1. Don’t Live a Limited Life
“When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is. And your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.
But that’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.
And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand that you can poke life and that you can change it, you can mould it.
That’s maybe the most important thing, is to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just going to live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
I think that’s very important, and however, you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, because it’s kind of messed up in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you will never be the same again.”
2. Have Passion
“People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing, and it’s totally true.
And the reason is because it’s so hard, that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. It’s really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, and you don’t really love it, you’re going to give up.
And that’s what happens to most people actually. If you really look at the ones that ended up being successful in the eyes of society, and the ones that didn’t, oftentimes it’s the ones that are successful love what they did so they could persevere when it got really tough.
And the ones that didn’t love it quit, because they are sane. Who would want to put up with this stuff if they didn’t love it?
So it’s a lot of hard work, and it’s a lot of worrying constantly, and if you don’t love it, you’re going to fail. So you’ve got to love it, you’ve got to have passion.”
“We try to hire really smart people, but we have a very simple organization, and we try to focus and do very few things well.
And focusing is hard because focusing doesn’t mean saying, ‘yes.’ It means saying, ‘no.’ We decide not to do a lot of things so we can focus on a handful of things and do them well.”
4. Don’t Sell Crap
In one interview, Mark Parker, President and CEO of Nike, recalled a conversation that he had with Steve Jobs.
Jobs considered Nike as one of the top brands in the world. During one Nike-Apple collaboration, Jobs congratulated Parker for a job well done.
Parker asked him if he has any advice. After a pause, Jobs told him that Nike sells some of the best products, but that they also sell not-so-good or crappy products, so they should just focus on the good stuff.
At first, Parker thought that Jobs was joking. But when he realized that Jobs was serious, he thought about it, and he realized that Jobs was right.
5. Build a Great Team
“The greatest people are self-managing, they don’t need to be managed. Once they know what to do, they will go and figure out how to do it, and they don’t need to be managed at all.
What they need is a common vision, and that’s what leadership is. We wanted people that were insanely great at what they did, who had at the tips of their fingers, and in their passion, the latest understanding of where technology was, and what we can do with that technology, and who wanted to bring that to lots of people.
So the neatest thing that happens is, when you get a core group of ten great people, it becomes self-policing as to who they let into that group, so I consider the most important job of someone like myself is recruiting.
We agonized over hiring. We had interviews, they would start at nine or ten in the morning and go through dinner. New interviewees would talk to everybody in the building at least once, and maybe a couple times, and then come back for another round of interviews. And then we’d all get together and talk about it.”
6. Don’t Do it for the Money
“I was worth over a million dollars when I was 23, and over 10 million dollars when I was 24 and over 100 million dollars when I was 25. And it wasn’t that important, because I never did it for the money.
I think money is a wonderful thing because it enables you to do things, enables you to invest in ideas that don’t have a short term payback and things like that. But, especially at that point in my life, it was not the most important thing.
The most important thing was the company, the people, the products we were making, what we were going to enable people to do with these products. So I didn’t think about it a great deal.
You know I never sold any stock, I really believed that the company would do really well over the long term.”
7. Be Proud of Your Products
“Our goal is to make the best personal computers in the world and make products we are proud to sell and would recommend to our family and friends.
And we want to do that at the lowest prices we can, but I have to tell you, there’s some stuff in our industry that we wouldn’t be proud to ship. That we wouldn’t be proud to recommend to our family and friends, and we can’t do it.
We just can’t ship junk. So there are thresholds we can’t cross because of who we are. But we want to make the best personal computers in our industry. The difference is, we don’t offer stripped down, lousy products.”
8. Build Around Customers
“One of the things I’ve always found is that you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it.
I’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room. And I’ve got the scar tissue to prove it. And I know it is the case. And as we’ve tried to come up with a strategy and a vision for Apple it started with what incredible benefits can we give to the customer, where can we take the customer.
Not starting with, let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have, and then how are we going to market that. And I think that’s the right path to take.”
9. Marketing is About Values
“To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world, it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. And so, we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.
The way to do that is not to talk about speeds and feeds. It’s not to talk about bits and mega-hertz. It’s not to talk about why we are better than Windows.
The question we asked was, our customers want to know who is Apple and what is it that we stand for? Where do we fit in this world? What we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well. Apple’s about something more than that. Apple at the core, its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. That’s what we believe. And we believe that, in this world, people can change it for the better. And that those people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones that actually do.
Core values, those things shouldn’t change. The things that Apple believed in at its core are the same things that Apple really stands for today. It touches the soul of this company.”
10. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
“Believe that things will work out.
Follow your intuition and curiosity. Trust your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. Don’t be trapped by living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Stay hungry, stay foolish.”