Earlier this month the passing of Apple's innovator and leader, Steve Jobs, shocked entrepreneurs and consumers alike. It wasn't that we couldn't see that something was seriously wrong with Jobs' health—rather, we were in denial, refusing to accept that one of the greatest business innovators and leaders of our time could die at the young age of 56.
Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that will continue to enrich all of our lives for years to come. He embodied long-term business success and was a master at it.
1. Be persistent. Jobs started Apple with a high school friend in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976. He was forced out a decade later. He persisted, however, by returning in 1997 to rescue the company. From that time forward, Apple grew into the most valuable technology company in the world.
2. Keep on keeping on. Jobs rolled out one sensational product after another, even in the face of the recent recession and his own failing health.
"In October 2001, with the ruins of the World Trade Center still smoldering and the Internet financial bubble burst, Apple introduced the iPod. In January 2010, in the depths of the great recession, the very month when unemployment reached 10 percent for the 1st time in a generation, Apple introduced the iPad." — Andy Crouch wrote in The Wall Street Journal
3. Seek to change lives. He helped change computers from a geeky hobbyist's obsession to a necessity of modern life at work and home. In the process he upended not just personal computing but also the cell phone and music industries. When it comes to transformation in American industry, he had few rivals.
4. Become ubiquitous. Perhaps most influentially, in 2001 Jobs launched the iPod that offered over "1,000 songs in your pocket." Over the next 10 years, the device’s thumb-dial control seemed to become more ubiquitous than the wristwatch.
5. Build frenzy. Under Jobs, Apple cloaked itself in secrecy to build frenzied anticipation for each of its new products. Plus, Jobs himself had a wizardly sense of what his customers wanted. Even where demand didn't exist, he leveraged a cultish following.
6. Create a need. In 2007 came the touch-screen iPhone, joined a year later by Apple's App Store. Here developers could sell iPhone "apps" that made the phone a device not just for making calls but also for managing money, editing photos, playing games and social networking.
Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010. The tablet-sized, all-touch computer took off even though market analysts said no one really needed one.
7. Be true to yourself. Jobs succeeded by following his own "inner voice, heart and intuition." In his celebrated Stanford commencement address, he 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, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
Steve Jobs may be gone, yet his genius and vision live on in countless other innovators. Like him, they seek to change lives. Are you one of them? Whether you’re offering a new product to the market or improving on other people's concepts, applying these seven highly successful qualities exemplified by Steve Jobs will help you put a "dint in the universe," as Jobs was fond of saying, and get you well on your way to business success.