“The Magician” was the title of The Economist magazine on October 8, 2011. A deep bow of this renowned weekly newspaper to one of the most influential people of our time. Steve Jobs (1955–2011) changed our world, our habits, our aspirations – nothing less than that. He was a pioneer that you could compare with geniuses like Thomas Alva Edison, Henry Ford, Walt Disney or Albert Einstein posed.
He saw himself as a revolutionary against the big companies of the world and was himself praised by many corporate executives as one of the greatest chief executives of our time. He was a closed person, practically never gave interviews about personal matters. However, when it came to presenting one of the new Apple products, he always delivered a brilliant show. No one could match him in this regard. His product launches, in which he staged the next “incredible” Apple product on a black stage, as usual in a black turtleneck, and presented it with enthusiasm, were masterpieces of a real showman.
But not only Steve Jobs ’product launches have achieved cult status. The entrepreneur was also able to inspire young people with his personality. In summer 2005, Jobs made a legendary speech at Stanford University. He told the students that as a young man he once read a quote: “If you live every day as if he’s your last, you’ll be right at some point.” Jobs went on to say that since that day he has been wondering if he is do what he really wanted to do if today was his last day – and if the answer was no, he would change his plan. “Your time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let dogmas restrict you – the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s voices choke your inner voice. The most important thing: Follow your heart and your intuition, they already know what you really want to become, ”he told the students. And he concluded with a motto that shaped his entire life: “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
Whole books have been written about what you can learn from Steve Jobs. At this point I would like to focus on a very small aspect that is particularly important for management: Steve Jobs was not innovative because he was the first to have the idea
- to develop the first affordable computer for the average household, thereby opening up the mass market,
- to develop a really user-friendly computer with mouse-controlled, intuitive user interface for all users,
- to create the first completely digitally animated movie and make it a worldwide hit,
- to develop a new generation of music players, the worldwide success of which should surpass that of the Walkman many times over,
- to develop a mobile phone that should become the epitome of a new generation,
- and ultimately to found a completely new world market with products from the digital lifestyle such as iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad.
Steve Jobs was innovative because he was the first to implement these ideas!