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The very best classes from Steve Jobs


Ten years ago, Steve Jobs died at the age of 56 after years of battling cancer – a premature death for one of the most influential presences in technology.

Employees and competitors alike have attributed their success to the Apple co-founder, from current Apple CEO Tim Cook to Bill Gates and Elon Musk. Even some of today’s younger workers, whether software engineers or not, take inspiration from Jobs’ creativity and success.

Here’s what six of today’s business leaders say they learned from the tech titan:

Bill Gates: He’s “hypnotized” a lot

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are perhaps still technology’s best known “friends”.

While Microsoft and Apple fought for 30 years, Gates and Jobs became friends. Following Jobs’s death, Gates wrote on Twitter: “For those of us lucky enough to work with Steve, it’s been an insane honor. I will miss Steve dearly.”

Since then, Gates has exposed his jealousy of his self-proclaimed rival – especially when it comes to motivation and public speaking.

“He was such a wizard at over-motivating people,” Gates told Armchair Expert’s podcast. “I was a little wizard so I couldn’t fall under his spell – but I could see him work the spells, and then I looked at people and saw them mesmerized.”

In a September 2019 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Gates noted that Jobs always had a natural knack for captivating audiences, even when launching a disappointing product.

“Steve Jobs has always been a natural at [public speaking]”said Gates.” He could talk about what wasn’t so good of a machine in the case of NeXT Computer, but hypnotize people to death if they happened to be in the auditorium. “

Tim Cook: “Your mentors may leave you prepared, but they cannot leave you ready”

Shortly before his death, Jobs handed over the CEO of Apple to Tim Cook. But even Cook, who learned directly from Jobs for 14 years, says he doesn’t feel ready to replace his predecessor.

In a 2019 graduation speech at Stanford University, Cook shared a valuable lesson from his mentor: “Fourteen years ago, Steve stood on this stage and told your predecessors, ‘Your time is limited so don’t waste it on someone else’s life Life. ‘Here is my conclusion:’ Your mentors may leave you prepared, but they cannot leave you ready. ‘”

Describing the loneliness he felt after Jobs died, Cook said the experience taught him the critical distinction between “prepared” and “ready”. He warned graduates that when the time came to lead, in whatever capacity, they wouldn’t be ready – and that’s fine.

“You can’t do that,” said Cook. “Find hope in the unexpected. Find courage in challenges. Find your vision on the lonely path.”

Meg Whitman: “Simple can be more difficult than complex”

Jobs died nine months after Meg Whitman’s seven-year tenure as CEO of Hewlett Packard – but left a clear mark on Whitman’s leadership philosophy. Less than a year later, Whitman told the Wall Street Journal that it would be “Apple-oriented”.

“I don’t think we [have] kept pace with innovation, “said Whitman.” The whole market has shifted to something nicer … Apple taught us that design really matters. “

Jobs’ approach to product design is arguably one of his best-known legacies. “Simple can be more difficult than complex,” Jobs told Business Week in 1998. “You have to work hard to think clearly, to just do it. But it’s worth it in the end, because when you get there you can move mountains.”

Jony Ive: “Wanting to learn was much more important than wanting to be right”

At Jobs’ funeral, longtime Apple chief designer Jony Ive gave a laudatory speech and described Jobs as “my closest and most loyal friend”.

His greatest memory: How Jobs saw the world.

“He was without a doubt the most curious person I have ever met,” Ive wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. “His insatiable curiosity was not restricted or distracted by his knowledge or expertise, nor was it casual or passive. It was wild, energetic, and restless. His curiosity was exercised with intent and severity.”

That curiosity, Ive wrote, was vital to Jobs’ success, especially as other people were often tempted to explore only what they already knew and felt safe.

“Our curiosity demands that we learn,” Ive said. “And for Steve, it was far more important to learn than to be right.”

Elon Musk: “The ability to attract and motivate great people is critical”

On Monday, Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted a wish: the chance to speak to Jobs just once.

At a 2013 Computer History Museum event, Musk announced that Google co-founder Larry Page once tried to introduce him to Jobs at a party, but he got the cold shoulder.

“I tried to talk to him once at a party and he was super rude to me,” joked Musk. “But I don’t think it was me, I think it was taken for granted.”

Musk, who is sometimes compared to Jobs for his Moonshot visions of the future, said in an interview with in 2018 that he has long admired Jobs. His ability to grow Apple by attracting top talent and gaining employee loyalty is something Musk claims to seek at Tesla.

“The ability to attract and motivate great people is critical to a company’s success because a company is just a group of people who come together to develop a product or service,” Musk said, noting that the People sometimes forget this “elementary truth” of “business.”

Bob Iger: “You can hardly imagine a better salesman”

In 2006, Jobs sold animation studio Pixar to Disney for $ 7.4 billion – a deal that then CEO Bob Iger said “saved” Disney.

Iger and Jobs already knew each other, according to Fortune. When Iger found out in 2005 that he had got Disney’s top job, he called a handful of people to share the news: his family, his former boss, and Steve Jobs.

“Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family,” Iger said in a 2011 statement following Jobs’s death. “He saw the potential of what Pixar could be, ahead of the rest of us and beyond what anyone has ever imagined.”

In a 2019 Vanity Fair article, Iger recalled Jobs watching the pitch before the Disney board for the Pixar acquisition.

“It’s hard to think of a better salesman for something this ambitious,” said Iger. “He talked about how big companies have to take big risks. He talked about where Disney had been and what it had to do to radically change course. […] The first time I saw him speaking, I was optimistic that it could happen. “

On Tuesday, Iger recalled the persuasive and creative power of his longtime friend and wrote: “The passage of time, no matter how short or long, does not tarnish our sense of loss or sadness and emptiness that arose when we lost a dear friend have and colleague and such a strong source of imagination, ingenuity, curiosity and vision. “

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