Steve Jobs – The Man, The Mission, The Memory

Stay hungry, stay foolish – Steve Jobs

As you know, Steve Jobs was the creative genius behind Apple.  He and Steve Wozniak launched Apple in 1976, calling it Apple because an apple was the fruit that inspired Isaac Newton with his theories on gravity.  A rather fitting inspiration I think!

From very early on, Jobs sought out the best minds and mentors he could find to assist him in growing his business and initially Apple was innovative and successful.  However, Jobs had an Achilles Heel.  Going head to head with IBM, Jobs continued to insist that the Apple bundle of software and hardware remain as one package, preventing Apple from leveraging as either a software or hardware company with the rest of the industry.  As a result, within two years of entering the market, the revenue of IBM’s PC division had overtaken Apple’s. While Jobs drove product development purely on intuition, eventually sales stalled and his management style was seen as a liability by his board.  In 1985 he was dismissed from the company that he had created nine years earlier.

This may have been the end for another entrepreneur was it not for Jobs’ persistence.  Jobs created subsequent start-ups including NeXT and eventually PIXAR.  Through a number of subsequent business ventures and losses of millions of dollars of investor’s money, Jobs persevered. His perseverance paid off and PIXAR became part of the consortium, SKG DreamWorks, that produced the Oscar winning animation, Toy Story, which became the highest grossing release of the year, putting him back on top.

Ten years after starting Apple he was approached by Gil Emilio, the new CEO of Apple, to sell Apple his new operating system he developed at NeXT.  He became the “interim CEO, launching IMAC, IPod and then ITunes.  More recently we have the IPhone and IPad that we can’t live without.

Some of the key legacy’s Steve Jobs has left us with are:

  • “Connect the dots” – everything we do is ultimately useful.  Jobs dropped out of college after six months, continuing to take courses he was interested in like calligraphy.  Ten years later he incorporated calligraphy into Macintosh fonts.  “[You can’t connect the dots] looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”.
  • “Sometimes life hits you in the head with bricks so love what you do”– Jobs fell in love with computers at the age of 20, building a $2 billion company in 10 years, only to be fired by Apple’s Board of Directors – He says that the only thing that kept him going was that he followed his heart with passion and loved what he did.
  • Live your own life – “Time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice”.  “Do great work; don’t settle”.
  • Follow your heart and intuition – “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become – everything else is secondary.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart… stay hungry, stay foolish”.
  • Trust your vision – “Trust and back yourself, even when others can’t see what you see.  Put all of your efforts into your dreams and hold nothing back.
  • Excellence is a choice – When he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he never once used it as an excuse, but continued to blaze the trail and lay a path of excellence we can follow.  “Be a yardstick of quality.  Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected”.
  • Stay in your flow – Jobs was a creator, and epitomised someone who intuitively knew how to win the game of money and business.  His implicit and explicit thoughts moved together in the same direction, with the same rhythm, towards the same objective in total harmony.
  • Achieve your full potential – Jobs stated that anyone can achieve their fullest potential in life when they learn to retrain their brain to eliminate doubts, fears and anxieties, and remove the limiting beliefs that hold them back.
  • Focus, simplicity and elegance – “It’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity.  Simple can be harder than complex:  You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.  But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there you can move mountains”.

The world has lost a great visionary, genius, innovator and entrepreneur. I am grateful for the gifts and tenacity that Jobs has given the world.  Film producer, Steven Spielberg said, “Steve Jobs was the greatest inventor since Thomas Edison.  He put the world at our fingertips”.

 Once in a while somebody comes along who doesn’t just raise the bar, they create an entirely new standard of measurement” – Dick Costello – Twitter CEO

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Posted in On Success