Lessons From the Six Billion Dollar Man
Shortly after I wrote this I had dinner with two Silicon Valley "Sistahs" that had worked at Apple, one for over 20 years. During that time she worked 7 days a week and loved it, but eventually chose family and friends over the heady work world of Apple. My other dinner companion told a story of how Jobs had thrown a friend of hers under the judicial bus, ruining her career, when there was some funny business over postdating stock options. But when she expressed anger, it was not because of his dirty dealings, rather it was because he died, and she didn't get to see whatever he would have dreamed up next. - AM 11.13.12
Steve Jobs was an unapologetic perfectionist. He drove those around him crazy, but his uncompromising commitment to the customer experience built a six billion dollar empire. Here’s a few “takeways” for your own empire building.
Use your intuition: Market research is fine, but small businesses are successful because they can act quickly when they know they are on the right track.
Mediocrity is not an option: For Jobs, everything, from advertising campaigns to the people who worked for him, were limited to one of two categories: junk or genius. If something wasn’t the best it was abandoned or reworked till it was genius.
Networking AND cold calls: Starting out, Jobs networked with former employers and other contacts but was equally fearless about calling up a powerful CEO to pitch an idea.
Simplify: Just because you can add a feature doesn’t mean you should. Simple is elegant. Simple is fun.
Design: Jobs understood the importance of designing products that were not only functional but beautiful. This passion for design extended even to the inside of his computers, something his customers would never see.
You can't have quality without control: Jobs wanted to control the customers experience from the moment a package was opened. His attention to detail was legendary - from the stone used in the floors of Apple stores to the color of the ipod’s earbuds.
Image is everything: Jobs designed an early desktop computer with a handle, not so much so that it could be carried, but to “impute” it with a friendly, approachable image for folks who found computers scary.
Focus: Say no to all but the top three directions your business can go and then focus like a laser.