Steve Jobs compels me to ponder Hawaii Life

When the Steve Jobs biography was released, I did the unthinkable (as a UCLA English major) and judged the book by it’s cover. Actually, it wasn’t the cover per se, it was the sheer size of the book – I could just feel all that paper weighing me down, and having heard the Steve Job’s story “live” my entire life, I wasn’t that motivated to read a bunch of stuff (on paper) I’d already lived through.

Cabo San Lucas, (where I finally listened to Steve Jobs' biography)


Yes, the book is full of stories and people we know, but it is also full of some wonderful connections to Hawaii: Jobs, Ellison, Benioff all used to hold off-site meetings at the Kona Village on the Big Island. Now Ellison owns most of Lanai and Benioff a home on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast. It makes me think of that old joke, “Can I sell you a bridge?” Yes, Virginia, there is a bridge from the Big Island to the Silicon Valley – it’s called a gulfstream. Or the Kona Shuttle!

Job’s biography is also full of some great philosophy – one concept in particular resonated soundly with Hawaii Life’s company culture:  The entire package matters, not just the outside.

Unquestionably, Jobs and Apple are synonymous with external design excellence, but as Dave pointed out, when you open up an Apple machine the screws are of the highest quality, the layout is organized – the chips are in order. At Hawaii Life, we’ve “got” the external – we have beautiful listings, some of the brightest and best Brokers and Salespeople work with us, and we do incredible things like volunteer with every REALTOR® Association in the State, and win lots of awards.

We’ve also “got” the internal wired – I realize that goes against most people’s preconceived notions about a “startup company” – but the truth is despite our phenomenal growth and success, Hawaii Life is still highly organized, efficient and laid out beautifully on the inside. This goes for our policies and procedures, human resources and staff, as well as the actual technology aspects of the company. We know what matters.

Our Princeville office was recently renovated to be Headquarters for just staff – it’s clean, efficient and gorgeous. Brokers-In-Charge meet regularly on GoTo Meeting video conferences so we can see each others’ pretty faces. We have an amazing creative department that continues to track down, root out and correct procedural inefficiencies. PropertyBase has been the loveliest technology roll out at Hawaii Life thus far – and it has already done a tremendous amount on the inside to streamline, protect and preserve our contracts and paperwork. Without harming any trees.

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10 Responses to “Steve Jobs compels me to ponder Hawaii Life”

  1. Ken Molina
    October 23, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    See you on Maui soon for more training in our hopefully ready to use office! Aloha

    • Katie Minkus, R(BIC)
      October 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      Looking forward to it, Ken!! (and maybe another meal?? huh? huh?? huh???)

  2. Todd Barrett, R(S)
    October 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Insightful and poignant as always Katie. I hope you’ll indulge my favorite Jobs quote:

    “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” – Steve Jobs

    • Katie Minkus, R(B)
      October 24, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      Aloha Todd – we think so much alike, I’m totally with you on that quote – also one of my favorites. When my mom died of cancer at age 57 (I was 28) I had no idea what a gift it would be to live the past 16 years with the perspective that we’ll all be dead soon. Without a doubt it has shaped my life choices and in fact, we wouldn’t live in Hawaii now if it weren’t for being able to so clearly discern what is truly important in life. Mahalo for sharing!

  3. Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)
    October 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    Katie, I downloaded to my iPad when I went to Europe in May, but like you got overwhelmed by the size of it. I finally read the book when I was on vacation last month and was happy I did.

    What actually strikes me most about the comparison between Apple (especially early days) and Hawaii Life is the feeling that you aren’t just doing a job, you are doing something important.

    That maybe the client didn’t even know they wanted their computing/real estate needs to be met with a different kind of experience until it was created for them.

    And caring (about things other than the bottom line) is a quality I find in both companies.
    Inspirational, huh?

    • Katie Minkus, R(B)
      October 24, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      Aloha, Beth – I couldn’t agree more!! For me, doing something important and caring about things other than the bottom line are critical components that inspire me to get out of bed every morning and go to work! Thanks for such an appropos comment!

  4. Rustin Singleton
    October 24, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    Thanks for the post Katie..Steve Jobs has always inspired me to be more and do more..

    • Katie Minkus, R(B)
      October 24, 2012 at 10:21 am #

      You’re welcome, Rustin! What an incredible legacy Steve Jobs has left behind such that he still inspires so many of us long after he’s gone. May we all be lucky enough to make such an impact on life!

  5. Justin Britt
    October 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    I’m probably the (or one of the) company’s biggest critics. So, it feels good to know people appreciate how hard we work to make the Hawaii Life’s nuts and bolts organized and beautiful.

    Mahalo for all you do, Katie Minkus.

    • Katie Minkus, R(BIC)
      October 26, 2012 at 9:20 am #

      Big Mahalos to you, Justin, for all that YOU do – especially on the “back of the house!” Hawaii Life is beautiful and organized because of YOU!! :)

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