As the world comes to terms with the passing of Apple founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs, many writers and analysts are remembering the man who helped shape a generation, and indeed an era, through the medium of technology.
Well, I wanted to join the discussion, by taking a little look at what Steve Jobs has taught me.
For me, Steve Jobs is synonymous with the brand Apple. When I think of Apple, I think of Steve Jobs. Do I myself own any Apple products? No. But do I like the brand? Yes.
The truth is – for me, Apple does not only represent the end products – iPads, iPods, iTunes, iPhones – but also a sense of style, and the sense of an astute, overarching personality. A brand identity, if you will, tantamount to ‘the cool kid’ in school, who always has the latest, greatest gadgets, ready to thrill, surprise and enthral.
We have all seen clips of Steve Jobs proudly presenting his new creations in front of a branded back-drop, teasing his audience with fanciful treats, new launches, and the expectation of more to come – almost like the Willy Wonka of the technological world.
Proud to be different. Proud to be better. Proud to be back.
I am sure all will agree that it is an unbreakable association and will be a part of a lasting legacy; as Apple state on their home-page: ‘His spirit will forever be the foundation of apple.’
So what can we learn from this? To me, it is a warning against faceless corporations, and a reminder of the importance of maintaining a personable and consistent brand identity.
Consumers look not just to products, but to people, and Jobs was the finest ambassador of his work – the Pièce de résistance, if you will, leading both the product and the consumer to their shared playing field like the Pied Piper.
Whilst most companies leave PR to their agencies, Jobs understood the importance of his own recommendation. He was the key spokesperson, the front-man. Without him, would we have been so excited about Apple products? Do other CEOs share their excitement about new launches so openly? Do they lead us on a journey?
Jobs has also taught us to take risks, to lead technology, products and markets into new territory, to revamp existing products and to make them beautiful, and he has shown us that it is possible to take the nation by the hand to this brave new land.
As well as his brands, Pixar and Apple, Jobs will be remembered as a person, for his enthusiasm, his intelligence, his creativity and pizazz, but also his advice. It goes a long way to explaining how this unseeming man, with his Harry-Potter-esque glasses, cast a spell over us all.
At a presentation for Stanford University, Jobs encouraged graduates to view life as a giant dot-to-dot, whereby everything you learn, and everything you pursue or accomplish becomes a dot within the larger picture, creating the premise of your future.
He states: “You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that your dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference.”
He also said: “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.”
In conclusion, and to acknowledge that we all have a lot to learn from Steve Jobs, albeit about marketing or about living, I will leave you with Jobs’ final parting advice:
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”