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What I learned from watching ‘Jobs’ — the Steve Jobs story

on Jun 27, 2014 in Genius, Productivity | 0 comments

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I watched Jobs a few months ago and I jotted down notes during the movie, but haven’t had time to put them onto my blog yet. I put on my Franklin Covey planner last month to do it on 7/27/14, so here they are! Note: I don’t always follow my Franklin Covey, but if I even strive to do so, it helps me to be more organized.

1. Never give up.

Steve Jobs made hundreds of calls to try to find people who would sell the first Apple computer in their stores, and then, to businesses who would finance the parts to build the computers. The average entrepreneur might give up after the first dozen or so rejections. Don’t do this.

From my own life experience, the things I was successful at were the things I refused to fail at.

2. Don’t accept “no” as an answer.

When someone tells you “no,” try to reach win/win so that they will maybe move to “yes.” In regards to employees, help them get to “yes” or let them go — make quick decisions about this. Coercing an unwilling person to do anything is a waste of time. Learn how to ascertain when someone isn’t going to budge. I’ll try to pull together an article about this another day.

3. Be persistent.

Steve Jobs never gave up after one phone call. I know that these first three points are strongly related to each other. If I wrote this down three times using different words to phrase the same thing, it’s clear that it was a point that was driven home to me. In other words, number one was something that drove Steve Jobs’ life.

As an example , in the beginning of their project, Steve Wozniak actually called the Vatican and asked to speak to the Pope (without success).

4. Be a decent human being — he wasn’t, honestly.

The cold-heartedness and cruelty of Steve Jobs is legendary. Just Google “Steve Jobs asshole” (without the quotation marks). An example, from Boombeat

Boombeat
:

Following the success of Apple II and subsequent IPO, one of Apple’s engineers went to Steve Jobs and told him he would give stock to another employee if Jobs matched it. Jobs replied: “Yeah, I’ll match it. I’ll give zero and you give zero.”

That really sucks, and in my opinion, isn’t good business. I’m pretty big on rewarding loyalty when I’m successful. Not so much when I’m not. If I’m eating ramen noodles, I’m not going to buy other people steak.

This is something I really do need to work on. As a disgruntled former staff-member pointed out recently, I’m an “evil coldhearted bitch.” While I don’t think this is true, I do make quick and final decisions when it comes to business matters (sometimes in my personal life, too, but this post isn’t about that). While I’m unwilling to change my methods of doing business, I would like to be more gentle in the execution of my methods. I’ll work on it.

5. Put the dream first.

The dream should drive every hour of your workday, and even many hours of your free time. Case in point that even while I was watching a movie, I was taking notes for this post. This isn’t really good advice for being a well-balanced person, but it’s what Jobs did. If you want to be hugely successful, you may have to do this. Stark reality here.

6. Never be anything but excellent.

Jobs was a perfectionist, almost to a fault if such a thing is possible. Anything less than excellent got scrapped, or he didn’t stop until it WAS excellent. This has been the key to Apple’s success.

When it comes to projects I’m passionate about, or projects that have my name on them, I’m a perfectionist to a fault. So much so, in fact, that I have this hand-written sign hanging over my desk to remind me that while excellence is a grand thing, over-obsession with PERFECT means that you may never get stuff done. I will spend crazy amounts of time on things like the spacing between an advertisement and a photo or paragraph for example. Which is fine. But define a stopping point. By that same token, applying a little bit of my desire for excellence to things like housekeeping would be a good thing…

10460704_10152100365807665_1013504210737509566_n

7. Know your vision.

Write it down, spell it out, share it with people who are working with you to accomplish your goals. When you start on a trip, it reallyyyy helps to know your destination.

8. “Everything is a pressing issue.”

Steve Jobs came to this realization while on an LSD trip in college. We don’t have to do LSD to come to this realization. He lived his life as if everything he did was a pressing issue. When I was describing this to a guy I was dating, he said “Drive, boo. It’s called drive.” There you have it.

9. Never give in to or listen to the haters.

You’re gonna have them. I don’t think there’s ever been a successful person in the history of the world who didn’t have haters in their lives. Ignore them. You’ll quickly learn the difference between haters and caring folks with constructive criticism.

10. Blame the real culprit, not the Mac.

Apple had people within the organization who focused on the initial failures of the Mac as the cause of all of Apple’s woes. Steve Jobs knew it wasn’t true. He knew that problem lay in leadership, not the product.

This is usually true. Don’t let anyone blame your “crappy website” or “crappy organization” or “crappy product” or whatever. If an idea was a good one to you in visualization stage, it was probably a good idea. Go with your gut on this. Find those “caring folks with constructive criticism” who can help you really decide if the problem lies in your product or your people.

11. Don’t keep your world small.

Grow your network, expand your business relationships. One of my greatest flaws in business is my unwillingness to make this a priority. When I was in workforce development

workforce development
, I actually learned to do this. I developed the technique of connecting with people in one moment and establishing a rapport that morphed into a good business relationship. Generally, this happened in one meeting at a conference or something. That was ideal for introverted and unsociable me.

In what I’m doing now, though, that method doesn’t fly. I have to develop relationships and partnerships that must be nurtured, I’m discovering. And I’m surprised to learn that I’m largely uninterested in interacting with the big guys and working those relationships. Politicians, for example, or owners of important websites. I’d like to delegate that and that has always been my modus operandi, but it’s something I need to personally do in most cases. I’ll work on doing better. It’s a work in progress.

12.Let go.

Maybe the hardest thing for me. My “stuff” has great sentimental value for me. I’ve lost a lot in life and the things attached to the things and people I’ve lost are important to me. But I have stuff that I CAN let go of and I need to. The show Hoarders

Hoarders
has helped me a lot!!!

An example, Boombeat:

When he returned to Apple in the mid 90s, Steve Jobs donated Apple’s first computers, machines, blueprints to Stanford University. Clearing up the old to make space for the new. That was his way of letting go of the past and embracing the future of then seriously troubled company.

 13. Don’t waste time getting even.

Steve Jobs made quick decisions about getting rid of people (sometimes good people, too, but I’ll focus on the toxic people in one’s life here). Once he was rid of someone, that was it. He seldom thought of them again. You really need to pull tip number four into play here. Be good to the people who are good to you. If that practice costs me half of my “fortune” in life, so be it. However, the assholes I’ve let go of usually are (and need to be) non-factors in my life and I seldom think about them or mention them again. Sorry, but you’re just not worth my time if you’ve hurt me. Harder for me to follow in relationships, but in business? Pffft.

(example of perfectionism that’s not productive…I just spent about 10 seconds looking at that word — “pffft” — and added another f because I thought it looked better. Ha.)

In conclusion

There’s the short list. There are a lot  more Steve Jobs lessons out there. These are just the ones I jotted down while watching the movie. I need to buy the book.

And I’ll keep the intros and extros short. Another Jobs lesson. He didn’t waste time on BS.

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