Sunday, October 9, 2011

The lessons I've learned from Steve Jobs - A tribute

This week, Steve Jobs passed away. I never met him. I never worked for him. But somehow I felt touched by his loss. I wanted to wait a little bit before I wrote this tribute (there has been a lot written since his passing). I wanted to process my thoughts and try and codify what I learned from him. So here they are, some of the lessons from a great visionary and leader, Steve Jobs:

  1. Have a vision - Steve knew what he wanted and had a vision. Whether it was with NeXT, Pixar, or Apple, he had a  great sense for what was beautiful. He knew it when he saw it.
  2. Pay attention to the details - If there was one thing I love about Apple is there attention to detail. Everything matters. The packaging, the material, the feel of the product, how well it works with everything else. I just felt special using their products.
  3. Hold people accountable - Steve was well known as a difficult manager. He would yell and use less than appropriate words in meetings. While many may consider this inappropriate or consider this rough management style, I tend to look at it on the flip side. He had high standards and he held people to them. He didn't let people feel like it was ok to not be your best. It is not ok to not stretch before your means. People will follow you when you lead them to success.
  4. Be mindful of how you spend your time - As Steve's health began to get worse, I read a lot about how he would choose how and with whom he spent his time. He knew what was important and he focused his limited time there. He was the master of knowing when to say "No". This is a great lesson for all of us. Since he past away, I have learned to be more mindful of how I spend my time. Am I making my life better? Am I making a difference? Suddenly watching football on Sunday afternoon's doesn't make much sense.
Some of my favorite Steve Jobs Quotation
  1. ”My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” 
  2. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
  3. “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
  4. “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations"
  5. “Do your best at every job. Don’t sleep! Success generates more success so be hungry for it. Hire good people with a passion for excellence.”
  6. "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.”
So, Steve I hope that you know that not only did you impact how folks use technology, listen to music, watch movies, but you also impacted how people think and behave. Thank you.