Oct 7, 2011

What I Learned From Steve Jobs


This week, we lost one of the true visionaries of our time, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple.  Steve's story is impressive when you consider that he set out on his quest to create and develop the most loved technology company in his early 20's, and succeeded beyond anybody's wildest expectations.  He had a dream.  He had a vision.  And he had the wherewithal, drive, and persistence to make it happen.
I learned many things from Steve.  I learned to have vision, not just five or ten years into the future, but a lifelong vision for the direction I see my life.  And, not just in business, but personally as well.  What type of person do I want to be?  How will I live my life?  How do I want to be remembered?

In business, Steve was clearly one of the most respected product and marketing people in generations.  I still hold many of his business philosophies close.  His company is a model of innovation and efficiency and drive.  The people of Apple are not only great business men and women, they are luminaries, artists, poets.  Steve was never afraid to surround himself with people who filled the gaps.  His style, his philosophies, and his goals were always lofty, but it attracted and excited people.
Of course, there are those who say that Steve was a difficult person to get along with, and that he was a poor manager of people.  Malcom Gladwell, in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, makes the argument that Steve was the product of really good timing, from his birth place (California) to his birth year (entering the dawn of the computing era).  Mr. Gladwell does contend, however, as I would, that Steve was also the product of hard work, dedication and unwavering ambition.  Regardless of how you size up his methods or his timing, his body of work is remarkable.

Toward the end of his life, when Steve's mortality was tested, he stated elegantly in his Stanford Commencement Speech to the 2005 graduating class, "Don't live somebody else's life".  He certainly did not, and we should not either.  I strive to live my own life to the fullest of my ability, regardless of timing or surroundings or even luck.  This is what I learned from Steve Jobs.

Thank you Steve, for all you gave us.  Rest in peace.