With the recent passing of Apple Co-founder Steven Paul (Steve) Jobs, it may inspire you to know that there is a little bit of Steve in every one of us. All it needs is for you to have a vision that is important to you, make a decision to pursue it with his level of passion, and then to never accept the status quo.
Besides the obvious technology that he gave us, this is the great lesson and legacy left to us by Steve Jobs. In coming years, his incredible accomplishments will become legendary. But despite all his great achievements Steve Jobs was not special. He did not possess anything that is unavailable to any other human.
There is a Steve Jobs in each of us to varying degrees. To celebrate his example and his legacy, here are some lessons from his life for our own brands and businesses.
This mantra was the driving force that gathered all the necessary ideas and formed themselves into possibly the greatest technology brand the world has known. It’s more than just an advertising slogan or a clever brand positioning idea. If you accept the status quo and don’t push the boundaries, you’ll never discover your own true genius. More importantly, you must believe in your different thinking.
Curiosity is the key to innovation and business growth. You should appreciate and practice the discipline of being curious. Continually ask questions, and question the answers that you are given. It has been said that to be truly innovative requires you to introduce things to the world that no one is asking for (well not yet anyway). Make your products or services the things the world is waiting for. No one was asking for an iPad and now they are one of the most desirable consumer electronics products in the world.
Failure is an idea that too many people buy into and then accept. Failure is not something to be afraid of – providing you learn from your mistakes. It is part of learning, growth and accomplishment. It is impossible when creating something to get it 100% right the first time. There are always undesired results when creating anything. It is part of the creative process. Use your “failures” to grow and expand your brand, business or ideas.
Put your own “dent in the universe”.
This now famous Jobs expression can apply to everyone. You need to care about something that is hugely important to you. Something that will make a big difference to others lives. Thinking differently has the natural effect of making a difference and doing what deeply matters to you is how you make your own dent the universe.
Don’t settle for the ordinary.
It’s easy to say something is good enough and put it out to the market. Many brands and businesses of all sizes operate like this. They are satisfied to take the money and run. Problem is when you settle for good enough you’ll never command premium prices for your products or services. Good enough = the same as your competitors = no competitive advantage.
Perfection is the enemy.
No, this doesn’t contradict the previous statement. At some point in time you have to get out to the market and learn from consumer feedback. Constant improvement, learning, tweaking and enhancing your products is how you grow. The thing is you can never gain perfection, nor do you want it. If the first iPhone had been perfect, how could Apple ever bring out subsequent models and expect consumers to upgrade? Loyal iPhone users queue for hours to get their hands on the latest release. Wouldn’t you love to have this level of anticipation for your products?
Seek beauty and express it with simplicity.
People love simple. Simple is beautiful. Unfortunately it is not easy to strip away the un-necessary and get to simplicity. If you make a product, make it beautiful, simple to understand and use. If you deliver service, do it with humility, elegance and grace.
Command a premium price.
The key to premium pricing lies in providing your customers with more perceived value than they pay in cash value. Consider this for a moment. The decision to buy a commodity will more often than not be simply on price. When your customers value their experience with your brand, product or service more than they value the money they exchange, you will never become a commodity. Your brand will carry a higher meaning and greater value than your competitors. There must be a deep emotional connection between the product and the customer that is far more important than its features or user benefits. This was something that Steve Jobs understood well.
Of course, not everyone will become a Steve Jobs but it is not impossible to create and innovate like Steve Jobs. The way he demonstrated just how possible the impossible really is could be his legacy to the world. For that we should be thankful.
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