Lessons From The Life Of Steve Jobs

Much of what you stumble into by following your curiosity and intuition might turn out to be priceless later. You have to believe in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, says Apple CEO Steve Jobs. During the Commencement Address delivered at the Stanford University recently Steve Jobs recounted two stories from his life that shaped his career as well as the future of computers.

One of them was about connecting the dots. Years back he was a student at the Reeds College. He dropped out after the first six months because most of the classes didn’t interest him. Steve however continued to drop in on the classes in Calligraphy till he quit after 18 months. He learned about Serif and San Serif type faces and what makes great calligraphy great. He had no dorm room, so he slept on the floor in friends’ rooms. He returned coke bottles for the 5 cent deposits to buy food with.

Ten years later when they were designing the first Macintosh computer it all came back to him. Steve now remembers that if he had not dropped in on that course in college, Mac would never have had multiple type faces or for that matter proportionally spaced fonts. Later Windows just copied Mac, so it is unlikely any personal computer would have them. It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward but it was very clear looking backwards 10 years later.

His second story was about love and loss. Steve Jobs found what he loved to do early in life. He started Apple with Steve Wozniak when he was 20. In just 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of them in a garage into a $2 billion company. And then one day he got fired. It was devastating. But something slowly began to dawn on him. He still loved what he did. So he decided to start over.

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The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed him to enter one of the most productive periods of his life. During the next five years, he started a company named NeXT and another company named Pixar.

Pixar is now the world’s most successful animation studio. Apple bought NeXT. He returned to Apple and served as its CEO for many years. During his second stint at Apple, Steve Jobs oversaw the launching of iconic products like iPod, iPad and iPhone. The technology they developed at NeXT is now at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance.

Sometimes life hits you on the head, don’t lose hope. 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. He advises.

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