Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

A friend passed me the following:

Are you hungry and foolish?

He built a computer even I can understand.
He changed the way most of us listen to music.
He even made it okay for me to be a font freak. (Thanks.)

Beyond that, four words scream “Steve Jobs”? to me.

He removed all but the necessary. Jobs”™ greatest trait as a leader may have been his art of saying no. The first thing he did upon returning to a floundering Apple in 1997 was hack and slash the company”™s bloated product line. He wanted to build a small number of great products, not a bunch of good ones. His focus enabled Apple to launch iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad in succession. Five consecutive grand-slams. Saying no to some of our pet projects is painful”¦ but it ultimately focuses us on greatness.

Are you saying no enough?

He trusted his gut. Jobs was a market researcher”™s nightmare. He repeatedly bet the farm by dreaming up products he knew we”™d want, without using focus groups. Consumers don”™t always know what they want, he reasoned, especially if it”™s something they”™ve never seen or heard or touched. Focus groups didn”™t tell Apple to build an iPhone. Jobs was a visionary who adopted a build-it-and-they-will-come mantra.

Are you spending too much time analyzing”¦ and not enough implementing?

He obsessed over clean design. If you ask most people what makes them buy Apple products, it”™s probably a variation of, “They just look and work so cool.”? His products make complex things simple and fun. I still remember the seamless install of my MacBook and saying, “That”™s IT?”? Good, simple, elegant design that constantly surprises and delights us is a Jobs hallmark.

Are you making it simple? Is your process elegant? Shouldn”™t it be?

He moved others to do the impossible. If we believe even a slice of what”™s written, Jobs was tough to work for. Best selling author Guy Kawasaki, a former Mac marketer and legend in his own right, said last week he lived in fear that Jobs would call his work crap”¦ in public. So Kawasaki always took it up a level. Jobs pushed people to achievements even they doubted for themselves. Bottom line: he gave a damn. And he inspired the same in everyone around him. Isn”™t that the primary role of a leader?

Are you inspiring your team to be better than they think they are?

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