Steve Job’s ‘Job’ was to leave this life imprinting upon us his unconventional blueprint to achieving success through Invention and Innovation. His early influences fueling fire to his passions, gave rise to his extraordinary success that he met his own terms. He was known as a loner, extreme practical joke rand prankster as well as a high school drop out – but this did not stop him from pursuing his desires. If anything, it created the space for him to trust in himself and take risks.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers …you can’t ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. …Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do’. (Think Different Commercial Run by Apple Inc.)
Having been raised by his loving adoptive parents in Mountain view, California, Steve Jobs was fortunate to have had noteworthy influences who were the impetus to propelling him forward into his passion for learning and invention early on. His father, Paul, who was a machinist spent time teaching Steve how to use tools and to build things – this gave Steve an interest in electronics and the ability to invent. Steve also accompanied his father when he’d go shopping for car parts, as his father also restored cars on the side. Steve experienced the art of negotiation in these opportunities with his dad, to get the lowest price possible – this would serve him well in his career ahead when negotiating with companies. Steves’ mother taught him how to read, to the point where he was reading before he started school. Because he was so advanced, in this regard, his mischievousness could have been attributed to his utter boredom at school.
Another profound influence was Steve’s fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Hill who saw in Steve that ‘…he had a different way of looking at a problem’. Mrs. Hill challenged Steve to complete a math assignment where she promised him $5 and a lollipop if 80% complete with no help required. Steve completed the assignment and got his reward ‘…it sort of re-ignited my desire to learn…I think I probably learned more academically in that one year than I learned in my life’ (Steve Jobs).
Steve’s love of computers started at the age of 12 when he joined a computer club sponsored by Hewlett Packard. Later, Steve would need computer parts and called Bill Hewlett directly and asked for parts. Bill obliged, gave him the parts and also provided him a summer job ‘…impressed by the boy’s knowledge and direct approach’. When he met his business partner Steve Wozniak, who lived in the same community as him, the two were like kindred spirits who created electronic machines together.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak began building computers in Steve Jobs’ family garage, producing the Apple II in 1977, and then the MacIntosh in 1984, encountered some failure with Macintosh III and the Lisa. Jobs left Apple in ’85 and founded his company called ‘Next’, went into film business founding his Pixar studio and produced films like ‘Toy Story’ and later selling Pixar to Disney for 7.4 billion. He returned to a failing Apple in 1997 ‘perilously close to insolvency’, where his real career with Apple began, turning the company around to be worth more than $350 billion! During this time of Jobs’ return to Apple as CEO, the iMac was introduced, the ipod, iphone and finally the ipad.
So what compelled Jobs to achieve such astronomical success?
He had a fervent desire to take technology to another level paving the way to make life easier for the world. This was his chief motive. Ergo, the desires and drive to excellence he had at times, translated to a villainous, tyrannical character – he was known to yell at his employees, but all this was fueled by his passion which undoubtedly earned him respect. Jobs was known for being ‘controlling’ and ‘secretive’ at Apple. Characteristics like the latter, by most business and self development publications are not always condoned. ‘The rare pairing of micromanagement with big-picture vision is a Jobs hallmark.’ Countless books were written about Jobs’ methodology and how to employ it, but much of his approach is actually still unknown today.
In the book entitled ‘The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo’, one of countless interpretations of Steve Job’s blue print for innovation and success, can be found here, which are essentially his main lessons;
‘Do what you love’
Steve Jobs mentioned that he was ‘lucky’ to have known early in his life what he loved to do. If unknown, keep searching and don’t settle. Trust your intuition.
“I was lucky to get into computers when it was a very young and idealistic industry. There weren’t’ many degrees offered in computer science, so people in computers were brilliant people from mathematics, physics, music, zoology, whatever. They loved it, and no one was really in it for the money’. (Steve Jobs)
‘Put a dent in the Universe’
In other words, make your ideas so big that you transform everyday life on earth – a bold vision that is ‘Specific, concise and consistent’. Steve Jobs ‘original vision’ for Apple was ‘A computer in the hands of everyday people’.
‘Kick start your Brain’
Steve Jobs said ‘Creativity is just connecting things’. So do whatever it is you need to do to achieve your creative connection. Try new things to inspire you to ‘Think differently’ and ‘dream big’. Steve Jobs had lived in an Ashram in his early years as well as having taking LSD, which he mentioned was one of the most important things he had done in his life with no regrets. He lived a bit on the wild side, which ultimately led him to new perspectives paving the way to success. An example is when he dropped out:
‘It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out, I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting’. (Steve Jobs)
‘Sell Dreams, Not Products’
Tell stories about the dream you want to come to fruition and commit yourself to excellence – fill a gap that customers didn’t know they had.
‘Say No to 1000 things’
Steve jobs wore a black mock neck, jeans and sneakers daily – this helped him to conserve energy from having to pick out what he was going to wear in the morning. This is an example of how Steve Jobs aimed for sophistication in simplicity. Keep to your values and discard the rest, is the message that is being made here.
‘…Decisions you make are not the things that you do, but the things you decide not to do’ (former apple CEO John Sculley)
To summarize, work on your main priorities instead of working on multiple things that disturb your focus.
‘Create Insanely Great Experiences’
Think about how you can ‘enrich lives’ instead of just selling a product and how you can better connect with your customers.
‘Master the Message’
Steve Jobs was strict about how he crafted messages and was said to rehearse every line over and over again prior to making a product presentation to ensure the delivery was impactful and smooth.
The above does not entirely give justice to even a fraction of Steve Job’s genius achievements and the strong effect he had on his consumers and the ‘Universe’ at large, however it leaves you with an idea of how we are to align ourselves for success. At the end of the day – we know not when our time is up. It is up to us to discover what we love to do and to figure out our own personal way, as Steve Jobs has done, to dream big and see our passions through.
‘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. 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. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become’. (Steve Jobs, Stanford University Speech)
- Gillam, Scott. Steve Jobs Apple iCon. Minneapolis, MN: Abdo Consulting Group Inc, 2012
- Helfet, Miguel. Ode to a Contrarian Who Changed the World: Fortune – The Legacy of Steve Jobs 1955-2011.
- Lashinsky, Adam. The Decade of Steve How Apple’s Imperious, Brilliant CEO Transformed American Business – Fortune – The Legacy of Steve Jobs 1955-2011.
- Gallo, Carmine. The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. New York, New York: McGraw Hill, 2011