By now you've likely heard that Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple and plans to continue as chairmen of the board. COO, Tim Cook, who has filled in for Jobs in recent years during his various medical leaves while he first battled pancreatic cancer and then recovered from a liver transplant, will step in as CEO.
There is much to be analyzed and reported on regarding this announcement. Every newspaper, blog and tech news outlet in the world is weighing in right now with their take on what this means for Apple, the tech industry itself, Steve Jobs and his legacy.
In today's world of 2011, we tend to focus on only Steve Jobs, the CEO. The CEO of one of the largest companies in the world (tech or otherwise, keep in mind Apple just surpassed Exxon). It's easy to forget he was once one of you, the audience we target-- the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the self-employed maverick going your own way.
MBA students will be studying Jobs the CEO for generations to come. But you and people like you, dear reader, will likly bump into Steve Jobs the entrepreneur for inspiration and wisdom for many years to come, as well.
I thought this would be a good time to share some of his best quotes from over the years; specifically sage wisdom for you, the David who dreams of one day being the Goliath.
Apply these words from the 90's to this economy
“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”
On you and the other guys
"We're gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make "me too" products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it's always the next dream."
On selling your startup
“So when these people sell out, even though they get fabulously rich, they’re gypping themselves out of one of the potentially most rewarding experiences of their unfolding lives. Without it, they may never know their values or how to keep their newfound wealth in perspective.”
“It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy."
On resting on your laurels
“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
“But it’s a disservice to constantly put things in this radical new light — that it’s going to change everything. Things don’t have to change the world to be important.”
On how innovation really happens
“But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea."
"Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart. We make it by innovation."
"Be a yardstick of quality."
On designing products
“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... 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 pride in your work
(Regarding the Mac OS X ) “We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.”
Should you rethink focus groups?
"It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."
“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.
The Tao of Steve
“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."
This is truly historic; a bookend to the end of an era in technology, business and pop culture. On a human level, let's hope Mr. Jobs is allowed many years to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. I will certainly miss writing about him.