End of an Era – Steve Jobs Resigns As Apple CEO

August 30, 2011 by  Filed under: Marketing 

I’ve never met Steve Jobs. I hope I can sometime in the future. However, I’ve monitored his career since the early days of the Apple II with Steve Wozniak (known affectionately as “the Woz”). We both have grown up in this historically delightful era of the microcomputer and the PC. Side note – “PC” stands for Personal Computer and really had nothing to do with Windows at its inception. A PC can be a Windows machine, a Mac, a Linux machine or another that is both “personal” and a “computer” – but I digress!

I have to admit a twinge of sadness as I see Steve Jobs following his arch rival – and probably real life aspiration and buddy – Bill Gates, into retirement. Yes, it is the end of an era. Both of these geniuses changed our world. Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admit they made profound changes on the world now and into the future.

However, as a communicator who speaks and writes professionally, I have to draw some observations about what you and I can learn from this dynamic, brilliant, and yes, sometimes rascal called Steve Jobs.

Success Principles Learned from Steve Jobs (in my humble opinion)

1. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. It was the dream of Jobs and Woz in their Silicon Valley garage to create a real personal computer. They did it at a time when they were looked down upon by the “grown-ups” in the computer industry. Nevertheless, they pressed through, even in the face of hardship and difficulty, to become a company which is admired world-wide.

2. Have a big vision. They didn’t just try to “build a better mousetrap.” Jobs and Woz set out to change the world – literally – and they did. When Steve Jobs invited John Sculley, the then CEO of Pepsi, to come on board with Apple Computer (as the company was called then), his now-famous challenge to Sculley was “Do you want to just continue to sell sugar water, or do you want to change the world?” For you and me we have to have that “fire in the belly” in order to keep going through the inevitable challenges. Keep that “eye of the tiger” – and never let it go.

3. Create “Insanely Great” Products. Too many people have tried to produce junk (Steve would use another word here) but Steve Jobs kept pushing Apple to produce high-quality products that people would go nuts over using them. I’ll admit that I have moved from the Windows side to now having 2 MacBook Pros, an iPod, 2 iPhones and my beloved iPad. Think about it, there is a reason that so many users of Apple products are heard to say, “I love my ___(fill in with your Apple iPod, MacBook, iPad or other Apple product here).” They take the time and effort to produce products that people want. They do their homework and Apple is not afraid to try – and sometimes fail (remember in the Lisa computer?).

4. Create Magnetic Customer Service. Ever been to an Apple store? You know what I mean. Those bastions of technology and fun are usually packed with devoted fans clambering to buy the products that are from Apple. Why? Well, those stores are more than just another retail store. Being there is an experience where you get to learn about new technology that really makes your life better. For me, I love the practical, bottom-line business benefits I get from visiting the Apple store. Think about how you can create a powerful experience in your own “store” however you define that in your work.

5. Continue to Amaze. They have never, and I hope they never rest on their laurels at Apple. Yes, Apple has been great – insanely great is the term often used for them. Each new product announcement brings a crowd of devoted fans around the world to see the next Apple product they “just gotta’ have.” Keep that flame burning in your business with a continual stream of dazzling new products and services.

Yes, we will miss Steve Jobs as CEO. I wish him the very best. I also thank him for setting a good example in many ways. Oh, yes, Steve can be, and has been a rascal from time to time. He’s human! But the lessons we can learn from this genius of business can help us.

Even more than the business lessons, Steve Jobs helps us to see how we can live life fully, with gusto, going for it and never quitting. No, he’s not quitting now. I think he’s just shifting gears for a new adventure. Time will tell. For now, we pause, raise a respectful salute to the boy-wonder genius of Apple and wish him the best. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for teaching us some great principles!

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who works with businesses to generate profitable results. He can be reached by e-mail at terry@terrybrock.com or through his website at http://www.terrybrock.com. Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: @TerryBrock. Join Terry’s Facebook Fan Page at: http://www.facebook.com/SpeakerTerryBrock

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