It’s rare these days to hear about someone who literally changed the world for the better. I think you can argue Steve Jobs did that. All that has been written about him this past week has made it clear that his impact on our lives cannot be underestimated. His innovations have touched nearly every aspect of communications– computers, movies, music, and mobile devices.
I’m by no means a Steve Jobs authority, but in reading about his life and accomplishments this week, I’ve been pretty overwhelmed. Below is a compilation of ideas, quotes and seven guiding principles written by many that I’d like to share:
Do what you love. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
Put a dent in the universe. Jobs believed in the power of vision. Steve Wozniac was the engineering genius behind the Apple I & II, but it was Jobs’ vision that focused Wozniac’s skills on building a computer for the masses. Jobs’ vision was inspiring because it was 1) Bold, 2) Specific, 3) Concise and 4) Consistently Communicated. Innovation does not happen without big vision.
Say no to 1,000 things. Jobs once said the secret to innovation is “saying no to 1000 things.” Jobs was as proud of what Apple did not do as he was about what he did pursue. He was committed to delivering simple, uncluttered design. This philosophy allows Apple to deliver a continuous stream of products that wow and delight customers for their elegance and simplicity.
Creativity and making connections. People with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. “Creativity is just connecting things. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
Create insanely different experiences. Jobs also sought innovation in the customer-service experience. Apple is the only tech company where designers report directly to the CEO. When the Apple Stores were first introduced, he said they would be different because the stores would enrich lives. And indeed, the experience one has in the store is intended to enrich your life and to create an emotional connection between you and the Apple brand.
Master the message. You may have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can't communicate your ideas, it doesn't matter. Jobs is considered one of the greatest corporate storytellers because his presentations inform, educate and entertain – and inspire.
Sell dreams. Jobs captured our imagination because he really understood his customer. He knew that computers and other devices would not capture our imaginations if they were too complicated. Jobs taught us that if you help your customers reach their dreams, you'll win them over. Jobs did not have much of an appetite for focus groups to obtain customer feedback because you cannot asked people “what’s the next big thing?”. There’s a famous quote from another big dreamer Henry Ford: “If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said, “a faster horse”.
For anyone who dreams of leading like Steve Jobs, here are three must-have characteristics:
1. Clarity of why you do what you do. To have this, you need a purpose, cause or belief that exists above and beyond the products or services you sell.
2. Discipline of how you do it. You must hold yourself and your people accountable to a defined set of guiding principles or values.
3. Consistency of what you do. Everything you say and do must prove what you believe. Every product that Apple made, all their marketing always communicated the same message: Think Different.
“Dream Bigger” is the counsel Steve Jobs gave to many people who sought advice. “See genius in your own madness, believe in yourself, believe in your vision, and be prepared to defend those ideas”.
Our collective global VMware Channel teams are a passionate group that strives to engage, enable and excite our partners. We dream about our Partner Community’s transformation of their businesses for the cloud-era. We constantly challenge ourselves to develop the best programs, tools, communications and support for our partners. After this past week’s passing of Steve Jobs, I think we can all agree that there could be room to “dream bigger”- keeping in mind the guiding principles that led to his incredible achievements.
Director, Global Partner Communications