Lessons Learned: My Tribute to Steve Jobs


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Attitude matters when building a business. But when Steve Jobs said, “I want to make a dent in the universe” I don’t think he was speaking metaphorically. He really wanted to impact the lives of the people living on planet Earth. He was obsessed with creatinSteve Jobs passionate inventorg innovative products that improved and enriched people’s lives. He continually pushed for evolutionary improvements and revolutionary changes. But most importantly, Jobs continued to demonstrate this passion even after his company was on top. He pushed to improve the customer experience even after he was widely regarded as this generation’s Thomas Edison. The drive to create was in his blood and this made him immune to complacency. I wish it could have also made him immune to cancer.

Steve made our lives better by helping put the entire planet in our pockets. However, it was his incredible attitude toward innovation and his ability to shrug off self-satisfaction that was one the most important lessons he left behind for me. For Jobs, there was no finish line. Fame would not deter him from realizing his powerful vision. Wealth would not quench his desire to create. His attitude of purpose toward form, function and beauty were unwavering even though the temptation to be satisfied followed him everywhere he went. Nevertheless, he would not compromise on his attitude or his principles toward quality, usability and customer experience. It is certainly nice to know that such CEO’s can exist, although now that this one is gone I ask, are there others who are compelled to deliver great products first and foremost? Alan Mulally of Ford comes to mind. But is it safe to say that most leaders don’t care about making a dent in the universe? Are they more concerned about the dent in their wallets? In my opinion, it’s likely. Companies with this mindset usually get by, but rarely do they make a difference in the long run and eventually wither away and die. They may be great for a short period of time, but slowly destroy themselves from the inside out due to complacency and bloat.

A focus on short term profit taking squashes innovation and creativity because it does not allocate the time and space necessary to breathe life into any vision. Short-term profit taking sucks the oxygen out of the building and snuffs out the ideas required for long-term sustainable competitive advantages before they can ever take root. The incredible ideas we generate without roots will get blown away with the first poor quarterly earnings report. But Jobs knew that great products first germinate, then need time to grow roots and finally must be developed and nurished over a period of time in order to become what can be delivered to the marketplace in a sustainable way.

For a start-up, there’s a danger in selling out or going public too soon. The company begins with an idea they feel can change the world. But if their attention shifts too quickly to their exit strategy, then their value starts to decline because they are no longer focused on creating a broad value in the marketplace, making for a great investment. Instead, their efforts become narrowly focused on creating value only for themselves, and while it’s likely a few get rich, in the long run the company struggles to regain the momentum it once had when it began…when it was driven by a long-term vision to be the best and change the world. The result is a company that sputters shortly after the IPO or after selling out and we are all robbed of the great ideas and products that never manifested themselves.

Jobs knew that in order to guard against complacency, a vision to change the world wasn’t big enough….so he went for the universe. As an artist, Steve Jobs wasn’t bound by quarterly financial statements. He saw the whole picture and placed it ahead of everything else. He chipped away at it over time. It reminds me of Michelangelo who said, I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

As I sit here and think about how to improve a conversation strategy or build a new and improved conversation bridge, I am reminded of how I need to be thinking bigger if we are going to successfully execute on our vision of No Customer Left Behind.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eric Camulli
As Vice President for 7signal, Eric is focused on helping organizations bring high quality and highly productive experiences to people using Wi-Fi networks everywhere. In today's connected economy, our dependency on robust, reliable Wi-Fi is paramount. Eric is dedicated to ensuring that companies deliver peak wireless performance so that they can compete in a marketplace exploding with wireless devices.


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