Tag Archives: Steve Jobs

How Steve Jobs Ran His Legendary Meetings

An inside look at a series of meetings led by the most famous entrepreneur of our generation.

Surely, Jobs wasn’t the easiest manager to work with. But there’s a lot to learn as we observe how he skillfully and insightfully leads this team.

I’ve picked out four additional lessons Jobs teaches by example.

1. Clarify your mission.

NeXT focused on producing high-powered computers for the higher-education industry. As Jobs explains passionately:

“You can’t give a student in physics a linear accelerator. You can’t give a student in biology a $5 million recombinant DNA laboratory. But you can simulate those things … on a very powerful computer.”

Jobs gets excited. He has a clear vision. But most important, he answers the pivotal question that every successful entrepreneur must convey to the team:

What problem do we solve?

2. Learn to conduct the orchestra.

In a series of lines from Aaron Sorkin’s already famous screenplay, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak holds the following dialogue with Jobs:

Wozniak: You can’t write code, you’re not an engineer, you’re not a designer, you can’t put a hammer to a nail … So how come 10 times in a day, I read “Steve jobs is a genius.” What do you do?

Jobs: I play the orchestra.

Jobs knew he could never have accomplished what he did alone. He needed engineers, marketers, designers … His skill was in bringing those people together and keeping them in harmony.

He used others’ talents to accomplish his vision.

3. Know when to say no.

In this captivating exchange, we see a member of the team suggest that the order of the company’s priorities should be changed. Jobs hears him out, but follows by vehemently defending the price point as non-negotiable. Most important, he explains exactly why price should remain priority number one. (Ironically, when the NeXT computer finally released, it cost more than double that original price point. Many believed this was the computer’s major flaw.)

Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer and the man Steve Jobs once called “his spiritual partner,” revealed recently that nearly every day Jobs would ask him the same question:

“How many times did you say no today?”

4. Hold yourself accountable.

Three months later, the NeXT team returned to Pebble Beach to hold its second retreat. Despite some progress, the team is behind in pursuit of many of its goals. The kickoff slide to Jobs’s presentation: “The Honeymoon Is Over.”

Jobs assesses the situation with the following:

“One of the things I don’t see is … I don’t see it in myself, I don’t see it in enough of the rest of us is, I don’t see that ‘startup hustle.’ In other words, if we zoom out at the big picture, it would be a shame to have lost the war because we won a few battles. And I sort of feel like I and some of the rest of us are concentrating too much on the smaller battles … and we’re not keeping the war in perspective. And the war is called survival.”

Although Jobs identifies a sense of relaxation and even entitlement in his team, he first puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of the person who is most responsible: Steve Jobs.

The key: If you want to change others’ behavior, start at the top. Start with yourself.

Despite Jobs’s meeting conducting prowess, some claim that NeXT was a failure in the end. The company only shipped about 50,000 units and eventually dropped out of the hardware business.

But others see it from a different perspective. Tim Berners-Lee, known as “the father of the internet,” used the NeXT computer and operating system to create the World Wide Web. Apple purchased NeXT in 1997 for $429 million and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock; as part of the agreement, Jobs returned to Apple as chief executive. NeXT software was then used as the foundation for what we now know as OS X, iOS, watchOS, and the App Store.

Oh, yeah, and Apple became the most valuable company in the world along the way.

I’ll take a failure like that any day.

What Successful People Do

Affirmations Successful People Repeat Every Single Day


1. “I can’t do everything today, but I can take one small step.”

You have plans. You have goals. You have ideas. Who cares? You have nothing until you actually do something.

2. “I will do what no one else is willing to do.”

Often the easiest way to be different is to do the things other people refuse to do.

3. “I will face a fear.”

The most paralyzing fear is fear of the unknown (at least, it is for me).

Yet nothing ever turns out to be as hard or as scary as we think. Plus, it’s incredibly exciting to overcome a fear. You get that “I can’t believe I just did that!” rush, a thrill you may not have experienced for a long time.

4. “I will appreciate someone unappreciated.”

Some jobs require more effort than skill. Delivering packages, bagging groceries, checking out customers — the tasks themselves are relatively easy. The difference is in the effort.

So do more than say a reflexive “thanks” to someone who does a thankless job. Smile. Make eye contact. Exchange a kind word.

5. “I will listen 10 times more than I speak.”

I used to talk a lot. I thought I was insightful and clever and witty and, well, I thought I was a real hoot. Occasionally, very occasionally, I might even have been one of those things.

Most of the time I was not.

6. “I will not care what other people think.”

Most of the time, we should worry about what other people think–but not if it stands in the way of living the lives we really want to live.

7. “I will answer the question that wasn’t asked.”

Sometimes people are hesitant. Sometimes they’re insecure. Sometimes they’re shy. Whatever the reason, sometimes people will ask a different question than the one they really want you to answer.

8. “I will be OK with less than perfect.”

Yes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Yes, perfection is the only acceptable outcome. Unfortunately, no product or service is ever perfect, and no project or initiative is perfectly planned. In fact, the quest for perfection can often be your worst enemy.

Work hard, do great work, do your best, and let it go. Your customers and colleagues will tell you what needs to be improved, and that means you’ll get to make improvements that actually matter to people.

9. “I will try to do better.”

We’ve all screwed up. We all have things we could have done better. Words. Actions. Omissions. Failing to step up, step in, or be supportive.

Successful people don’t expect to be perfect, but they do think they can always be better.

10. “The one thing I can always do is outwork them.”

Like Jimmy Spithill, skipper of America’s Cup-winning Oracle Team USA, said, “Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy.”

You may not be as experienced, as well funded, as well connected, as talented, but you can always outthink, out hustle, and outwork everyone else. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland–everyone talks about the extra mile, but few people go there.

11. “I will stop and smell my roses.”

You have big plans and big goals. And you’re never satisfied, because satisfaction breeds complacency.

Unfortunately, most of the time that means you’re unhappy, because you think more about what you have not achieved, have not done, and do not have. (Of course, the key is to instead do things that make you happy more often.)

Take a moment and think about what you do have, both professionally and especially personally.

No, this is not only Steve Jobs. See the whole story

Constructive Disruptiveness

Malcolm Gladwell: One Character Trait That Will Make You Disruptive The best-selling author says it’s not tech, money, or brainpower. What are the preconditions that make that kind of change possible?” Successful disrupters all tend to have one huge precondition that’s far more important: the kinds of attitudes that lie behind provocateurs. He used a powerful story of shipping magnate Malcolm McLean, Gladwell revealed how having the right attitude is critical to effecting great change.

Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm McLean
Malcolm McLean

McLean disrupted and revolutionized the whole shipping industry. This story, as you might have guessed it, leads us to Steve Jobs:

Steve was Disagreeable. He did not care what people said about him. He did not try and obtain peer approval nor did he care what they thought was correct. Lot of people thought he did not have all the facts; and this included many in his industry. He had a super-active imagination and was capable of looking at things unlike they did.

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