On Steve Jobs: The Man with the Midas touch

Image by Cog Log Lab (c)

Steve Jobs, the former CEO and co-founder of Apple Inc, died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday at the age of 56. There has been an outpouring of grief and sadness at the demise of a man widely regarded as a charismatic and creative genius. All Jobs wanted to do was create insanely great products and in the process he changed the world of technology. A visionary and game changer who transformed several industries (computing, music, film, mobile etc) by reinventing what already existed.

His products are well known for their simplicity and elegant design because he realised that Apple consumers did not want complicated devices or ugly ones. He made paying for digital music cool, convenient and cheap when the record industry was struggling to tackle the scourge of online piracy. He was a trail blazer. A man who didn’t go where the path led him but chose instead to go where there was no path and left a trail for others to follow. Adieu Steve Jobs and thank you for setting high creative standards  for the rest of us.

I have gathered several of my favourite quotes by Steve Jobs sourced from the Wall Street Journal blog and categorised them by my own themes.

On Design

“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that”.

On Creativity

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

“Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. 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”

On Innovation

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it”

On Quality

“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

On Work

“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.”

Watch Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford University commencement speech video (highly recommended if you have not seen it )

Q: What are your thoughts on Steve Jobs and his impact?


4 replies on “On Steve Jobs: The Man with the Midas touch”

Quite clearly we may never see another like Steve Jobs in our lifetime. I never really used any apple products for personal reasons but i cannot deny their quality and the fact that Mr. Jobs changed the world forever.

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