The late founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, is universally acclaimed as one of the most successful people of all time; so what can we learn from his success? Well, there are several direct quotes from the man himself which show what he believed could contribute to a person’s success and today we’d like to share The Rules of Success as Laid Down by Steve Jobs:
“People with passion can change the world for the better.”
Steve Jobs was a firm believer in passion. He encouraged people to find something that they loved and then devote their time and energy to being the best in their field. It’s telling that when he left Apple in 1985; he didn’t give up and crawl under a rock to celebrate his pay off – he went on to found other creative ventures including Pixar the multi-billion dollar animated film company.
Then of course Apple came knocking again when they ran into trouble – after all doing what Steve Jobs loved had been a core part of their initial success. It would prove to be a very smart move; Apple’s resurgence under Steve’s second stewardship showed how important it is to “do what you love”.
“Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?”
Steve Jobs uttered these words in a conversation with John Sculley, who at that time was president of Pepsi Co. He didn’t just believe that following your passion was enough; he believed that you had to aim big. There’s no value in being the best at something and then aiming to be ordinary. His theory was that you need big challenges to bring out the world beating performance in your work.
There’s no denying that Steve Jobs himself was responsible for a number of world-changing products including the iPad, the iPod, and the iPhone.
“It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much.”
Success in the big things means being focused. You can only be focused when you learn to say no to other things that distract from your goals. Steve also said; “The hardest thing when you think about focusing. You think focusing is about saying, yes. No. Focusing is about saying, no. And when you say no, you piss people off.”
Nobody, not even Steve Jobs, said that succeeding would come easily and it’s important to understand that pursuing success can mean putting a few noses out of joint on the way there.
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.”
Steve Jobs understood that being in business is all about your customers. There’s no point in creating wonderful, beautiful things that customers don’t care about. The key to being successful is to understand your customers’ needs first and foremost and then work out how to meet those needs. The tools you use for this process are incidental to meeting the needs.
It seems like Apple has forgotten this lesson in a very short time. The Apple Watch failed to deliver on the simple expectation from consumers – they don’t want to charge a watch on a daily basis (or even once a week). The first expectation of a watch is that it will consistently tell the time without much effort from the user. Get that wrong and it doesn’t matter how clever the rest of the device is – it’s still a failure.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
This may be the most important success lesson of them all – you can only do so much by emulating other people. If you want to rise to the top; you have to do something new and set trends rather than follow them.
Of course innovation doesn’t come easy and Steve recognized that too when he said; “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”
There are two lessons there – one, don’t expect every project to be a success and two, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Success people know they will fail but are always working on enough things that a single failure won’t bring them down.
“I was worth over $1,000,000 when I was 23 and over $10,000,000 when I was 24 and over $100,000,000 when I was 25 and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.”
Successful people tend to find that money follows their success and not the other way round. Steve Jobs knew that. He concentrated on doing the things he loved and doing them well; he knew that he would be rewarded for that.
Similarly you can see this lack of concern over money in his famous quote; “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?”
Do what you’re good at. Do what you love. Don’t worry about the money; it will come.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you will have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
This might as easily be turned into; “Don’t worry, be happy.” Steve Jobs knew that he would deal with constant uncertainty and he knew that if he spent his life worry about that uncertainty – he would never achieve anything of value. He went on to say; “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down and it has made all the difference in my life.”
You have to have faith in yourself if you want to be successful. Let other people worry about the fine details – your role is to set your course, dream big, do what you love and make sure you’re building things that customers want. That’s the secret to success as told by Steve Jobs.