Like most other people walking the planet, I own Apple products. I have an iPod Nano for working out, an iPhone, and in the not too distant past bought my girlfriend the new iPad. There are millions of people like me, who also own Apple products, but the relationship with the company pretty much stops there.
I have however, always been fascinated by the people who seemingly worship at the church of Apple. No doubt, the Apple co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs played a large part in that.
Steve Jobs was a flawed man, both personally and professionally in a lot of ways, but he was also one of the most successful CEOs in history. I never really fully appreciated what a unique individual he was until reading Walter Isaacson’s book.
After listening to his full biography, watching some interviews and speeches of his, and doing a little research into his life, I have what I think are his secrets of success. So with that said, here are the things he would do that made Steve Jobs a successful entrepreneur.
Anticipate the future
Back in 2007, Steve Jobs said, “There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very, very beginning. And we always will.”
Apple has been on the cutting edge, and making products better than anyone else for years. The reason they’ve become such a large company, is that Steve was anticipating what peoples needs would be in the future, not what they are right now. If you listen to what people want now, by the time it’s developed, it will already be obsolete. You have to identify where the market is heading, not where it is right now.
Always pursue perfection
Steve’s adoptive father, Paul, was a mechanic and a carpenter. He instilled in him at a young age, that if you’re going to do something, do it RIGHT all the way. Every detail, not matter how big or how small, mattered. It is because of this that he always had incredibly complex products like music players, phones, and computers, designed so that they were incredibly easy to use and elegant to look at. Powerful, simplistic, and no detail left out was the secret to his success in business at Apple, and his other business dealings.
Learn any way you can
Steve Jobs was a college dropout, but he was far from a dummy. Whether he was learning mechanics from his father, learning about life and expanding his perspective during his global travels, or tinkering with gadgets with groups of like-minded computer “geeks,” Steve was always learning. There is a great Jim Rohn quote, “Formal education can make you a living, but self education can make you a fortune.” Steve Jobs embodied this in every way.
Always move forward
Steve was often able to snatch success from the jaws of defeat. Any time he was put to the test or suffered a major setback, career or otherwise, he came back better than ever.
He and Steve Wozniak ran out of money while developing the first Apple computer. Instead of giving in, he sold his van and Wozniak sold his graphing calculator to come up with the funds.
When he was fired from Apple, the company he co-founded and poured his blood, sweat, and tears into, he didn’t rest. He would go on to head Next and Pixar only a short time after. Then, when he would return to Apple in the late 90’s, he used his past knowledge and business experience to bring them back from the brink of bankruptcy.
Use failure as a learning experience and a chance to grow both personally and professionally.
Surround yourself with bright people
Steve was not a technical guy, he was a leader and marketer. He always had great vision and ideas, but it was because he always surrounded himself with great people that he was able to accomplish so much.
Big risk, big reward. If you’re going to be successful in business, there are going to be times you need to take calculated risks. Whether it has to do with personnel, products, competitors… it’s inevitable. Steve Jobs even showed he was willing to cannibalize his own company’s products in the name of progress. Many CEOs would have been hesitant to develop the iPhone, knowing full well that it would help to make the iPod obsolete – but Jobs did it anyway. That is one part of what has made the iPhone one of the most successful products in history.
The time to do something is always now
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” – Steve Jobs
If you really want to do something in life, the time is always now. Don’t give up on something you really want, ignore the doubters, pursue your passions, and always make sure you’re ready to seize opportunity when it presents itself. We only get so much time on this planet. Make it count.