How can you profit from “80th-floor genius?”

Chuck Frey
4 min readJul 28, 2022
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To make a bigger impact today, you need to cultivate a radically different perspective. Steve Jobs shows you how.

Have you ever visited the top of a very tall building? It gives you an expanded perspective that’s like nothing else.

The view is mesmerizing:

Streets fan out in all directions.

As your brain gets oriented to the scene, you’re able to pick out landmarks, near and far.

You notice how major thoroughfares fan out in all directions toward the horizon.

And, of course, there’s an endless flow of tiny people and vehicles below.

This “bird’s eye view” of the city is exhilarating. You feel a sense of possibility that you don’t feel when you’re standing on terra firma.

What does this experience have to do with personal innovation? Everything, according to the late Steve Jobs:

“A lot of [what it means to be smart] is the ability to zoom out, like you’re in a city and you could look at the whole thing from the 80th floor down at the city. And while other people are trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B reading these stupid little maps, you could just see it in front of you. You can see the whole thing.”

He emphasized if you cultivate the same experiences and skills as everyone else, you’ll see the same patterns and make the same connections as the others trying to navigate at street level.

Of course, that’s not very innovative.

How Jobs cultivated unique perspectives

Steve Jobs was relentlessly curious, and pursued knowledge and experiences that were of interest to him, not considering if or how he could use them some day. He simply followed his passions.

For example, after he dropped out of college, he took calligraphy classes. What he learned about design and fonts became a central part of the Macintosh computer’s rich, graphical interface.

Jobs also spent several months in India, where he discovered and embraced Zen Buddhist meditation practices. This helped him to calm his…



Chuck Frey

Thought leader in mind mapping, visual thinking and creativity for 15+ years. Relentless explorer, learner and dot-collector. I help you elevate your thinking.