As a computer nerd, I’ve always loved Steve Jobs. I still get in a mood during the fall to watch a documentary or movie about him. I haven’t seen Ashton Butcher’s inaccurate portrayal of my hero yet, but I’ve read enough jokes and negativity about him online that I want to make sure I add something positive into the internet’s vast collective voice about Steve Jobs, the man, and how he affected humanity.
I decided the best way to do this is to write a proper eulogy for the man. I’m no good with looking death in the face, so I’ve never written a eulogy. Luckily, I stumbled upon Eulogy Consultants, who had a blog breaking down exactly what I wanted to do: memorialize the man by demonstrating the impact of his words.
“It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing.” (Playboy, Feb 1985)
Steve Jobs understood that innovation is driven by youth; it’s the children who are driving our world. Because of Jobs’ spiritual and experimental days, he saw the world in a much different way than everyone else. You need to get your mind straight as soon as possible, because all those great things you hear and see in the media are being done by people in their 20s. Even Eminem, who was supposedly the greatest MC in the history of rap, was artistically washed up by his 40s.
“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” (Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple, 1987)
Life is all about perspective. You would think every CEO is the same – greedy, detached from the average citizen, etc. There’s a huge difference between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, though. The difference is in their perspective. Steve Jobs cared about what he was selling, and, as The Beatles taught us, that love makes all the difference in the world.
Independence and Freedom
“Why join the Navy . . . if you can be a pirate?” (Young Guns, 2009)
If you understand hacker culture, you understand what Jobs is saying here. Basically, if you’re going to get your hands dirty, do it for yourself. It’s much more fun to be Jack Sparrow than the uptight British Navy admiral – there’s less responsibility, and you move faster, accomplish more, and reap the whole of your rewards. A battle is a battle, regardless of who you’re fighting for, so I’ll always choose the pirate’s life.
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” (Steve Jobs, the Journey Is the Reward, 1988)
Everybody makes mistakes. Everyone has a bad day or does something wrong, with or without thought for how it affects the people around them. In order to be a true innovator, you have to be willing to accept these mistakes and correct them. I always hated finger pointing – if something’s broken, just fix it. It’s when you start pointing fingers that nothing gets done. Pick up the phone, and get your team working on moving forward. Looking back is a luxury best saved for later.
Courage and Persistence
“You know, I’ve got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can’t say any more than that it’s the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me.” (Fortune, Sept 1995)
Never forget Steve Jobs’ greatest successes came after he was fired from his own company – the company he built. He stood his ground through thick and thin, and he did things his way. Steve Jobs may have been controlling and a perfectionist, but he was successful. His contributions will be remembered long after any stories of his transgressions. It was his persistence and willingness to do anything for his company to win that turned Apple from the PC Wars loser into the iGeneration winner.
Art and Transparency
“We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” (Triumph of the Nerds, 1996)
The music and movie industries want us to believe they control all media and that anyone who dares to use any of their work should be destroyed. The problem is the individual actors, musicians, writers, DJs, etc., don’t get to keep any of these profits, so I’m not interested in purchasing that line of garbage. Art is free, and anybody can steal whatever they want. Yes, the artist should get credit, and how that artist monetizes that credit is at the discretion of that artist. That’s how a truly free market works.
“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” (iSteve, 2011)
The biggest thing we all need to learn from Steve Jobs is that simplicity is the essence of life. Rather than walking around with your head in the clouds, upload your data to the clouds, submit yourself to your Google, Facebook, and Apple masters, and continue maintaining the drone army. We’re living in 1984, it’s just not what we thought it would be. It wouldn’t be so bad if we had control over our own privacy. As we move toward integrated, wearable tech as the norm, be prepared for an entirely new world.
Whatever happens, just remember what you wanted when you woke up for the very first time. Concentrate on your breath, your smile, and making a positive contribution to the world. That’s what Steve would do – that’s what iDo…