Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

Steve Jobs, the chairman and co-founder of Apple, passed away on Wednesday, October 5, 2011.  He was 56. There is no question that Jobs was one of the greatest disruptors, innovators, marketers, visionaries, etc. of all time.  In looking back on his exceptional work, I came across a speech that Steve gave at the Academy of Achievement in New Orleans, LA, in 1982.  In the speech, Steve talked about the importance of being creative, being innovative and retaining your idealism when creating great products for customers.

Being creative.  Creativity is creating something new.  Innovation is applying creativity to create something useful. Creativity is the idea.  Innovation is the application.  Jobs believed that it was Apple’s job to know what customers want before they do.  Jobs often cited Henry Ford when he said, “If I had asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse.”  If you ask customers what they want, they tell you an existing product to be better, cheaper and faster – no creativity.  “Customers do not know what they want until we show them.”

Being innovative.  Innovation is implementing something new or improving upon an existing operation that creates positive change.  Innovative people associate ideas from one field and apply it to another field to create and implement new ideas and processes.  “What you have to do is get experiences other than the normal course of events.”  For example, “Fall in love with two people at the same time.  Go to Paris and be a poet.  Visit a third-world country.”  Innovative people have a variety of experience to draw from to solve problems.

Remaining idealistic.  Never let yourself become complacent.  The way things are is never good enough.  Greatness is always the aspiration.  Experts often cannot do, so they advise.  Hear what experts say, but do not always listen to them.  Trust yourself and what you believe is right.  “We are all citizens of the world and the world needs our idealism” to make positive change and progress.  “We are constantly taking from the pool that has come before us. There is nothing better in life than putting something back in.”

Steve Jobs (1955-2011). RIP.

All contents copyright © 2011, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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