When I first started to gain an interest in Apple in 2006, I began to frequent the Australian MacWorld forums. A topic came up regarding Steve Jobs (I’d link to the post but it seems to have vanished) and how pivotal Steve was to the success of Apple. I commented along the lines of, “he’s just another CEO”. The then editor of MacWorld Mr Matthew JC Powell corrected me that no, Steve Jobs was something more than just a CEO. At that point I shrugged it off as simply Matthew being an Apple and Steve Jobs fan to the core, and stuck to my initial belief.
The problem was as time passed and I began to see more and more of Steve, both in current events and delving back into the past keynotes and addresses Steve had given (even some rare interviews), I began to realise that I had been wrong about Steve. He wasn’t your ordinary CEO. This man engaged his end customers directly from time to time. This man made decisions about fine details of the companys products. This man had a clear vision for BOTH the company and its products far into the distant future. This man was humble enough to kill off his own ideas if they weren’t working out. Not a typical, egotistical, politically and career driven CEO that I have met, dealt with and observed in the past. Not someone that just had meetings to discuss vision statements. He was a truly inspirational and heavily involved leader.
I believe that everyone has the potential to bring something new and special to the table, for the benefit of their friends, their family and their work. Steve had so many good things he brought to those of us who were listening. I will not list them. Instead I will list two of his axioms that I have taken on board in my personal and professional life. The two big ones that I learned from him:
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”
“The best ideas have to win, otherwise you don’t have good people who stay.”
These ideas mean more to me than the Mac Pro I’m typing this on, or the iPad that I love to use. Those things are just the materialisations of his ideas and principles.
I will miss Steve Jobs.