The Visionary: Steve Jobs on Courage
Steve Jobs was a visionary leader who co-founded Apple Inc. and was crucial in creating products that revolutionized the tech industry. He was known for his bold and sometimes controversial decisions and his unwavering commitment to creating products that were not just good but great. This article will explore a talk he participated in at the D8 Conference, recorded in 2010. He talked about how Apple chose which technologies to focus on and how the company dared to make tough decisions, even if it meant going against conventional wisdom.
Steve Jobs talked about how Apple had succeeded in the tech industry by carefully choosing which technologies to focus on. He explained that they looked for technical vectors that had a future and were headed up. This approach allowed them to save enormous amounts of work and energy rather than trying to do everything and spreading themselves too thin.
Choosing the Right Horses to Ride
One of the critical insights that Steve Jobs shared in the speech was the importance of choosing suitable horses to ride. He explained that technology went through cycles, with springs, summers, autumns, and, ultimately, the graveyard of technology. By choosing technologies in their springs, Apple has been able to stay ahead of the curve and create innovative and successful products.
Steve Jobs gave several examples of how Apple had chosen suitable horses to ride in the past. For example, they were the first to move from the 5-inch floppy disk to the 3.5-inch floppy disk with the Mac. They also removed serial and parallel ports and were the first to adopt USB, which you first saw in mass on iMacs. They were among the first to eliminate optical drives with the MacBook Air.
Steve Jobs acknowledged that some people called Apple crazy for removing the floppy disk drive on the original iMac. However, he explained that sometimes you had to pick the things that looked like suitable horses. Apple had the courage of their convictions to say that they didn’t think certain things were part of what made a great product, and they would leave them out.
Courage in Making Tough Decisions
Steve Jobs explained that sometimes Apple’s decisions were unpopular, and some people called them crazy. However, Apple dared to stick to its convictions and make tough decisions even if it meant going against conventional wisdom. They listened to the market and were willing to change their approach if they made the wrong choices. They were committed to making the best products in the world for their customers, even if it meant taking the heat from critics.
Steve Jobs pointed out that different people made different choices, and some things were emphasized in a product, while others were not done as well or were chosen not to be done at all. Apple focused its energy on technologies in their ascendancy and would be the right technologies for customers. They wanted to make the best products they could, and if they succeeded, customers would buy them; if they didn’t, they wouldn’t.
The Importance of Customer Focus
Steve Jobs underscored the significance of customer focus as the cornerstone of Apple’s success. He believed that the ultimate goal of any business was to create products that met the needs of their customers and that Apple’s approach had always been centered on this principle.
According to Jobs, Apple understood that customers paid them to create the best products. Therefore, the company needed to remain dedicated to delivering high-quality products that were innovative and functional. Apple’s success, he argued, stemmed from its ability to anticipate what customers would want next and then develop products that met those needs.
To achieve this, Apple focused its energy and resources on technologies that were breaking out in popularity and would be the right fit for customers. By investing in the right technologies, Apple could create products that customers love, increasing sales and profitability.
Jobs highlighted that customer feedback was an essential aspect of Apple’s approach. The company could refine its products by listening to customer feedback and better meeting their needs. Apple’s willingness to incorporate customer feedback has helped the company to remain at the forefront of the tech industry and continue to deliver products that exceed customer expectations.
Steve Jobs emphasized the importance of choosing the right technologies to focus on and having the courage to make tough decisions. Apple’s success was built on its ability to identify technologies in its springs and head up and then invest its energy and resources into making those technologies great on its platform. Apple could stay ahead of the curve by eliminating outdated technologies and adopting new ones in their ascendancy.
Steve Jobs’ message was clear: to succeed in business, one needed the courage to make tough decisions, even if they went against conventional wisdom. It was necessary to be willing to take risks and be confident in one’s convictions, even if it meant taking heat from critics. Ultimately, success came down to customer focus, making the best products possible, and letting the market decide. By following these principles, Apple became one of the most successful companies in the world and a true testament to the vision and leadership of Steve Jobs.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs