Steven Paul Jobs, 1955 - 2011

3 Lessons Learned from Steve Jobs

10.05.11 Posted in Reflections by

Image of Steve JobsSteve Jobs died today.

I’m not sure this is necessarily going to be one of those “where were you when you heard Steve Jobs died” sort of things or not. But I know I’ll always remember. I had just finished dinner, grabbed my iPhone and read this tweet.

My heart immediately sunk.

I went to Apple’s homepage to see this.

“Damn. Too soon.” That is all I could think.

My History with Apple

Apple Computer is one of those companies that has always been in my life. In 1980 I went to kindergarden in rural Montana to find one Apple II Plus in the classroom. The first time the school had ever had a computer and certainly the first time I’d ever seen one.

I only bought one non-Apple computer (a “PC”) in the 30 years since. It lasted less than a year.

But I didn’t order my Apple Fanboy card until after Steve Jobs returned to the company.

3 Lessons I’ve learned from Steve Jobs

1. Popular Opinions Don’t Mean &^%$

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 the company launched the famous Think Different campaign.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

What a message. It was powerful and inspring; especially as someone who had just left home and was off to explore the world.

And it was vintage Jobs. The year before he was pushed from Apple his company aired the most famous ad in television, 1984.

And Jobs always believed it was his mission to tell us what we wanted. Not the other way around.

He had no time for the guru’s or experts or naysayers. He knew what was right. And #$%& you if you’re too dumb to get it.

Its rare to be able to listen to your inner voice when everyone else is telling you to go in another direction.

2. Beauty Matters

This is the wrong title; but its something like that.

Making art is important. And everything else follows it. Function. Profit. Good business sense.

I have no doubt that Steve Jobs saw himself as an artist before he saw himself as many things. Beauty mattered to Steve Jobs. Whether it be the software or the hardware, it had to be beautiful. Not just ascetically, but also functionally.

I bought my first non-Apple computer just a few months before Steve Jobs returned as CEO of the company. There was nothing special about this Compaq laptop. Nothing inspiring. After Jobs returned he released the iMac and then the PowerMac G3.

They were beautiful. And after I ordered the PowerMac G3 I stood stunned at the box alone upon arrival.

But its beauty was also in its simplicity. There was this door that opened the side of the computer where I could access everything. No screws. No screwdrivers. No scratches. Just… a door.

Anyone can pick up an Apple device and it just works. That’s beautiful.

3. Follow Your Dreams

As far as I know, Steve Jobs has only once just talked about life publicly. In 2005 at Stanford University Jobs gave the commencement address. The year before he had been diagnosed with the cancer that I’m assuming lead to his death today.

His message was simple. Life is too damn short to live someone else’s life. Follow your path. Follow your dreams.

Its so cliché.

But here was a man who did exactly that and changed the world. How could you not listen?

I’m still trying to listen.

Steve… ugh! You will be missed.

2 Responses to “3 Lessons Learned from Steve Jobs”

  1. Monica Ray says:

    Great points, it’s amazing how one man’s vision can change the world.

    • Seth Neal says:

      I know. I can’t believe how sad I really am at a stranger’s passing! And I’m pretty sure I’m not just sad at the thought maybe my next iPhone won’t work as well too! Haha.

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