Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is the Co-founder and up until last week, the CEO of Apple Inc. He has achieved insurmountable success in founding Apple, then being booted out and starting NeXT Computer and Pixar, then returning to Apple when it was failing and building it to the company it is today.

How has he been able to do it? What are his belief systems that have allowed him to be so successful and change the tech industry forever? Read on to find out.

Let’s characterise his beliefs and ideals into 6 categories:

Visionary

  • All along he wanted to create the ‘Black Porsche of computers” he didn’t want to create ‘another beige box’
  • When he enticed the then CEO of Pepsi over to Apple he highlighted his vision by saying – “Do you want to keep selling sugared water for the rest of your life, or come with me and change the world?”
  • He wanted his computers to be on display much like a stereo is part of the furniture, not just another ugly tool, much like a calculator.

Product Focus

  • While other Silicon Valley entrepreneur’s went for a software focus, Jobs went for the products. He has always been obsessed with creating sleek, stylish products.
  • He had strict criteria, all products must be: sleek, stylish, classy, elegant, attractive, cool as a stereo, not an ugly beige box.

Brand Image

  • The value of the Apple brand today is somewhat invaluable. The place it commands in the consumers mind is a very unique one, a very valuable one. People love Apple products, they go nuts for them. This allows Apple to charge a premium, increasing the profitability.
  • Apple has achieved this by continually striving to be placed within strict parameters in the consumers mind. People have to associate Apple with being; cool, classy, rich, wealthy, easy to use, good quality, that it just works.
  • Apple has made the most of Product Placement in blockbuster movies – take a look at the next movie you watch and look for the characters who are; wealthy, stylish, cool – they will be using Mac computers. On the contrary, the lower-class characters, dorky, uncool will never use Mac’s. This has allowed the Apple brand to command strict emotional desires in the majority of consumers minds.

Ultimate Salesman

  • He is able to motivate staff to work extreme hours and to impossible dead lines. Business leaders who work with Apple to sign up to ridiculous terms. And intrigued on-lookers at MacWorld Expo’s to give standing ovations. This he has been able to do by being a superb salesman.
  • For example, when the iPhone came out he told the 800-pound gorilla in the telecommunications market, AT&T, that their logo would not be on Apple’s phone. They were shocked, every phone they released had their logo and who was this computer nerd who thought he would remove our logo? Mr Jobs was that guy and as history tells us he was able to convince them to sign up to his terms.

Life Outlook

  • As he said during his Stanford Commencement Speech, “It’s only when you look back on life that you can connect the dots”
  • He used the example when he dropped out of University, he bummed around and attended the courses he desired to, one being a calligraphy course.
  • At the time it seemed like a silly decision, where was that going to lead him. Though when he started Apple Computer, some years later, he used what he learnt in that very calligraphy course to allow computers to change fonts and typeface.
  • As he looks back on life he can see how valuable some of his decisions were. Often at the time they seem like silly decisions. His point, live day-to-day through your heart and desires as its only when you look back that you can connect the dots.

Focus

  • Jobs is superbly focused. Hence, he often appears blunt, stubborn and rude. He knows what he wants, he has the vision, and when people don’t do or create what he sees in his mind he gets extremely frustrated.
  • For example, he created the iPhone as he saw an opening in the phone market due to the other phones being ugly, having small screens, small buttons, were difficult to use etc. He had a vision for a stylish phone to have a built-in iPod, camera, be able to email, text, surf the internet, have a big screen etc. though there was one catch… it was to have one control button. ONE.
  • Every one of the 150 engineers complained that it couldn’t be done. Jobs was relentless. One button. Eventually they discovered the touch screen which solved their problems. Hence the iPhone was created with only one control button.
Steve Jobs has achieved insurmountable success. By studying him we too can mimic his results.