7 Lessons CEOs Can Learn from Steve Jobs

The internet is crawling with stories about Steve Jobs’ retirement from Apple. And so are the newspapers. Steve Jobs has [...]

September 1 2011 by ChiefExecutive.net

The internet is crawling with stories about Steve Jobs’ retirement from Apple. And so are the newspapers. Steve Jobs has been an iconic chief executive and has truly changed the way that the world consumes media – and has blazed the technology trail for the future. The iPhone and the iPad have inarguably changed the rules of the computing/technology game.

You’re a CEO too, but since you’re probably not the CEO of a tech firm (developing super exciting consumer-use products), what does Jobs’ legacy mean for you? The Harvard Business Review maps out seven insights from Steve Jobs’ tenure that can apply to anyone doing business in the 21st century.

The insights are as follows:

  1. Matter: don’t spend your time doing uninspiring work, be innovative
  2. Master: make the technology of something great, looks mean nothing if it doesn’t work
  3. Do the insanely great: don’t ignore details, make every piece of your product to a high standard
  4. Have taste: don’t sacrifice taste for mass production, make sound “cultural judgments”
  5. Build a temple: if you believe in your work, it becomes your life, and you will make it great
  6. Don’t build a casino: don’t go looking for the quick jackpot, you want lasting success
  7. Don’t pander – better: build products that you would want, not just for the masses

Each of the above insights comes from the (corresponding) Steve Jobs quotes below:

  1. “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water – or do you want to change the world?”
  2. “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”
  3. “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it.”
  4. “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste.”
  5. “Your works is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
  6. “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”
  7. “We didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves.”

Read: Steve’s Seven Insights for 21st Century Capitalists