Inspirations from Steve Jobs

I wouldn’t really claim to be one of the best fans of Steve jobs, but on his demise – the web was full of just him. Probably like many, i learned many things about him only on that day; but yes he was always very inspirational and as explored more about him, it was overwhelming!  read on…

When the news of Steve Job passed away, the whole web overwhelmed perhaps it was like an experience of web as never before. The Facebook news feed has only talk about it – and numerous pages filled with quotes (and here), his success stories and wisdom from Steve Jobs.

We all know that Apple lost a war against Microsoft and Steve Jobs eventually left Apple at that time. When he returned Apple when the company was almost in bankruptcy it was his success of iPod and later iPhone was breath taking for the entire market. While the is list is relatively longer, the crux remain is that few stunning products – all of them iconic – so much so that it revolutionized many markets which many thought was a dieing one. But that was pretty much what i really knew of him.

Being an engineer there are many things i didn’t quite like in apple’s product range which is being very closed in nature. The entire regime of Apple is closed platform. It does allow people to make iPhone App, but restricts many things which for example Android would allow.  Of course, the product comparisons go on forever. But that’s besides the point, Apple is Apple and that is how they wanted it to be.

But on 5th, finally i did go all over the places to learn many things about Steve Jobs as an individual.  Almost everything amazed me. He was the person who can be of inspiration not only for how products should be developed, how businesses should be created and grown, but more fundamentally how we should live our life. It was the last that made me extremely humble and overwhelmed.

A. Originality and believing in it.

No one can say things about design than what Steve Jobs can say; and here is how he puts it – “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.“.  All his greatest strength, and which is why people call him artist,  are his original way of thinking. I am sure it is not that suddenly one day he got his wisdom. But because he persuaded unprecedentedly and believed in his ‘love’ of things, even when world might have different ideas, that he achieved a sort of a stage where he is now.  In fact he goes on quotes that Apple never really goes on to make products by doing market surveys’ rather the team decides what they want to do and puts their commitment to reality.  In his words “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”.  Honestly, that is quite a guts specially if you are in consumer market!

B. Passion and Inner voice

As he said “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” i guess, it sounds great typical sentence that any billionaire would want to say; but it’s just true of him. He also had dark days after bright ones – and on those days he continued the same path for creative work. When Apple threw him out – it would have been death nailed anyone; but his pursuit of passion and excellence give to world things like Pixar and Toy Story. It is easy to understand why he was very demanding and perfectionist.

And there are many people who do believe one should pursue passion but then find themselves loosing it. The best lesson as he put it,

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”Fortune

and,

“.., 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. 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.”

C. Death as an inspiration

When i was reading many of the quotes, death was one of the prominent subject and while it looked interesting, i questioned why would he talk so much about death? “. So more googling made me realized – he had cancer. That too, since 2004. Even after being diagnosed cancer, he went on – to live – rather went on to make history after history with iPhone, iTunes and so on – and till he resigned, made Apple to see a day of business that few could imagine. Rather than being deterred from an inevitable death in front of him – he rather capitalized his urgency to create history!

“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.”  Now that is something!

As he puts it – “Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. 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.”

There are real gems – from his speech at stand ford (can be found here). And that is not limited to how genius creates legacies, there is something for everyone here – and we need to make good use of that for our personnel life.

An Excerpt from that speech – his ultimate message to all of us:

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

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