10 Lessons I Learned From Steve Jobs

Includes: AAPL
by: Jason Schwarz

During this time of reflection I think we all feel a profound sense of gratitude for the life of Steve Jobs. He was exemplary in so many ways. For me, it’s about so much more than the iUniverse he created. It’s the way he did it. Some of the priceless pearls of wisdom that he left behind include the following life lessons:

1- Don’t be afraid to fail.

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” Steve Jobs, June 12, 2005.

2- Stay in the game. The real breakthrough moments in Steve’s career happened after 25 years of struggle.

“Sometimes when you’re in the middle of one of these crises, you’re not sure you’re going to make it to the other end. But we’ve always made it, and so we have a certain degree of confidence, although sometimes you wonder.” Steve Jobs, March 7, 2008.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” Steve Jobs interview, 1995.

3- Follow your passion wherever it leads.

“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.” Steve Jobs, May 25, 1993.

“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.” Steve Jobs, June 12, 2005.

4- Just say no.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.” Steve Jobs, June 2003.

“I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.” Steve Jobs, February 6, 2006.

5- Expect excellence. No company innovates on a regular schedule like Apple.

“My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better.” “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

6- A master architect builds a platform upon which others are given the capacity to thrive. Apple’s ecosystem and especially its App Store enabled creativity to flourish.

7- Love and passion come first. Everything else will take care of itself.

“My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I try to do.” “When I hire somebody really senior, competence is the ante. They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, Are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself. They’ll want to do what’s best for Apple, not what’s best for them, what’s best for Steve, or anybody else.” Steve Jobs, March 7, 2008.

8- Too many of us fail to reach our potential because of the bureaucracy that binds us.

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?” Steve Jobs, September 1982.

9- Quality vs. quantity? Steve understands it.

“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” Steve Jobs, February 6, 2006.

10- Progress comes from within.

“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.” Steve Jobs, 2004.

There will never be another Steve Jobs. It has been a pleasure covering Apple with him at the helm and I look forward to continued greatness coming from the innovative company that he built. The scope of the Information Age and the evolution of the mobile revolution is still in its infancy.

To honor Steve, we have organized an event that will include a who’s who of Apple investors, analysts, and commentators to provide hedge fund style research for individual investors. It is the first event of its kind. We’re calling it the AAPL Investor Summit and we hope it will provide you with profitable investment strategies for the years to come. For more information, please visit www.aaplinvestorsummit.com. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Huntsman Cancer Research Foundation. RIP Steve Jobs.

Disclosure: I am long AAPL.