Steve Jobs Book Review
Before reading this book about the life of Steve Jobs I did not know much about Jobs. I never was really into Apple products until the first iPad came out, and then I only used the iPhone and iPad. What I had heard about Jobs is he was a creative genius, who in the 80’s fought with Bill Gates for the first personal computers. Wow did I learn a lot from this book. The book was written by Walter Isaacson, although he was tasked by Jobs to write the book, Isaacson interviewed more than 100 people including Jobs. Throughout the book Isaacson would write the stories as Jobs told them and then present what he thought really happened from the others he interviewed. The overarching theme of Jobs in the book is he had a distortion reality field around himself and he could pull others into that field. By distortion reality field it meant the way Jobs thought things happened were not always the truth. Without giving too much away about the book I wanted to give 3 great messages I took from the book.
Lessons from the book
- Surround yourself with great people.– From as early as his high schools days Steve Jobs surrounded himself with very influential people, there was a story early in the book where young Steve called up the Bill Hewlett, CEO of HP, to get a part for school project. Before Steve came back to Apple he very close with Larry Ellison, CEO of Sun Microsystems, and relied on him as a trusted adviser. In fact Larry Ellison offered to raise the capital to take over Apple before Jobs was brought back in the late 90’s.
- People will pay for quality. – It is easy for businesses to get caught up in the Walmart type competitive environment, in which all that drives consumers is price. Jobs wanted to create quality products for people who wanted great products. Those quality products also had to be visually pleasing as well. In business it doesn’t have to be a race to the bottom for great products or services.
- Create something people don’t know they need. – There were times where Jobs was advised to pole consumers to find out what products they wanted to see Apple develop. Jobs pushed back saying consumers did not know what they wanted and it was Apple’s job to give them something they didn’t know they needed. While most businesses need to rely on customer feedback, the point here is to not let that feedback stifle your innovation. New markets are created not by customer surveys but by innovative products. See Blue Ocean Strategy for more about this topic.
My favorite quote in the book is about presentations, Steve Jobs hated PowerPoint or slides of any type he would say “If you know what you are talking about you don’t need slides”.
Here is a video we watched during a marketing meeting in 2012. It might be an older video but the message is timeless.