Remembering Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
1. Create a product with soul. Jobs proved that to create a product that customers would not just use, but love, you have to marry science with art.
2. Start small but think big. “I want to put a ding in the universe,” Jobs famously said.
3. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t build the life that someone else wants you to- Jobs’s life is a lesson in making original decisions.
4. Stick to your guns. Interviewers often said that Jobs was a tough interview- he didn’t answer their questions, but rather always said exactly what he wanted to say.
5. Find real solutions to real problems. Jobs made the claim early on that 99-cent mp3s would save the music industry. Indeed- since April 2008, the Apple iTunes Store has been the number one music vendor in the U.S., and by October 4, 2011, the iTunes store sold its 16 billionth song.
6. Become a market leader. Own and control the technology that you create and use, to reduce the ability for others to successfully imitate to your standards.
7. Make a product that can sell itself. Apple’s advertisements were famous for simply showcasing their products. They didn’t work overtime to convince you- their elegant user interface did, all on its own, by being head and shoulders above the competition.
8. Don’t listen to your customers too much. Jobs was famous for his assertion that listening to customers too much is a waste of time. You have to think on their behalf but ignore their skepticism if you’re going to create something that no one has ever seen before.
9. Live every day as though you have nothing to lose. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose,” said Jobs. “There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
10. Look at the silver lining in failure. When Jobs was fired from Apple, he said, “I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me.” But, he realized, it was the best thing that ever happened to him, because it freed him to enter one of the most creative periods of his life, he said in his Stanford commencement speech.
11. If you love what you do, you will find a way. Jobs said that when he was fired from Apple, he thought about running away from the valley. But then he realized that he loved what he did, and the events at Apple couldn’t change that.
12. Have faith in your journey. Jobs described you can’t connect all of the dots when you look forward in time, but you can, in retrospect, see the way that pieces fall into place to bring you lessons.
13. Trust your inner voice. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice,” he said- following his inner voice allowed Jobs to both pivot into different projects and to innovate.
14. Be a perfectionist. We’ve all heard the stories of Jobs being an unapologetic taskmaster, to the point that he alienated some co-workers. And yet, his passion created products that speak for themselves.
15. Keep your eye on the endgame. “I don’t really care about being right, you know, I just care about success,” Jobs famously said, after he was fired by Apple. Borrow ideas if you have to, but focus on the implementation, and on improving rather than the politics of business.
16. Surround yourself with talent. Although Steve stands out as the leader who made Apple what it is today, it’s a myth that he alone is responsible for Apple’s success. A team of talented leaders- Phil Schiller, Jony Ive, Peter Oppenheimer, Tim Cook, and Ron Johnson- work overtime at Apple to build Apple.
17. Let simplicity reign. Jobs was famous for talking about the power of saying “no” when it came to adding bells and whistles to his products. It’s been said that choosing what not to do was more important to him than choosing what to do.
18. Create a unified team. Under Jobs, the executive team at Apple held weekly meetings to review every single product under development, and handed responsibility for all expenses to its Chief Financial Officer alone. Jobs thought that Sony, for example, had too many divisions to create a viable iPod, iPad or iPhone competitor. “It’s not synergy that makes [Apple] work,” he said, “it’s that we’re a unified team.”
19. Teach your company your vision. Apple hired an academic from Yale Management School to create an “Apple University” inside the company, so that his knowledge could be passed on and the structure and vision of Apple could be taught to future employees.
20. Create buzz. Apple creates a lot of hype by keeping its new products a secret until the very last minute. Although the policies of its tight ship are occasionally controversial, it seems to have incidents in which employees leave prototypes in bars fueling even more speculation on the web about the next iPhone.
21. Keep a Beginner’s Mind. “There’s a phrase in Buddhism, ‘Beginner’s mind.’ It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind,” Jobs once said. Keep a sense of exploration and wonder in the world.
22. Be a yardstick of quality. “Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected,” said Jobs.
23. Think differently. Although the Apple stores were considered a huge risk, Jobs pushed ahead with the idea, pointing out that “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Apple now has over 357 stores worldwide, and in 2010 the stores earned over $3.2 billion, about 13% of total Apple sales.
24. Defy expectations- visually. At his 2008 Keynote speech, Jobs showed how the MacBook air fit into a standard office envelope, creating an image that no on could forget.
25. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. This was a phrase that Jobs saw on an issue of The Whole Earth Catalogue, a magazine he loved when he was growing up. They printed it on the back cover of their final issue, he described in his in his 2005 speech at Stanford. “I have always wished that for myself,” he said.