Description: Steve Jobs changed how the world interacts with technology. Here are a few of the business philosophies that helped him do it.
Steve Jobs was a legendary industrialist. His achievements are what most businessmen only dream of. He was a self-made billionaire. Yes, with a “B.” He was ranked #17 amongst the most powerful people, according to Forbes Magazine in September 2011.
Steve’s company, Apple Inc., however briefly, topped the petroleum giant ExxonMobil as the most valuable U.S. Corporation. That same company changed how the world uses music players, smartphones and tablet computers. Ambitious business leaders take note. Use a few ideas from some of his business philosophies.
Steve’s mother didn’t want him. He was given up for adoption. Jobs didn’t graduate college. He quit because it was too expensive. Some days during that period of his life the only hot meal would come from the Hare Krishna temple once a week on Sundays – after he walked seven miles to get there.
Despite those circumstances, he and Steve Wozniak started a company in a garage on April 1st, 1976. Later that year, they would release the “Apple I” at the local computer club which would start the meteoric rise of Apple Inc. The message was clear: focus on your goals and not your problems to succeed.
Dealing with Betrayal
Ten years after Wozniak and Jobs started in that humble garage their first online casino portal, Apple was a $2-billion-dollar company with thousands of employees. As with most business cycles, however, there were ups and there were downs. Jobs was fired from the company he loved and co-founded, one year after the Mac’s introduction.
To add insult to injury, he lost the power struggle to then Apple CEO John Sculley, whom Jobs personally recruited from Pepsi. Jobs cashed out and travelled Europe, but he was still deeply hurt and depressed. “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life,” Jobs said publicly in a 2005 Stanford commencement speech. Instead of wallowing, Steve chose to start two new companies over the next 5 years. Those companies were NeXTStep and Pixar.
Don’t Follow. Lead
“Customers can’t tell you about the next breakthrough,” said Jobs in a 1985 Newsweek article. Technically, you’re a follower if you are trying to keep up with the market leaders in your industry. Furthermore, the best you can hope for is a second place finish.
What Steve means is it’s the responsibility of business leaders to challenge the status quo. People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. Apple changed the way the world uses technology because Jobs was able to convey the passion that he and his team truly had into well-crafted products.
Being passionate was not a mantra for Steve, it was truly a way of leading. Authentic passion jumps from person to person and those people truly welcome it. “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.” Entrepreneurs take heart. Then translate it into every aspect of your business.
Mr. Jobs, you will be missed.