Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Five Immortal Lessons From Steve Jobs' Legacy

Today the world of business and technology mourn the death of one of the greatest entrepreneurs to have ever lived. Jobs' life undoubtedly had a profound impact on the tech industry and the way individuals interact with technology. As tributes pour its of no debate that Steve was the best CEO in the last three decades. He was a towering pioneer in all the fields of business he undertook; the Apple Mac revolutionarised the business of personal computing, while personal computers powered by Microsoft software ruled work places, Jobs envisioned people-friendly machines with mouse controllers and icons to click on to activate programs or open files. Pixar changed the world of animated movies forever, Avatar and the new world of 3-D would not be here were it not for Toy Story. The iPod changed the way people carried their entire catalogue of music, the accessory and after thought of iPod the iTunes threatened the entire music industry, CD sales fell, Apple's iTunes store, which has sold more than 16 billion songs since its inception in 2003, has revolutionized the album-based model historically championed by recording studios into singles priced at 99 cents delivered completely online. Then came the iPhone which single handedly toppled Nokia's market share in mobile and smart phones, More than 250 million devices running iOS have been sold worldwide. It became the first iconic touchscreen computer - and ushered in the beginnings of a new, 'post-PC' era. The iPad is slowly starting to take over the world of laptops. Apple's iPad, which was introduced in August 2010, was the fastest adopted consumer electronics device in history, with 3 million units sold within the first 80 days.

Jobs was just 21 when he founded Apple Computer in 1976 with his 26-year-old friend Steve Wozniak in his family garage. From such humble beginnings the company grew into one of the world's most valuable firms, posting second quarter profits of $731 billion in July on revenue of $28.57 billion despite the worldwide economic turmoil. Jobs built the most valuable technology company in the world by market capitalization, with a current market cap of 350.67 billion U.S. dollars. At a time when computer and device manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell are struggling to maintain consistent profitability levels, Apple has seen an upward trend in profit margins, with a net profit margin of more than 21 percent in its most recent fiscal year. Comparatively, HP and Dell have remained stagnant at approximately 7 percent and 4 percent respectively, according to their most recent annual financial statements.

There are plenty of lessons to learn from Steve Jobs for aspiring entrepreneurs and others that are already running their own businesses.

Lesson Number 1: Opportunities Are Right Where You Are
If you look at all Steve Jobs and Apple's products you will soon realise that prior to them coming up with an innovative product, that particular product was already there. Before the Mac and the iMac where launched personal PCs existed, Steve and Apple just made them better. Before he introduced the coloured iMac, PCs were the ugly and ubiquitous characterised by their beige colour. CDs an Albums was the only way to buy music until Apple under the visionary leadership of Steve introduced the iPod and its digital accessory iTunes changing forever how people purchased music. Mobile phones were not new prior to the introduction of the iPhone but its introduction knocked of Nokia of the perch. Nokia had a grip-like hold on the market share of mobile and smart-phones. They did not have invent a new product all they did was to change the existing products, look around you, look at the business that you are in what can you do to change your products? What is it that you use today in your business or at home that you can greatly improve, the ideas and opportunities are right where you are. One the most valuable axiom of business is to find a need and fill it. That is exactly what Steve Jobs and Apple did, they found a need for their products and filled it innovately. If you are already in business what is it that you can do today that can change your industry? That is what Steve and Apple did, apply it to your industry and the results will be amazing.

Lesson Number 2: Do What You Love
You will never make any money doing things that you do not love, you might have found a need but if you are emotionally detached from your day to day activities even the profits will be affected. Steve indulged in a hobby that he loved building the macintosh back in 1973 in his parent' garage with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak, the money followed later. They did not know whether their prototype of apple computer which you plugged into a television was going to make money. They followed their passion and did what they loved, do the same find your passion do what you love and as they say the rest is history.

Lesson Number 3: Follow You Intuition and Trust Your Instinct
Everybody will remember Steve Jobs' inspiring speech to student at Stanford University where he studied initially before dropping out. One of the things he mentions is how his biological mother who gave him up for adoption wanted to ensure that his adoptive parents were college graduates in order that he will go to college. When his first set of parents decided not to take him, the second set were only schooled right up to high school but did promise Steve's biological mother that he would be college educated. So his adoptive parents used their lifetime savings to send him to Stanford University an expensive college. After six months Steve could not see the value in it, he had no idea what he wanted to with his life and he had no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. So he decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. There is one instance where he trusted his instinct, some inner voice told him all was going to be fine. Just before he dropped out he decided to take a calligraphy course which he says later helped him in designing typography which is used by PCs and Apple Macs today. There was no way that he knew for sure that the calligraphy class was going to help him however that did not stop him from taking it. What is your sixth sense telling you, listen to it and develop the habit on following on it trusting it that it will lead you to greater success.

Lesson Number 4: Determination: If At First You Don't Succeed, Dust Yourself and Try Again
It is pretty obvious that if you are going to be successful you will need the ability to get back up when you have been knocked down. Steve Jobs embodied this principle, after being forced from Apple in the mid 80s, it could have been easy for him to retire and spent his fortune sailing on a super yacht but no he went on to start another computer company NeXT which Apple bought in 1997 for $429m setting the return of Steve Jobs to Apple. In business and in life we all encounter unpleasant circumstances, there are times when we knocked off the pedestal but its the mark of champion to be able to get back up.

Lesson Number 5: Leave a Legacy: Be Inspirational
Today's tributes as the world remembers Steve Jobs are along the lines that he changed the world. Not only is it true that he changed the world but he also inspired others to do the same, in 1984 when he was hiring John Sculley from Pepsi he lured him with the words 'Do you want to sell sugared water, or do you want to change the world?' All the staff at Apple have a belief that they can change the world, they are not only working but they are trying to put a dent in the universe. Such type of inspiration is the reason why the teams at Apple are known to work 90 plus hours a week to make their dent in the universe. All the industries job worked in he changedthem forever,chaging the world a multiple times. You may not be able to change the world but real leaders and visionaries such as Steve Jobs strive to do that which is the difference between a manager and a leader.

There are many lessons from Steve Jobs some are industry specific but he has left a legacy which all aspiring entrepreneurs and business people should emulate. R.I.P Steve Jobs.

1 comment:

Godfrey Mushandu said...

A very inspiring article, Well presented and informative. I have learnt quite a lot from this post. Keep it up. Well done.