Startup

What all can we learn from Steve Jobs?

learn from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, had been one of the mega minds of the century and needs little introduction in the business world, or beyond it. The company he set up- Apple has been at the top of its game, unbeaten and steadily growing through changing circumstances. 

What did Jobs do differently?

The products they came out with were not inventions that the world had never seen before. Around the same time as the founding of Apple, many similar garage technology companies were started that dealt with computers. However, Steve Jobs was a game changer and a charismatic leader who brought together facets of technology that nobody had thought before.

Those who want to leave an impact on the world through their products and business model have a multitude of things to learn from Steve Jobs and his ideas. 

A brief history:

Born in February 1955 to an unmarried graduate couple in San Francisco, Jobs was put for adoption and adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs. He grew up in Los Altos, very close to the Silicon Valley where the IT world was bustling with ideas and activity. From an early age of 12 Jobs had started experimenting with electronic parts and understanding their configuration. He would follow closely the products of the mega giants of the time, IBM, HP etc. He also did a short summer stint at HP a few years down the line. 

After graduating high school in 1972, Jobs decided to go to Reed College in Oregon, a decision that put his parents off because they couldn’t afford such an expensive institution. Jobs, however dropped out of college within a matter of six months. After hanging around college for a while on the little money he had, delving in spirituality- predominantly Buddhism and performing bodily experiments, he decided to find work. He was appointed as a game developer at Atari after he refused to leave their lobby unless hired. 

While working at this game developing company in the night shifts, he grew close to Steve Wozniac, with whom he co-founded Apple. Wozniac was a senior from high school and an engineer at HP. Together they were an ideal team, Woz the tech genius and Steve with new, fascinating ideas. Early in their career they made the blue box- a phone tapping device to make free long-distance calls and sold quite a few of them anonymously. This stint gave them a small taste of business- something that the anti-establishment hippie in Steve Jobs love-hated. 

The launch of Apple:

Jobs and Wozniac together launched apple on the April fool’s day in 1976. The ability to cross-connect ideas and derive meaningful inferences from them helped Jobs in coming up with unique ideas and execute them as well. He understood the role of computers in the life of an average person- called it a bicycle for the mind, and then tried to actualise that concept into a functioning computer. He always looked out for aesthetics and did not compromise on design or the efficacy of every little detail of the spare parts. These eventually paid off as Apple II- was a visually appealing, compact device that took over the market the moment it was launched. The journey of Apple had begun.

Steve the charismatic:

Jobs liked to think of Apple as an anti-establishment force that was aimed to topple the established old powers like IBM with its youthful vigour. As Apple grew, Jobs became a public charmer who held the audience in a spell with his emotional story telling and instant connect that he formed with every last man in the audience. Going through some of the most famous quotations by Jobs, it is not very hard to fathom the depth of his ideas of the reason why the audience felt drawn to him or the product he was advocating. 

Here are a few that could easily become a food for thought for you today-

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.

Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice

A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

Creativity is about connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.

And the most important and well known of them all-

Stay hungry, stay foolish

The major life lessons for an entrepreneur:

Steve Jobs come from the heart of the place and time when the start-up system was in its formative years in the Silicon Valley. In many ways, he embodies most ideas on which the start-up theory rests and therefore entrepreneurs have an infinite amount to learn from the entrepreneur in Jobs.  

The art of simplifying- One of the greatest lessons that Steve Jobs has given the world is the sheer challenge of making and keeping things simple- an ideal that every product by apple boasts through its design. Technology is aimed at making life easier for man, and the simpler it is, the more it serves its purpose. There is no greatness in making products complex and difficult to use. 

Chase products, profits will follow-Most businesses keep the idea of profit handy at every step in the process of building their products. Thinking from the perspective of existing markets is constricting and prevents out of the box thinking. Steve did the opposite. He mastered the art of creating excellent products without worrying about their selling point. The fun fact is that they always sold!

Do not fit in- Trying to fit in is a stupid mistake that businesses do. If you want to be seen, you need to stand out from others not blend in. Rebels are rarely appreciated in business set ups where compliance is demanded. However, Steve looked out for the troublemakers, the misfits, the crazy ones as he saw himself in them. Looking at the world differently is not everyone’s cup of tea, and only those who can will eventually end up creating different products.

Always strive for perfection-Apple’s obsession with perfection is well known. When the focus is on the product and not on creating a bare minimum that sells, you tend to pay attention to every little detail. Steve Jobs spent hours making sure every little aspect of the product was the best possible. He did not compromise on anything and eventually came up with designs that took the market by a storm.

It goes to people of the likes of Steve Jobs to have created a legacy that enables so many young minds to dream big and venture to achieve them. 

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