Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) didn’t just have a whiz-bang CEO in Steve Jobs, it also had a very wise and philosophical man who knew about much more than computers.
Recently I’ve seen a number of Steve Jobs videos making the rounds as investors talk about what Apple is doing wrong, and how the inspiration and advice of its late co-founder could help the corporation move forward.
I’m not sure if Steve Jobs could make Apple stock go up right now or not. But I do know these videos have some important advice that goes beyond the stock market.
Here are a few of my favorite Steve Jobs videos that offer inspiration and advice:
“You can change it.”
“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. But that’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact — everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you … and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” – 1995, at NeXT Computer
“Focusing is about saying no.”
“I know that some of you spent a lot of time working on stuff that we put a bullet in the head of. I apologize. I feel your pain. But Apple suffered for several years from no — from lousy engineering management. I have to say it. And there were people that were going off in 18 different directions doing arguably interesting things in each one of them; good engineers, lousy management.” – 1997, Apple Worldwide Developers Conference
“Expose yourself to the best things humans have done.”
“It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things into what you’re doing. Picasso had a saying. He said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas. And I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.” – 1994 interview
“Start with the customer experience”
“One of the hardest things when you’re trying to effect change is that people like this gentleman are right in some areas. I’m sure that there are some things OpenDoc does — probably even more that I’m not familiar with — that nothing else out there does. And I’m sure that you can make some demos, maybe a small commercial app, that demonstrates those things. The hardest thing is, what — how does that fit in to a cohesive larger vision that’s going to allow you to sell $8 billion, $10 billion of product a year. And one of the thing I’ve always found is that you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try and sell it. And I’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room and I’ve got the scar tissue to prove it and I know that it’s the case.” – 1997, Apple Worldwide Developers Conference
“If you’re afraid of failure you won’t get very far.”
“I’ve never found anybody that didn’t want to help me if I asked them for help. I always call them up — I called up, this will date me, but I called up Bill Hewlett when I was 12 years old. And he lived in Palo Alto, his number was still in the phone book. And he answered the phone himself. ‘Yes?’ I said ‘Hi I’m Steve Jobs, I’m 12 years old and I’m a student in high school and I want to build a frequency counter. And I was wondering if you have any spare parts I could have.’ And he laughed and he gave me the spare parts to build this frequency counter and he gave me a job that summer at Hewlett-Packard working on the assembly line putting nuts and bolts together on frequency counters. He got me a job in the place that built them and I was in heaven. And I’ve never found anyone that said no or hung up the phone when I called. I just asked. And when people ask me I try to be as responsive to pay that debt of gratitude back. Most people never pick up the phone and call, most people never ask and that’s what separates sometimes the people who do things from the people who just dream about them. You got to act and you’ve got to be willing to fail. You’ve got to be willing to crash and burn.” – 1995, at NeXT Computer