raised from four mills last year to 4.3 mills this year. This would be about $430 a year in taxes, which is only $30 more per year. The mayor acknowledged that 4.3 mills may not be enough to help and that if it were raised to five mills (about $500 a year in taxes), there would be a 25% increase in income for 2016. He would only consider raising the rate to five mills with the support of the community.
Mayor Petykiewicz also responded to garbage pickup being taken off of the tax levy. The charges would be added to citizens’ city water bills, adding about $30 a month towards their expenses. It was done to help reduce the city’s spending for 2016, and the mayor acknowledges that this will be discussed with the rest of the city council. Petykiewicz also proposed to freeze the salaries of himself and other city officials including police Chief Roman Hruska. He stated that he is willing to sacrifice and take a 10% pay cut to help reduce the city’s spending and is sure that other city officials are willing as well.

Roman Hruska, chief of police for the city of Kittatinny, was the next person available to answer questions for the media. He acknowledged the mayor’s proposal to cut off the police early shift (4 a.m. to noon) which would have emergency calls be handled on a contract basis by Schuylkill County sheriff’s deputies, totaling $35,332 in police contract services. “I cannot stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived of police protection for a third of each day,” Hruska said. He acknowledged that it would be the best time to cut off services, but it is also reducing time for officers to get paid. Petykiewicz is also proposing to lay off two police officers, which Hruska hopes is the last thing that should be done, and that they are hoping to avoid it. One way that it could be avoided is with a raise of the city’s tax rate to five mills, which the chief is also in favor of. Hruska also stated that the replacing of the 2005 police cruiser had to be done, as the old cruiser was 50,000 miles beyond its use. Chief Hruska was also in favor of taking a pay cut.
Denelda Penoyer, president of Kittatinny City Council, was also concerned with the loss of the early police shift, which would result in two job losses. She wants to find a way to keep all 10 jobs. She likes the alternative tax increase of five mills, and feels that it would save the police jobs. Penoyer feels that the majority of people can understand why a tax increase of that rate would be necessary, and continued her conference with an announcement of her own. The city council will be starting public hearings this week regarding the proposed budget. “If you have concerns about the budget, come in and talk to us, or contact us,” Penoyer said. She also added her thoughts on the opening of Tohickon Creek Plaza, which will bring $20 million in commercial income, stating that it would be a nice help in the short term. She feels that the equipment purchase of a weed removal vehicle for White Deer Lake could wait, and that she was also willing to take a pay cut for the sake of the city.

Martha Mittengrabben, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 644, was available to answer questions regarding potential layoffs of two AFSCME personnel in Kittatinny. When asked if they would be willing to reopen their contract for the sake of saving those two jobs, Mittengrabben responded “maybe”, and that they would be meeting tomorrow night to talk about it. “There must be a spirit of shared sacrifice”, she stated in regards to getting this done. She also feels that 5 mills is a good idea for the city tax rate, as it could save jobs and it’s only around eight extra dollars monthly for citizens. She hopes that the upcoming discussions will help make everyone happy with the budget.

Bjarne Westhoff, president of the Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34, was the last person made available to address the proposed budget. He deals with the contracts of the police officers of Kittatinny, and feels that the mayor is trying to “stick it to the chief” with the proposed cut of the early shift and increase of police citation income to $70,000. In order for the police to increase their citation income, they must write more tickets for citizens, resulting in some being unnecessary. Westhoff feels it’s unfair for officers and “not in their favor” to increase income with more citations. He also stated that contract won’t be reopened unless everyone else of the Local 34 agrees on it. Westhoff elaborated on the new police cruiser by sharing a story of how the car stalled last week during a traffic stop. If the five mills is necessary to save jobs, he also is willing to pay more in tax money. Westhoff acknowledged that sacrifices must be made to help the city out in its time of need, and is willing to take pay cuts since every other city official is willing to. The budget will continue to be discussed through the city council meetings this week, and one can only hope that these talks will be beneficial for the good of Kittatinny, as the budget must be signed in law by March 31, 2016.

Comeback season

For many people, an ACL injury can be difficult to come back from, but Adam Korpela is looking forward to the challenge.

Korpela is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater and is playing for their prestigious football program at the wide receiver position. He is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended St. Francis High School where he achieved All-State honors and played in the locally televised All-Star game.
The Warhawks have won a national championship in six of the last eight years. Also, eight alumni of the program have made it to the NFL to play professional football, which is a significant accomplishment coming from a Division III college.

With the Warhawks’ championship mentality, the Whitewater community has grown to have very high expectations for the team. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves because we have the talent,” Korpela said when asked about the team’s expectations for the 2015 season. “It was either Natty or bust for us this season.”

The team’s road to another national championship seemed to be going just fine, as they made it to the national semifinal with a 12-1 record. Korpela was a starter for the team and was able to get his first career receiving touchdown as a Warhawk.

His 2015 season was cut short due to an ACL and meniscus tear in week seven, which was just his first game back from a dislocated shoulder injury he got while playing against UW-Platteville three games prior. Korpela was devastated and upset that he wouldn’t be able to help his team defend the national championship.

He had to watch his team play from the sidelines for the rest of the season, and watched Mount Union put it to a crushing end with a 36-6 loss in the national semifinal game. The Warhawks came short of their championship expectations. The loss did nothing but add extra motivation for Korpela and his offseason journey towards a comeback.

“I can’t think about what I could have done for the team in that game if I wasn’t hurt. Dwelling on the past won’t get me anywhere.”

Korpela had surgery for his ACL injury in November and is currently rehabbing. When asked about his future plans with the ream he stated “All I can do is keep pushing myself to get better and come back next season stronger than ever.”