What Would Steve Expect? (Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice)


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Sir Christopher Wren, architect of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, is celebrated in a simple black marble inscription under the magnificent dome of his masterpiece with the message: Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice. If You Want To See His Monument – Look Around You. In Steve Jobs we have just lost another remarkable visionary. To any of us who have become Apple fans over the years, the monuments to his achievements lie all around us. They have changed the way we work and play. But perhaps the best way to honour his memory lies in the simple question “what would Steve expect”?

A few short weeks ago, upon hearing the news that Steve had relinquished the position of CEO of Apple, I wrote an article entitled Steve Jobs: In Praise of Perfectionist Bosses. It was a heartfelt tribute to the unreasonable men and women – and the perfectionist bosses and clients – upon whom all progress depends.

Many of the tributes that have been written suggest that that Steve will prove to have been a once-in-a-generation character. We are unlikely to see his like again. But if we cannot emulate him, we can at least honour his memory by asking ourselves the simple question, “if I were working for Steve right now, what would he expect of me?”

In his Stamford commencement address of 2005, Steve told three simple stories, made three simple points. They are worth remembering today. They are relevant to any of us in B2B sales and marketing and beyond. I’ve embedded the full video at the end of this article.

On the benefits of following your curiosity and the need to trust in something

“…If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them… You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

On the lessons learned from being fired by Apple at the age of 30

“…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. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

On facing death when first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

“…Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is 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.”

So there you have it: Trust in something you can hold on to. Be the best you can. Love what you do. Follow your heart and your intuition. And ask yourself “if I was working for Steve today, what would he expect of me – and am I living up to it?

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Address – 2005

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bob Apollo
Bob Apollo is the CEO of UK-based Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, the B2B sales performance improvement specialists. Following a varied corporate career, Bob now works with a rapidly expanding client base of B2B-focused growth-phase technology companies, helping them to implement systematic sales processes that drive predictable revenue growth.


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