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The Real Genius of Steve Jobs

In 1991, after his marriage, Jobs and his wife moved into a nineteen nineties style house in Palo Alto. Steve had one weakness of failing to furnish the houses he lived in. In his previous house, he only got a mattress, a table, and chairs. He was a perfectionist. It took longer, in figuring out the kind of perfect items to purchase for his house. 

In a conversation with Walter Isaacson, Job’s wife stated that in eight years they discussed furniture in theory. The discussion on the washing machine seemed more complicated than the sofa story.  Jobs had found out that European washing machines used less detergent and less water than the American counterpart.

However, they took twice as long to complete a washing cycle.  Jobs explained they were stuck on what to do as a family. They spent lots of time discussing the kind of trade-offs to make. They discussed the kind of family values they had; whether they wanted the clothes cleaned for a longer time but come out ultimately as soft. Each night after dinner, at least two hours were spent on the same discussion. Isaacson’s biography on Jobs presents him as an exhausting and complicated human being.  Parts of his life are messy. Isaacson presents those parts just as they are.

In the past recorded activities and events, it comes out clearly that jobs were a bully. At one instance, he gets his girlfriend pregnant and denies the pregnancy was his.  On another occasion, he parks in handicapped places. Jobs shouts out to the subordinates in his place of work.  Once in a restaurant, Jobs sent back food three times. Isaacson revealed of the numerous times robots had to be painted and repainted as jobs revised his color scheme.

The autobiography begins in Silicon Valley in the Apple co-founded by Jobs. Despite his dismissal from the company, upon return later, he exhibited the same arrogant behavior.  Interestingly, in his sixties, Job was hospitalized. Still, his arrogance was well displayed. He chose three out of seventy nurses to look after him. Upon sedation, while still frail, he pulled off the oxygen mask claiming that it was ugly. Also, he pointed out that the oxygen pointer on his finger was complicated and ugly.

After his death, Jobs was eulogized as an inventor and a visionary. However, Isaacson’s biography refers to him as atweaker.  Technology savvy items that were produced by other companies were created in Apple a few years later. Jobs always found many items on the market as stinking.  Isaacson stated that Steve Jobs used to speak of other people’s ideas as if they were his own. 

In a sense, Jobs was great in editorial work and not innovation. He could take on other people’s ideas and refine them to make them better. Tweaking as a skill is important for progress. The innovator writes out an original idea about an item. A tweaker refines the idea to make the item better suited in functionality. 

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

Steve Jobs 

You can’t have a candid look at Apple success without bearing in mind the input of Steve Jobs. Here is a snapshot to the life of a genius behind Apple’s present-day innovations and subsequent contemporary technologies. This chapter looks at Steve jobs career, the Apple story, and an inspiring journey for prospective entrepreneurs and inventors. Born in San Francisco, Steve Paul Jobs was an American entrepreneur, inventor, and designer. At the age of 21 in 1976, he and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computers. Initial funding came from Job selling his Volkswagen and Wozniak selling his cherished scientific calculator. The two are credited for inventing technologies that made machines smaller, affordable, and widely accessible to the daily consumer.

Wozniak came up with a series of user-friendly personal computers while Jobs took over the marketing role. The company could sell each Apple computer for $666.66. This single invention saw the company earn about $774,000 in revenue. 3 years down the line, the release of the Apple II model boosted company sales revenues by a whopping 700% to $139 million. Apple computers became publicly traded in 1980, with a market share valuation of $1.7 Billion by the close of trading on the first day. Jobs sought Pepsi-Cola marketing expert John Sculley to take over as CEO for Apple. This could be followed by product design flaws that resulted in recalls and consumer displeasure.

IBM surpassed Apple in sales and this later saw market competition for domination between the two ensue. To counter the tide, in 1984, Steve Jobs and team helped release Macintosh computers. This product revolutionized lifestyles at the time for its functionality, style, and creative look. However, despite a hike in sales, this invention was still not at par with IBM’s. Feeling Jobs was hurting the growth of the company, CEO Sculley sought his demotion which saw Steve Jobs leave Apple in 1985.

Jobs purchased Pixar Animation Studios from George Lucas in 1986 at an investment of $5 million which was called Graphics Group at the time. The studio merged with Walt Disney in 2006 with Steve as the main shareholder. Jobs began a new hardware and software, NeXT Inc.  The company was later bought by Apple in 1996 for $429 million, marking a turning point for Apple reinvention. Steve returned to Apple as CEO in 1997.

He set up a vibrant management team, self-imposed his annual salary at $1 million a year, and put Apple back on track. Apple embarked on an aggressive and stylish product designs that won consumer confidence once more. These technologies included the iPod, MacBook Air, iMac, and iPhone, a momentous time that saw competitors start inventing comparable products.

By 2007, Apple quarterly reports recorded $199.99 in stock value, $1.58 billion profit with $18 billion in a surplus and no debt. Fueled by record iTunes, iPhone, and iPod sales, Apple was ranked No.1 as “America’s Most Admired Companies,” and Fortune 500 companies for returns by Fortune magazine. January 2011 would remain in the annals of history; this time Steve Jobs sought a medical leave from Apple.

Seemingly a normal practice, he shocked many on August the same year when he resigned as CEO of Apple, handing over control to Tim Cook. Yet, many didn’t know this could be his last journey in the company. Steve Jobs would later succumb to death on October 5, 2011, at the age of 56 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

It is not possible to sum up Steve Job’s career in a single chapter. Nonetheless, the world will forever be indebted to a genius who inspired creativity and changed lives beyond himself. A few lessons stick out. Innovative products require effective marketing to sell and success comes with hard work.  Such an entrepreneurial spirit can only be for something bigger and better. 

There are some great quotes from the late famous tech entrepreneur. Jobs states that he never went back to Apple for money. At the age of 25, his net worth was already $100 million. Since he made a fortune at a young age, he decided that money was not going to ruin his life. His return to Apple was to make it worthwhile for his health and wellbeing. Although he never foresaw his dismissal from Apple, Steve asserts it is one of the best things that happened in his life. Despite his massive wealth, he got an opportunity to begin again in life. 

He states that setbacks can be used as important points for performing vital things in life. The Beatles are his business model. The Beatles are essentially made up of four partners who through constantly checking each other’s weakness keep themselves in balance.  Jobs states that in an organizational structure, the total is great than the summation of each part.  Jobs addresses creativity, he states that it is a matter of connecting people. Creative people cannot relay the exact details of how something happened. They just saw points of interconnection.

He also said technology has brought the distinct parts of the world together and would continually do so even in the future.  Just like everything else, technology has got its own downsides.  According to Jobs Television has been among the corrosive forms of technology, it has had a negative impact on the human experience. His belief in life being intelligent. As such, he asserts that things do not just take place in a random manner.  Even the Universe is made of matter and energy arranged in a particular manner. On the process of innovation and discovery in history, he states that people do not know where it will lead to. 

The common belief is that there is something bigger than any of the current events in life. Jobs commended the young people on their willingness to adapt to new things as opposed to older people who probably wonder what to do with certain items. He stated the vital need of pursuing a vocation and not just a simple way of earning a living. He states that life takes a large portion of one’s life.

Therefore, it is vital for one to find a job that satisfies them completely, to attest that it is a great work.  A great job is only what one loves. If you do not have a great job, one should not just settle. Keep on looking for it. Jobs advised people on a time of walking away from a specific venture. He states his daily example of asking whether if it is his last day on earth, he would find pleasure in doing his daily task. If not, he states that it is the best time that someone should find something else. 

The Real Genius of Steve Jobs

22 Years Ago, Steve Jobs Said 1 Thing Separates People Who Achieve From Those Who Only Dream

Steve Jobs set extremely high expectations. He challenged other people to work harder, work longer, and do more — sometimes more than they thought was possible. 

Jobs was … well, let’s just say that Steve Jobs was demanding. 

But he also believed in the power of asking.

I’ve never found anybody that didn’t want to help me [Jobs says in the video below] if I asked them for help … I called up Bill Hewlett when I was 12 years old. “Hi, I’m Steve Jobs. I’m 12 years old. I’m a student in high school. I want to build a frequency counter, and I was wondering if you have any spare parts I could have.” He laughed, and he gave me the spare parts, and he gave me a job that summer at Hewlett-Packard … and I was in heaven.

I’ve never found anyone who said no or hung up the phone when I called. I just asked. And when people ask me, I try to be responsive, to pay that debt of gratitude back. 

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates, sometimes, the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.

Granted, it’s often not easy to ask for help. Asking can make you feel insecure. Asking can make you feel vulnerable. 

But oddly enough, that’s a good thing. 

When you ask for help, without adding qualifiers or image enhancers, when you just say, “Can you help me?” several powerful things happen, especially for the other person.

You show respect. Without actually saying it, you’ve said, “You know more than I do.” You’ve said, “You can do what I can’t.” You’ve said, “You have experience [or talents or something] that I don’t have.” You’ve said, “I respect you.” 

You show trust. You show vulnerability, you admit to weakness, and you implicitly show that you trust the other person with that knowledge.

Image result for 22 Years Ago, Steve Jobs Said 1 Thing Separates People Who Achieve From Those Who Only Dream

You show you’re willing to listen. You’ve said, “You don’t have to tell me what you think I want to hear; tell me what you think I should do.” 

By showing you respect and trust other people, and by giving them the latitude to freely share their expertise or knowledge, you don’t just get the help you think you want.

You might also get the help you really need.

You get more — a lot more.

And so do other people, because they gain a true sense of satisfaction and pride that comes from being shown the respect and trust they — and everyone — deserve. Plus, you make it easier for them to ask you for help when they need it. You’ve shown it’s OK to express vulnerability, to admit a weakness, and to know when you need help.

And then, best of all, you get to say two more incredibly powerful words:

“Thank you.”

And you get to truly mean them.

And if that’s not enough to convince you: If a guy like Steve Jobs was willing to ask for help, shouldn’t we?



Here’s the crucial lesson Steve Jobs taught Apple’s Jony Ive about focus

Jony Ive, the chief design officer at Apple, is the man Apple CEO Steve Jobs once called his “spiritual partner at Apple,” and on Friday, he talked with The New Yorker‘s David Remnick about the creative process and focus Jobs instilled in him for the magazine’s TechFest.

How to stay focused like Steve Jobs

The partnership between Ive and Jobs famously led to the ubiquitous aesthetically-pleasing designs of Apple products — including the iMac, MacBook, iPod, iPhone, and iPad — that millions of us hold in our hands and use every day. Remnick compared the synergy that led to these innovations as “Lennon-McCartney” breakthroughs. Ive said that when he and Jobs were clicking on all cylinders they were able to communicate their ideas in an “almost pre-verbal way.”

Jobs and Ive were not just business partners, but also close friends who ate lunch and vacationed together. And as friends and business partners, Jobs gave Ive blunt advice: If Ive wanted to work at his best, he would need to stay focused at all costs.

“I remember sort of early on when we were working, and he was saying that, ‘Jony, you have to understand there are measures of focus, and one of them is how often you say no,’” Ive said Jobs told him.

The power of refusal

Jobs believed in the power of refusal so much that he would ask Ive to tell him how many times Ive had said “no” during the day.

It was an “incredibly patronizing deal,” Ive admits, but he also acknowledges that this kind of tunnel-vision focus works.

“The art of focus is even if it is something you care passionately about, focus means ignoring it, putting it to the side. And often, it’s at real cost. And [Jobs] was remarkable at that,” Ive said.  “It takes so much effort and is exhausting to sustain, but all of the good things we’ve done have required that sort of focus.”

Setting your focus

To organize your life, you’ll need to prioritize what matters to you and clear away the clutter.

You may need to make big sacrifices to achieve this level of Steve Jobs-focus, but your reward may be having an idea as a great as an iPhone.



Steve Jobs introduces Original iPad – Apple Special Event (2010)

Pixar’s Co-Founders Heard ‘No’ 45 Times Before Steve Jobs Said ‘Yes’

With its stunning visuals and storytelling to boot, Disney’s Pixar has been captivating global audiences for decades, helping to transform the way people look at animated feature films. Best known for its use of computer-generated imagery (CGI), Pixar has 17 animated feature films on its record, 12 of which made the list of the 50 highest-grossing animated films of all time. (Disney has even released a film showing that all the Pixar films are connected.)

Pixar knows a thing or two about how to tell a story and now anyone can learn how to capture people’s imagination with a scintillating story. In an initiative called “Pixar in a Box,” which is sponsored by Disney, Pixar has teamed up with the Khan Academy to offer free online classes to anyone with an internet connection and a passion for storytelling.

Over the years, Pixar has given audiences the likes of the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Finding Dory. If its back catalogue isn’t impressive enough, Pixar has now given its fans what is arguably its most sacred creation of all — the secret of how to tell tales that make people tick.

I interviewed Alvy Ray Smith, one of the company’s co-founders, and he told me about learning animation from a $1.50 “how-to” book, the role that “Moore’s Law” played in guiding him to success with Pixar, his three golden rules of recruitment and working with the late Steve Jobs.


In addition to pursuing computer graphics at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), you taught yourself the basics of animation using a $1.50 “how-to” book written by the late Preston Blair, a character animator best known for his work at Disney and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Where did you get your business savvy from?

Alvy Ray Smith: My co-founder, Edwin Catmull, and I were the academic type. We were computer nerds with PhDs and learned business by the seat of our pants. When George Lucas — one of our patrons — lost half his fortune in a divorce, we were forced to start a company to preserve our group. Our first move was to buy four “how-to-start-a-business” books. I also called a former colleague at NYIT, Jim Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics (and later, Netscape) and asked him how to do business. He said, “It’s not hard, Alvy. It’ll take you about a year to learn the basics.” That was the extent of our “formal” training. Then, we went through an intense learning process made necessary by financing Pixar. Thirty-five venture capitalists and 10 large corporations turned us down, but we got lots of training presenting the company and “talking the talk.”

Related: High-Tech Startups Need to Ditch the ‘Engineers Rule’ Mentality

Describe the impact that Gordon E. Moore — the founder of Intel — had on your business philosophy.

In my own words, “Moore’s Law” says, “Everything good about computers gets better by a factor of 10 every five years.” So, in 2015, computers were 10 billion times better than they were in 1965. Catmull and I used this “Law” at several crucial points, including the formation of Pixar. In the final year at Lucasfilm, I ran the numbers for a contract with a Japanese company ready to produce the first digital movie. To my horror, I discovered that computers hadn’t arrived yet — by a factor of 10. I had to back out of the deal. Hence, we knew that Pixar couldn’t make movies for another five years. At the end of those five fraught years — right on Moore’s Law schedule — Disney stepped forward to finance Toy Story, the first digital movie.

What positives did you take away from your association with the late Steve Jobs, who was the main investor in Pixar?

Jobs financed us when 45 other organizations had said “no.” He didn’t create or run Pixar, but he did capitalize us as a manufacturing company for those first five years. We ran out of money several times, and Jobs would always write us another check in exchange for equity. His greatest business move was to take Pixar public on the strength of great critical previews of Toy Story.

Related: 3 Mistakes (Nearly) Every Tech Startup Makes — and How to Avoid Them

What business principles did you apply when you co-founded Pixar that could be applied by a founder of a startup today?

When hiring people, live by three rules — hire smarter than yourself, hire the best and give them their space. It’s like being a good parent. You can’t produce creativity, but you can identify it, nourish it and let it grow. Catmull and I aren’t good entrepreneurial models because we failed for five years, staying alive only because of one of our patrons, Steve Jobs. We weren’t successful until we were executing a business that we had truly prepared for, which was making animated movies. What we did have going for us was a clear and clean vision — that is, to make the first digital movie. It was not to make a financially successful company. Pixar’s example taught us that entrepreneurs aren’t always born (sometimes, they’re made), failure isn’t always final (sometimes, it’s just feedback) and recruitment works best by a “rule of three.”



Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Microsoft. It’s complicated

Looking back at Steve Jobs’ tenure at Apple, it’s impossible to separate the role Microsoft and Bill Gates played. The companies helped pioneer the industry and define an era. The two CEOs partnered at various times, competed all the time, and challenged one another in ways that helped shape the landscape of technology. It’s a complex relationship – which you can witness in this amusing video compilation of Steve Jobs best quotes about Microsoft.

During the development of the Macintosh in the early 80s, Microsoft was an important ally. Apple needed groundbreaking softwares for it’s upcoming platform and Microsoft was one of the few companies developing for it. It was a crucial phase for Apple.

The strength of their relationship could be witnessed at an Internal Apple Event in Hawai where Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh to a few Apple VIPs. Bill Gates sugarcoated the Mac and Steve Jobs loved every moment of it.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were so close at the time that according to a Guardian article, they even double-dated occasionally.

But all good things must end.

Steve Jobs had this dream where Apple would dominate the computer business and Microsoft would own the application-side of that business. The OS would naturally also by controlled by Apple.

But Bill Gates wasn’t blind. He understood that the Graphical User Interface was the future of computing. He also knew that it would quickly make its DOS operating system irrelevant and threatens Microsoft to become (just) a software company dependent of Apple. Bill Gates had bigger plans.

For years, Microsoft had engineers secretly copying the Macintosh OS and working on its own version of a Graphical OS: Windows. Not long after the Internal Event in Hawaii, Steve Jobs learned the crushing news. Microsoft wanted to compete with Apple; Bill Gates deceived him.


For the next 15 years, Apple would engage in a strange relationship with Microsoft. On one end, Microsoft was prying marketshare away from Apple, on the other, it was one of its biggest partner. Steve Jobs would soon leave Apple and create NeXT but would not succeed to make a dent in Microsoft’s dominance.

Along the way, Jobs often sparred with Microsoft, criticizing the company’s lack of creativity.

“The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste,” Jobs said in the 1996 public television documentary “Triumph of the Nerds.” “They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.”

In a New York Times article that ran after the documentary aired, Jobs disclosed that he called Gates afterward to apologize. But only to a degree.

”I told him I believed every word of what I’d said but that I never should have said it in public,” Jobs told the Times. ”I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”


But if Steve was still bitter about Bill, why would he keep a letter of Bill next to his bed during his last moments?

Though to say…

What both men really thought of each others or what really happened behind the curtain will probably never be known. You have to hope that these titans truly shared mutual respects and eventually found grounds to appreciate each others. Bill Gates seems to have:

Bill Gates statement at the passing of Steve Jobs

I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.

Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.

The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.

For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.

Bill Gates, 2011.




Remembering Steve Jobs’ liberating advice about death

Steve Jobs was an inspiration to many, so it’s no wonder his talk about pursuing your dreams has been watched more than 26 million times.


The video shows Jobs addressing an audience at Stamford University in 2005.


He got off to a somewhat unpredictable start given the setting; talking about how he dropped out of college so he could stop attending the classes that didn’t interest him.


Instead, he slept on a friends’ floor and attended the classes that genuinely interested him.


He attended a typography class that later inspired the typography that was designed into the first Mac computer.


Then, Jobs spoke about how he was fired from his own company ten years after starting Apple, by the board of directors.


He said:


I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.


The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.


It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.


Jobs then went onto create NeXt and Pixar, which was later bought by Apple; and went back to work for Apple.


He said:


I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple.


Don’t lose faith.


I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.


You’ve got to find what you love.


Jobs goes on to say that he asks himself every morning: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”


And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.


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.


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.



Steve Jobs Commencement Speech at Stanford University

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward 10 years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. 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.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down — that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

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. Because 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.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

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.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.



How Steve Jobs Saved Apple and Nike With One Piece of Advice

When Nike named Mark Parker their CEO in 2006, one of the first things Parker did was call Apple CEO Steve Jobs for business advice.

It might not have seemed it, but at the time Nike was struggling.

Yes, they had a successful brand. But they were failing to fit their digital strategy into their line of literally hundreds of thousands of products.

During their call, Steve Jobs gave one piece of advice that stuck with Parker:


“Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”— Steve Jobs

“He was absolutely right,” said Parker. “We had to edit.”

Instead of going into another product line for technology, Nike stuck to what they did best while partnering with Apple. The result was Nike+, reportedly one of the most successful Nike campaigns ever.

Steve Jobs didn’t just give advice, he lived it.

Jobs was fired from Apple but returned as the company was floundering in 1997. His first order of business? Cut.

By the end of that year, Jobs had killed almost 70 percent of Apple’s products.  A year later, the company had gone from losses of $1.04 billion to a $309 million profit.

Jobs saw Apple as distracted by opportunities. And while opportunities seem innocent enough, we often forget the commitments that come with them: Energy, time, and money.

Why focusing on one thing is so hard

I know I’m guilty of taking on too many things at once.

For one, our culture teaches us to go after multiple opportunities. Not just one.

When the word priority came into the English language in the 1400s it was singular. It meant the very first thing. Not things.

According to New York Times best-selling author Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism, the word ‘priority’ stayed singular for five hundred years until we made it plural in the 1900s.

We can see proof of the acceptance of priorities versus a priority by looking at Google’s Ngram Viewer, a tool that analyzes word usage in printed books dating back to 1500.

The usage of the word ‘priorities’ in text was pretty much zero until around 1950. Then something happened.

“Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow we would now be able to have multiple “first” things”, McKeown says.

Take that meeting. Go to that event because you ‘never know’. Our psychology pushes us too. The fear of missing out is powerful. We don’t want someone else to grab our opportunities.

It seems counterintuitive that shutting down opportunities would be the best way to build something great, but turning them down in exchange for focus is exactly what’s required. Especially today.

Focus trumps opportunity: Why doing one thing well works

With the floodgates of the internet permanently thrown open, we’re drowning in options and information when all our brains want is something simple.

If you can tap into that simple, focused message, you’ll stand out. Apple (under Jobs) spent its first 3 years selling only one product: the Apple 1. Only after nailing that first product did they move on. It’s rare to build one thing well. As Steve Jobs said, “Apple is a $30 billion company, yet we’ve got less than 30 major products. I don’t know if that’s ever been done before.”

By focusing on less, you give yourself the time to build a product that solves a problem in an incredible way. When your company’s energy and resources are spread too thin, you can’t help but solve problems at a high level. You don’t have the attention so you build something that’s good enough.

But there’s too much competition to build anything that is only good enough.

At Crew we help companies find acclaimed designers and developers to work with.

Early on we thought about working with other types of professionals, like writers, but quickly realized the price that came along with adding that one word to our website: new marketing, a new sales approach, and new processes. On top of that, we’d make it less clear what we offer.

I’m still tempted by opportunities but I’ve learned the importance of focusing on the right ones. One thing I’ve done to help with this is make a ‘no’ list where I list every tempting ‘opportunity’ we say ‘no’ to today.


How Steve Jobs Saved Apple and Nike With One Piece of Advice