Authors: Peter Sander
What would Steve Jobs do?
How the Steve Jobs Way Can Inspire Anyone to Think Differently and Win
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Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.
—Apple Inc. company statement,
October 5, 2011
“Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
That’s what Steve Jobs told us all on June 12, 2005, when he gave the now-famous 2005 commencement address to the graduating students of Stanford University.
In that address, he told three stories: about “connecting the dots,” about love and loss, and about death. It was a moving speech. It moved everybody in the audience. It moved many of us beyond that Stanford audience, the many fans of Jobs who had heard of his cancer diagnosis a year earlier.
It has moved a lot of people since then.
Among all commencement addresses, Steve’s 2005 address is the clear winner, as measured by YouTube viewings. On September 10, 2011, Steve Jobs led this race by a comfortable margin. The 2005 speech had been viewed 5,268,012 times. The runners-up were Carnegie Mellon’s dying professor-turned-writer Randy Pausch with 1,371,075 views, Will Ferrell’s 1,176,606 views for Harvard 2003, and Oprah’s 716,982 views for her 2008 address to a similar Stanford audience.
We were all following Steve’s lead and his sage advice even then. But by October 10, 2011, that same Stanford address had been viewed 11,022,670 times. That’s a gain of roughly six million views in the five days after he passed away on October 5, 2011.
I can think of no better way to measure the adoration of Steve’s followers, who hail from so many parts of the human race. What other business leader would have come close? What other business leader has garnered the attention of so many in the business world, so many in the academic world, and so many in the consumer world? How many, beyond the 40,000 employees inside of Apple, consider him one of the great guiding lights and leaders of the free world?
I saw the flowers. I saw the apples. I personally saw the pictures and letters and everything else that made up the memorial left in front of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters on One Infinite Loop. By the Saturday following Steve’s passing, those memorials would have covered a tennis court. The memorials left in front of 357 Apple Stores around the world were equally moving, if not as large in size.
How did he gain this status? How did he become a guru? How did he get the nod as the world’s greatest technology leader, and one of the greatest leaders, period, of all time? How did Steve “beat out” Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who consistently captured more than 80 percent of the personal computing market and had more than five times the wealth Steve did? How many of us, even those who don’t own Apple products, revere the man for what he did and wish we could mimic even a piece of his innovative genius and leadership formula?
How many of us, especially in the business world, wish we could rise to the plateau of name-brand status? And not just name brand, but our
name as the brand—“Steve”? Not Michael Jordan, but just plain “Mike.” Just like Mike. Be like Mike. Not Steve Jobs, but just Steve. Steve, a true superstar.
President Barack Obama may have summed it up as well as anyone: “The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device that he invented.”
Leaders can be adored and admired for a wide range of reasons, from a gripping personality and humor all the way to saving the Union. Business leaders are admired for creating successful businesses. On that note, the legacy of Apple Inc. speaks for itself: $380 billion. Billion with a “B.” That’s how much the financial world, aka the stock market, values Apple Inc.
That’s just a number, right? It may not seem like a lot in today’s world of trillion-plus-dollar budget deficits, $700 billion “TARP” programs, and such. But for a company, it’s huge.