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Steve Jobs - A Leader, Who Knew, How To Say "No!"

Updated on December 5, 2011

This article is about Steve Jobs - person considered to be the best leader in the world. In the article, there are brought out some inspiring quotes and also some of the main principles of Steve Jobs - what were the guidelines he followed to reach such a great success and completing his lifelong obsession to make computers.

A leader, who knew, how to say "no"!

Steve Jobs once said that the most important and most useful tool to help him make the important decisions, has been a constant reminder of upcoming death.

He was a man, who knew, how to say "no" and created the products more for himself, not for some imaginary average clients. That way the user interfaces became simple and attractive, just as he himself wanted to see the products. He said "no" to many things, even if it irritated his clients and business partners, focusing only on his experience and saying "no" to everything, that might damage the elegance of the experience.

That way he caused a lot of mess and problems. The author of the book "Steve Jobs", Walter Isaacson, has said, that probably Steve Jobs was one of the worst leaders in the world. Most of his great accomplishes were due to despising the existing systems - that is the reason, why he thought of the things and came up with brilliant ideas, that nobody else could.

Principles and lessons of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the person considered to be the best leader in the world, thought that the secret of success is the symbiosis of art and science. The way to make use of it, is to trust your own thought and wishes, not to think about and listen to the recommendations of average consumers.

  1. The best and the most innovative ideas come from the symbiosis of art and science. Steve Jobs said many times, that thit is the reason, how Apple's products differ from others. Many of the Apple's developers used to be involved with history, drawing and even poetry.
  2. It is not possible to make future with a focus group. According to some theories, one must listen to the clients and then decide, what to do. Jobs was one of the first persons, who said, that this recommendation belongs to the history! Clients don't know, what they want, because they can't imagine the new products. At first, people are suspicious about the new products that Apple makes. Afterwards, they do not know, how to live without them!
  3. Do not ever fear to fail! Steve Jobs lost a job in apple on 1985, did not fear the failure and came back on 1996.
  4. You can not connect the points in the future, only in the past. Steve Jobs said that, to the students of Stanford. You can not know, what is important in life and how things are going to be connected - you can only realize later, what actually influenced you.
  5. Listen to your inner voice! Some people learn to be a doctor or work in finance sector, because their parents wanted or they want to make a lot of money. These are nice people, but they do not change the world, said Steve Jobs. He thought that it is wise to listen to your inner voice, even if it recommends to quit your job and move to China.
  6. Demand a lot from yourself and other people. Jobs yelled often at his employees, he was considered a control freak and perfectionist. He wanted people to give the maximum out of them while working - otherwise, he did not want to work with them - people surrounding you influence your work also.
  7. You do not always have to be right, success matters. Jobs said that, after being fired from Apple. Take over the great ideas, if you change better that way, otherwise you might lose connection with the reality.
  8. Surround yourself with talents. Apple owns a lot to it's talented workers. For example - stock did not fall after Jobs leaving, that is considered to be due to Phil Schiller, Jony Ive, Peter Oppenheimer and Tim Cook - his talented workers.
  9. Stay hungry, stay foolish. When Jobs was young, there was a very popular publication called "The Whole Earth Catalog". It could be compared to paper version of Google. The last published catalog had a picture on its back, saying "Stay hungry, stay foolish!". Jobs said the same to himself and to people he met in his following life.
  10. You can achieve everything with hard work and a vision. Although Steve Jobs was a great leader and 'the father of Apple', he was also only a regular person, friend, father, husband. If Jobs returned to Apple on 90's, it was on the verge of bankruptcy. Hard work and a vision made Apple number one company in the world!

To differ, to change the world and to make something innovative and great, you must think differently! Forget the existing systems, forget recommendation and average client, listen to your inner voice. That is, how Apple's are born!

Favorite quotes from Steve Jobs

  • “We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.” [On Mac OS X, Fortune, Jan. 24, 2000]
  • “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” [The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993]
  • “It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy.” [1982, quoted in Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple, 1987]
  • “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]
  • “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
  • “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life" [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]
  • "I want to put a ding in the universe".
  • "Bill Gates would be a broader guy, if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger." - [The New York Times, Creating Jobs, 1997]
  • "I'm as proud of what we don't do as I am for what we do." [Businessweek]


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    • otsipaku profile image

      Miina 6 years ago from Estonia

      Yes, probably most of us would act differently, if we thought that we are going to die...

      Thank you for the comment!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 6 years ago from United States

      I also feel that since Steve jobs knew he is going to die. He did not care for anyone's sentiments i.e what will they think etc. Humans usually are surrounded by what if feeling thus, can't think out of the box.

      His disease was a blessing in disguise. RIP Steve Jobs!

      Good article...voted up!

    • otsipaku profile image

      Miina 6 years ago from Estonia


    • profile image

      justsomechick 6 years ago

      interesting principles. nice hub!