True Genius

Every once awhile, life will present you an opportunity to meet a true genius. You all have stories, I’m sure of when you met yours. Though, I’m willing to bet you would be hard pressed to match the experience that Doug Menuez has had. Here’s a brief excerpt from his bio on one (just one!) of his many projects, but the one that introduced me to him.

He gained exclusive, unprecedented access to record the rise of Silicon Valley from 1985-2000 and documented the private daily lives of its most brilliant innovators, including three years with Steve Jobs, as well as covering Bill Gates, John Warnock, Carol Bartz, Andy Grove, John Sculley, Bill Joy, and John Doerr during an era when more jobs and wealth were created than at any time in human history.

For 15 years, he covered tech when it went from quietly changing the world behind the scenes to becoming the in your face revolution that continues to this day. This man had unfettered access to a man that many claim is the single most important business person to ever walk this planet, Steve Jobs.

I met Doug at a Cartoon Art Museum fund-raiser/party hosted by Dr. Wave. John wanted to go for the NeXT stuff, I wanted to go because I love that museum. Dr. Wave was a gracious host, running around trying to mingle with all in attendance. The fact that Doug was there to publicize his Fearless Genius book (which you should buy) was more lucky happenstance than anything.

I remember standing alone in the museum, as John was off getting a drink. I’m watching a monitor endlessly looping over these amazing pictures of giants from the tech field. I look down from the photo show to see this quiet, unassuming gentleman walk in. There are a lot of loud personalities in the Apple/NeXT development world and many were there in that room. Those are the people that everyone rushes too with “Hey, how’s it going!” when they enter a room. It’s those people that lesser people constantly scan for while talking to even less important folk like me. LOL

I had never met Doug, but judging by how comfortable he was with the camera strapped and dangling from his neck, I had no doubt who it was. I made my way towards him and pointed up at the monitor, “I assume we have you to thank for those?” He smiled, “Yup, those are mine.” I immediately informed him I had his book at home. Without hesitation he said, “Mail it to me and I’ll sign it!”, an offer I’ve yet to take him up on.

Doug and I started talking about that period from 1985 to 2000. No one rushed Doug during that time. It was like 2 friends, hanging out, relating stories from the good old days. John eventually came back and I did intros. Doug continued on for a bit before Dr. Wave saw him and stole him away to make intros to the others in the room. We had what seemed like an eternity with Doug, though I’m sure it was more like 20 to 30 minutes. It seemed much longer though because Doug would point out specific pictures, then teleport us back to the moment when the photo was taken. He’d give us back story, forward story, insights into how he felt, insights into how the subject (oft Steve Jobs) felt, and he did so with a storytelling skill to match that great eye he had with his camera.

You can now own many of his iconic works from that grand tech era. There are a few collections to choose from, but I have my eyes set on the Steve Jobs collection. My reasons are probably not for what you think. I do not idolize Steve. I don’t want to be like Steve. I don’t want to change the world like Steve. No, the reasons I want some of these pictures are:

  • Two friends of mine, Abbi Vakil and Mike Lee, feel a closeness to Steve. When I look at the picture of Steve, I’ll be reminded of them both.
  • I want to celebrate that Steve was Steve. He didn’t try to be anyone else.
  • I like to remember that Steve changed overtime and became a better person.
  • Lastly, Doug is the most powerful genius I’ve met in my life. Buying a print of a photo that has inspired millions will enable him via his Fearless Genius organization to do even more incredible things.

It’s those reasons I will buy some prints. You will have your reasons to buy your favorite prints of his. I don’t know those reasons, but I can guarantee you the joy and inspiration you get from this Fearless Genius’s handiwork will be worth every cent you spend.


P.S. Also, since the sales go to support the great education program Doug’s doing with his organization, you should help spread the word even if you don’t buy a print yourself. Here’s some short shout outs you can tweet or post to Facebook:

Sample #1:
If you’re a techie (or aspiring to be one), you owe it to yourself to buy one of @dougmenuez’s pictures:

Sample #2:
The fearless @dougmenuez had access to Steve that few ever had. An instant buy for any Apple or Steve Jobs fan:

Sample #3:
You oft want to be a fly on the wall in great history moments. @dougmenuez let’s you do just that:

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