Thoughts on Steve Jobs from a Young PC-Loving CEO
The world is filled with memorials to Steve Jobs tonight.
I am not a Mac user, though I love my iPhone and there are probably 10 Apple devices in our house now. I am not an Apple fanatic, like many people that I work with and admire.
Much of the coverage on Steve Jobs tonight is focused on the technology - the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, iTunes, and the App Store.
I just wanted to thank Steve Jobs for his inspiration as a businessman and an entrepreneur, especially to young entrepreneurs.
My learnings from Steve Jobs' life and adventure:
- Failure is not only okay, but an important part of life: Jobs found success in the early '80's with Apple, but lost the power struggle with John Sculley and was fired from Apple in 1985. It took Steve Jobs 12 years before returning to Apple. NeXT Computing was not an obvious success (even though it laid the basis for OS X). Even when Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 and made some hard decisions at Apple, it was far from clear that Apple would be success in 2001. Four or five years into Jobs' return, his strategy started to click and the rest is history. People forget about the hard times, but I am sure they were critical to his approach to the last ten years of success at Apple.
- Be passionate: This comes from the Jobs Stanford speech. We spend the majority of our lives working, so we need to be passionate about what we do every day. When I personally get to the point when I am not running into work, excited and passionate about what I am doing each day, it may be time for me to move on to the next challenge. (Don't worry ActiveRain: I run into work every day and I am one of the last to leave at night.)
- Believe in yourself, most people will tell you that you are wrong: Jobs was quirky and demanding in his point of view. On many of his ideas, Jobs was 20 years ahead of the rest of the consumers. But he held to his point of view. As a young business person, there will always be someone with more experience, telling you that you are wrong or what you are doing will never work. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Don't get discouraged. Try and fail. Failure is important. Learning from failure is even more important. Jobs was right in the end. His greatest act in his career and in all of business perhaps was in the last ten years of his career and life.
- Think long-term, important things are hard and take time: Jobs did not manage Wall Street and did not manage to the fiscal quarter. Jobs made the hard long-term decisions. Jobs was committed to building the company that he envisioned and believed in. Jobs had a master plan about the future of consumer electronics, computing and devices . It took 10 years for the vision to become a reality after Jobs returned to Apple.
- Company above all else: Jobs placed the Apple brand and Apple the company above all else. This was borne out in every design and product decision at the company. Employees, no matter how senior, were shown the door if they did not believe in the power of Apple, above all else. In fact, there are probably very few Apple employees other than Steve Jobs that most consumers could name. Simultaneously, consumers have 100% confidence in every Apple product, regardless of who the CEO is. Jobs has handled the transition with Tim Cook probably as well as any executive transition could be handled. Cook has been working for Apple and Jobs since the 1990's.
- Life is short, have faith: The Steve Jobs Stanford commencement speech is certainly making the rounds on the Internet tonight. I think the core messages of his three stories in his speech are incredibly important. Life is short. We all will die. So what do we have to lose? Live a passionate life. It will all work out in the end. Have faith.
Though I type this blog out on a Dell, Steve Jobs is a real business inspiration, particularly for any young, enterprising business person.
Here is a link to the eulogy from Steve Jobs' sister Mona Simpson. Very powerful and beautiful. Worth a read.
Image of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak from Technophonics.com