Steve Jobs: Lessons we need to learn from him

Steve Jobs, a visionary, an inventor and one of the best leaders of the 20th century left the world on 5th October, 2011 i.e. Today, last year. He was amongst the most well known CEO’s of all times and is credited with taking Apple to new heights with the introduction of products such as iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.

Let us have a look at what all we can learn from the leadership of Steve Jobs.
1) Never Give up. Persistence is the key.
So, you build up a company, take it to new heights, bring in the best people to take it forward and be removed by the same people from your own company. How would you feel if this happened to you? You would be devastated and spend the rest of your lives feeling bitter about the incident.

Steve Jobs was a different man. He went on to start NeXT Computer in 1985 which made Webobjects, a framework for web application development. After Apple acquired NeXT, webobjects was used to build and run Apple Stores, MobileMe as well as the iTunes store.

Not only did Apple acquire NeXT, Steve Jobs went to become the de facto CEO of the company once again in 1996.

After this, he overturned the fortunes of Apple and made it the company that you love today.

Do you know what Steve Jobs had to say about this experience??

He believed that being removed from the company he created was the best thing that happened to him. He said that: “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.”

What can you learn from this?

As a leader and as a human being, you will face many challenges and setbacks. But, you should remember that these are part and parcel of life and should be seen as a building block, not as the end.

Come strongly back from your misfortunes and enjoy the process. In Lord Krishna’s words “Karm Karo, Fal ki Chinta mat karo”
2) Keep Innovating.
Throughout the lifetime of Apple, it has seen Microsoft as the market leader in Operating System and Softwares. How did Steve Jobs react to it?

He went on to develop his OS to perfection and develop some completely new products that the world would go on to love.

For example: the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, etc.

Apple went on to create completely new market for these products and lead them.

What can you learn from this?

Innovation is the key to survival.

It is always necessary to keep finding new products, new product benefits or even new markets altogether in order to gain and maintain leadership. Also, one should always keep his eyes open for competition. And remember that competition can come from ANYWHERE.
3) No one is your enemy. Make new friends from your enemies.
When Steve Jobs took over as the CEO of Apple again in 1997 (officially), Apple was in a very bad condition.

What do you think Steve Jobs did in such a situation?

He went on to have a deal with Microsoft whereby Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple by buying non-voting shares. Steve Jobs not only does collaborate with a competitor, but also makes sure that they have an upper hand in the deal even though they were in dire need of money. (Also remember than Macintosh was formed because the makers hated Microsoft and wanted to finish it.)

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Have a look at the video below to hear Steve Jobs announcing the deal. Notice how the Apple loving crowd ‘boos’ some of his decisions, but claps when he explains how Apple is still in control on each option.

What can you learn from this?

We need to remember that there is no permanent enemy when it comes to business. Remember that enmity never pays and working together, in a team, can benefit everyone.

As Steve jobs said in this clip, “It is not necessary that for Apple to win, Microsoft must lose.” Remember this. Create Win-Win situations.
4) Cannibalizing your own products is not always bad
Look closely at an Apple iPhone and an iPod. Would you buy an iPod if you have the option to go for an iPhone? No.. is the obvious answer. So, any CEO would have thought hundreds of times before launching the iPhone as it would cannibalize one of the other successful products of the company. Steve Jobs was not one of them. He went on with the iPhone and as expected, it did cannibalize iPod.

However, the sales of iPhone resulted in much bigger success to Apple. What Steve Jobs eventually did was to cannibalize his own products before someone else did that.

What can you learn from this?

Nothing is permanent. Everything is going to change. If you have a successful product which may die due to introduction of a better product from you, you should still go on with the better product. As said before, innovation is the key.

If you don’t, someone else will.

With this, I end this article on Steve Jobs.

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs.