Steve Jobs: Innovator
The 7 insanely different principles of Jobs’ breakthrough success with Apple
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs will be remembered as one of a handful of history’s most elite innovators. He was the classic American entrepreneur — starting his company in the spare bedroom of his parents’ house and pioneering the development of the first personal computer for everyday use. This was a man who was fired from the company he had started, but returned 12 years later to save it from near bankruptcy. Not only that, but in the next 10 years Jobs used Apple to reinvent four different industries — computing, music, telecommunications and entertainment. (Let’s not forget he was the CEO of a little company called Pixar.) In 2010, Fortune magazine named Jobs the CEO of the Decade. The famed New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote a column in which he declared America needs more jobs — Steve Jobs. He meant that innovation and creativity must be nurtured and encouraged to help the United States and other countries emerge from the global recession. Everyone wants to learn more about what made Steve Jobs tick, yet very few journalists have identified the core principles that drove Jobs and his success. My book The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs (McGraw-Hill, 2010) reveals the 7 principles that were largely responsible for his breakthrough success — principles that guided Jobs throughout his career.
Principle One: Do what you love.
In 2005, Steve Jobs told Stanford University’s graduating class that the secret to success is having “the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Inside, he suggested, “you already know what you truly want to become.” Jobs followed his heart his entire career, and that passion, according to him, made all the difference. It’s very difficult to come up with new, creative ideas that move society forward if you are not passionate about the subject. “I think you should go get a job as a busboy or something until you find something you’re really passionate about,” Jobs once said. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. . . Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give up.” How do you find your passion? Passions are those ideas that don’t leave you alone. They are the hopes, dreams and possibilities that consume your thoughts. Follow those passions despite the skeptics and naysayers who do not have the courage to follow their own dreams.
Principle Two: Put a dent in the universe.
Steve Jobs attracted evangelists who shared his vision and helped turn his ideas into world-changing innovations. He has never underestimated the power of vision to move a brand forward. In 1976, Steve Wozniak was captivated by Jobs’ vision to “put a computer in the hands of everyday people.” Wozniak was the engineering genius behind the Apple I and Apple II, but it was Jobs’ vision that inspired Wozniak to focus his skills on building a computer for the masses. Jobs’ vision was intoxicating because it had four components that all inspiring visions share: It was 1) bold, 2) specific, 3) concise and 4) consistently communicated. In 1979, Jobs took a tour of the Xerox research facility in Palo Alto, California. There he saw a new technology that let users interact with the computer via colorful graphical icons on the screen instead of entering complex line commands. It was called a “graphical user interface.” In that moment, Jobs knew that this technology would allow him to fulfill his vision of putting a computer in the hands of everyday people. He went back to Apple and refocused his team on building the computer that would eventually become the Macintosh and forever change the way we talked to computers. Jobs later said that Xerox could have “dominated” the computer industry but instead its “vision” was...
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