Focus – Not Only Steve Jobs

It seems that Steve Jobs attained a monopoly on the idea of being focused, as many of the articles I read lately on the subject refer to or quote him. Here’s the latest one of them.

I might be breaking some unwritten law now, quoting someone else’s take on what being focused means. I ran into this line in Ayn Rand‘s book The Art of Nonfiction:

When I was writing Atlas Shrugged, I accepted neither day nor evening appointments, with rare exceptions, for roughly thirteen years.

I like this example because not only does it demonstrate extreme focus, suitable for an extreme individual as Rand, but also discipline and persistency. These are complementary qualities without them focus is meaningless. Indeed, Rand’s isolation wasn’t in vain, as it allowed the creation of a book that became an instant bestseller.

Steve Jobs would have liked this example as well, as he himself may have been inspired by Atlas Shrugged when starting Apple…

Ekko for iOS

Ekko is a true “news reader” app – it actually reads the news to you. Not only will it speak headlines and stories, but it will also listen to your voice instructions. Say “headlines”, and it will read the top headlines; “play” 1, and it will read an entire article; “ekko” and it will stop reading and wait for your next instruction. It’s like having Siri as your personal news anchor.

The company that developed Ekko is Intelligence Interactive. It’s a small NYC based startup, and I’m part of its advisory board. My help revolves mainly around product strategy, and Ekko is the first fruit of that collaboration. There’s hardly anything as satisfying as turning an idea into a real product, especially one that’s getting warm reviews.

Footnotes:

1

When you say “play”, you should add a keyword from the headline, so Ekko can infer which headline you’re trying to select.