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What Steve Jobs taught me
Innovation is saying no to a thousand things
Steve Jobs was a college drop out who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak. In 2007, at MacWorld, Steve said, every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. That was the prelude for him setting the stage to reveal the iPhone. He was a thinker, builder and story teller. I think he has some enduring lessons to teach anyone who wants to put a dent in the universe. Below are five that resonate with me.
Think and do
Be the thinker and the doer. The people who shape industries are those that both think about and make things. Leonard da Vinci mixed his own paints and was a pretty good chemist. He combined art and science. He planned and executed all his own work, resulting in exceptional output.
I really enjoy learning, thinking things through and generating ideas. I also love creating things. Walls, garden bridges, spreadsheet models, websites and mobile apps. Hence, I consider myself to be a thinker and doer.
The art of focus is even if it is something you care passionately about, focus means ignoring it, putting it to the side. And often, it's at real cost. Steve was remarkable at that. - Jony Ive (Apple Chief Design Officer)
Do a few things well. Focusing is really hard. You have to say no to many things. By focusing on a few important things you can create great products.
Reiterate the vision
Someone needs to be the keeper and reiterator of the vision. There’s a ton of work to do. When you have to walk a thousand miles and have only taken the first step, it feels like a long way. It really helps if there is someone saying, we are one step closer and the goal is not a mirage. So in a thousand small and sometimes larger ways the vision needs reiterating. Steve did that a lot.
It motivates me to keep in mind my personal vision of leaving the world with an idea that will outlast me.
Create for people
It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them. - Steve Jobs
Many forces in life funnel us down an institutionalised path. Industry often wants us to focus on technology. In computing, speeds and feeds, e.g. memory and bandwidth. More is seen as better. However, Steve said there is a whole other side of the coin which is what people do with these things. Apple helped people express themselves in richer ways, e.g. photography and music. To Think Different.
I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance - Steve Jobs
Steve observed that lots of people say they want to be an entrepreneur, but have no ideas. Steve said find your passion first. It’s a lot of work. Unless you have a lot of passion, in the tough times you will give up.
As a child, my mum said I was a plodder. In her own way, I think she was saying that I had staying power. I persevere through challenges.
Insult Response (on return to Apple) by Steve Jobs
What Richard Branson Taught Me post by Phil Martin
How to Do Great Work post by Phil Martin
I love my iPhone, iPad and MacBook. With few exceptions, they are the best things I have ever bought. So Steve Jobs has a big impact on my life.