You probably don’t know who Steve Appleton was. He didn’t quite have a legendary cult-like following like Steve Jobs, but he still was a very prominent CEO in the technology industry, leading the helm of Micron Technology, Inc (NASDAQ: MU). Micron produces a variety of memory storage products, including the consumer brands Lexar and Crucial.
Unfortunately, today he joins Steve Jobs in the heavens.
Call it morbid but I find it interesting to read through the obituaries of high-stature CEOs and other top business execs. It’s not with dark or depressing intent; quite the opposite. I like to learn about these guys’ lives. To see more about the person beyond the ‘About Us’ tab on their respective website.
And without fail it leads me to ponder, “What will my obituary say?”
Not that one should ponder his/her death often, but I will say awareness gives excellent perspective. God willing, the advantage is we still have a choice of what it will say. Will it be a resume of our career? Will it say, “ehh…. welll, he always paid his bills on time!” Or will they have anything to write about at all? That can hit hard. I hope it does for you too.
I have a constant conflict in my mind between two sides of my personality. There’s the one that strives for achievement and reaching goals. My passion and highest energy gets laser focused at this side frequently. It’s what drives me to see just how much I’m capable of and to push on that wall. Then there’s the other side that reminds me to slow down and enjoy people, places and simply live. The side that can appreciate the endless ocean, a cold drink anchored up at Crab Island, the moments spent with close friends over a cigar or glass of The Godfather, playing rocketship with my nephew, our family Christmas Day bowling tradition, etc… It’s the part of me that recognizes life is finite and to spend it wisely.
The balance between these two is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for any who aspire to originality.
As for Mr. Appleton, you can read all about his expertise or how he worked his way up from the night-shift during college to CEO at 34. But I’d like to share about his person. As told by his friend, the Mayor of Boise, Idaho:
The guy is like the American Hero in a sense. He’s a self-made man, very competitive, incredible integrity. He was all about doing the best you could, striving to be the very best you could. His generosity in the tennis communict was large not only financially, but large in the amount of time he took out of his busy schedule to mentor the tennis teams. He took time with all the players, he came to the matches. He did volunteer time on the playground monitoring the kids. That says more than anything can about Steve Appleton.”
Here’s to chasing dreams and still making time to volunteer. Here’s to doing what you love, following your heart, even knowing there are risks to everything.
Here’s to quite simply, living.