Books Business Marketing Product Management Technology

Steve Jobs

Author: Walter Isaacson

My Rating 5/5

Summary: A candid biography of one of the most influential innovators in technology.

My Takeaways

Steve refused to accept automatically perceived truths and wanted to examine everything himself.

“Pretend to be completely in charge and people will assume you are.”

Steve Jobs was incredibly persistent 

Jobs and Wozniak had completely different personalities and skill sets that complimented each other perfectly. 

Apple did not have this glorious start to their business in the mid 70s that people assume.

Jobs cared about craftsmanship and paid attention to the details others didn’t. 

It seems like Jobs looked for people to work with that had a chip on their shoulder. 

Jobs was instilled with the belief that you should never start a company with the goal of getting g rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last. 

They wrote a philosophy that stressed 3 things:

  1. Empathy: an intimate connection with the feelings of the customer
  2. Focus: in order to do a good job of the things we decide to do, we must remove all unimportant opportunities. 
  3. Impute: emphasized the people form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys.( people do judge a book by its cover, so we need to present in a creative and professionally manner that will impute the desired qualities. This translated into every aspect of the product experience including packaging. 

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”

In the early days, Steve would only hire people who were passionate about the product. 

One of Jobs’ management philosophies was that it was crucial every now and then to roll the dice and “bet the company” on some new idea or technology.

Lasting companies know how to reinvent themselves. 

One of Steve Jobs’ strengths is his ability to focus. Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. 

Steve hated powerpoints and said that people who know what they’re talking about don’t need powerpoints. 

Apple had tons of products and Steve simplified it. 

“Skate to where the puck is going”

Apple has deep collaboration across departments 

‘A’ players recruit and like to work with other ‘A’ players. 

The hiring process involved candidates meeting with hire ups on different departments. 

Apple made the iPod for themselves because they love music. If you love something, you’re going to go the extra mile and challenge the status quote. This is why the Microsoft Zune failed. 

The reason Sony and othe companies failed to compete with Apple in making a portable music player is because their were silos in division with they’re own bottom line and didn’t work together

Apple doesn’t have divisions with its own P&L, just one. 

“Jobs stressed that if you don’t cannablize yourself, someone else will.” iPhone vs iPod. Other companies such as Sony were worried about cannibalization. 

Jobs demands end to end control of the user experience hardware software and content.

Steve Jobs was brilliant at turning down the thousands of opportunities that wouldn’t make an impact and only focusing on the two or 3 that are important.

Steve’s genius is that he knows how to make things simple, and that requires controlling everything. 

Apple believes that technology alone isn’t enough. It’s technology married with humanities that yield results. 

Steve Jobs personality was mean. He did not sugarcoat things. This hindered him in many relationships but did serve a purpose. Polite leaders are generally not as effective at forcing change. It forced people to do things they didn’t think were possible. 

Jobs was a master at seeing the big picture and focusing on the details. 

Jobs created Apple to build great products, not pursue profit. John Scully flipped this around which had huge implications in what was discussed at meetings and who was hired.

Apple’s approach is to figure what people want before they do. 

Steve’s theory on why successful companies decline is because sales people run them and not product people. (Steve Ballmer at Microsoft)

Steve wanted to build a lasting company that would stand generations from now. 

Steve does not sugarcoat things and created a culture of honesty at Apple.

Companies need to keep evolving like musicians (Dylan and the Beatles)

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