Lessons Learned from Steve Jobs

By Posted in - Technology on December 19th, 2011 0 Comments

Steve Jobs has always been a mysterious and intriguing man, leader and master of technology. And after his death, as one of the world’s most recognizable CEOs, the Internet buzzed with years worth of famous one-liners and life lessons.

I haven’t read his biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, but after reading Lance Ulanoff’s post (Steve Jobs: 20 Life Lessonson Mashable this morning, I think I’ll pick up a copy.

Ulanoff shares 20 life lessons gathered from the 600 page tribute. And though they’re all applicable to life and business, here a few of my favorites.

1. Don’t Wait

When the young Steve Jobs wanted to build something and needed a piece of equipment, he went straight to the source.

“He began by recalling that he had wanted to build a frequency counter when he was twelve, and he was able to look up Bill Hewlett, the founder of HP, in the phone book and call him to get parts.”

2. Know Yourself

While not always aware of how those around him were reacting to his appearance or demeanor, Jobs had no illusions about his own formidable intellectual skills.

“Then a more disconcerting discovery began to dawn on him: He was smarter than his parents.”

3. Be Yourself

Steve Jobs was often so busy being himself that he had no idea how people saw him, especially in his early, dirty-hippie days.

“At meetings we had to look at his dirty feet.” Sometimes, to relieve stress, he would soak his feet in the toilet, a practice that was not as soothing for his colleagues.”—Mike Markkula, Apple’s first chairman.

4. Trust Your Instincts

I have, in my own career, navigated by gut on more than one occasion. Steve Jobs, though, had a deep and abiding belief in his own tastes and believed with utter certainty that if he liked something, the public would as well. He was almost invariably right.

“Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?” — Steve Jobs

5. Take Risks

Throughout his career, Steve Jobs took chances, first with the launch of Apple, then in walking away from it and then returning in 1997. In an era when most companies were figuring out ways to diversify, Apple — under Job’s leadership — shed businesses and products, and focused on relatively few areas. He was also willing to steer the entire Apple ship (or at least some aspects of it) in a single direction if he thought it would generate future success.

“One of Jobs’ management philosophies was that it is crucial, every now and then, to roll the dice and ‘bet the company’ on some new idea or technology.”

“I had this crazy idea that we could sell just as many Macs by advertising the iPod. In addition, the iPod would position Apple as evoking innovation and youth. So I moved $75 million of advertising money to the iPod, even though the category didn’t justify one hundredth of that. That meant that we completely dominated the market for music players. We outspent everybody by a factor of about a hundred.” — Steve Jobs.

6. Live For Today

Even as Steve Jobs struggled with cancer, he rarely slowed down. If anything, the disease helped him focus his efforts and pursue some of his grandest dreams.

“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.” — Steve Jobs

“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.” — Steve Jobs

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Old or young, we all have wisdom to share. What have you learned about life that’s worth sharing?

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