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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

Last updated on: October 11, 2011 11:15 IST

Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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Steve Jobs, the legendary Apple co-founder turned his company into one of the most successful technology companies in the world, is dead. He was 56.

In a somber statement on Wednesday, the Apple board of directors said: "We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today. 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 announced his death but did not give any specific cause for it.

"His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts," the statement added.

The company said: "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being."

 Jobs had battled cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant in 2009.

Jobs, 55, submitted his resignation to Apple's board of directors on August 25, 2011 and 'strongly recommended' that the board implement its succession plan and name Tim Cook, 50, as CEO.

To understand the man who revolutionized the information technology industry, let us have a look at some of his famous quotes.

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Image: Steve Jobs, 56, died in California on Wednesday.
Photographs: Courtesy, Apple
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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.

Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently - they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

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. 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.

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Image: Steve Jobs discusses the iCloud service at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.

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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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Nobody has tried to swallow us since I've been here. I think they are afraid how we would taste.

Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart. We make it by innovation.

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.

It's not about pop culture, and it's not about fooling people, and it's not about convincing people that they want something they don't. We figure out what we want. And I think we're pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it too. That's what we get paid to do. We just want to make great products.

I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.

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Image: Steve Jobs discusses the iCloud service.

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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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I'm the only person I know that's lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year... It's very character-building.

The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organisation and keep it at bay.

I was lucky - I found what I love to do early in life.

Recruiting is hard. It's just finding the needles in the haystack. You can't know enough in a one-hour interview. So, in the end, it's ultimately based on your gut. How do I feel about this person? What are they like when they're challenged? I ask everybody that: 'Why are you here?' The answers themselves are not what you're looking for. It's the meta-data.

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.

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Image: Jobs unveiling the latest Mac operating system software named Lion.

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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

It took us three years to build the NeXT computer. If we'd given customers what they said they wanted, we'd have built a computer they'd have been happy with a year after we spoke to them - not something they'd want now.

To turn really interesting ideas and fledgling technologies into a company that can continue to innovate for years, it requires a lot of discipline.

We are very careful about what features we add because we can't take them away.

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Image: Steve Jobs inspects Apple's products.

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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

Apple's market share is bigger than BMW's or Mercedes's or Porsche's in the automotive market. What's wrong with being BMW or Mercedes?

I think we're having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we're always trying to do better.

I'm as proud of what we don't do as I am of what we do.

When I hire somebody really senior, competence is the ante. They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is - are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself. They'll want to do what's best for Apple, not what's best for them, what's best for Steve, or anybody else.

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Image: Jobs speaks during an Apple special event.

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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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There's a phrase in Buddhism, 'Beginner's mind.' It's wonderful to have a beginner's mind.

Microsoft was so brilliant or clever in copying the Mac, it's that the Mac was a sitting duck for 10 years. That's Apple's problem: Their differentiation evaporated.

(We want to) get new products out there and have new ways to buy them. I think if we manage the top line, the bottom line will follow. I don't know what the future will bring, but we're working as fast as we can.

We've had one of these before, when the dot-com bubble burst. What I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren't going to lay off people, that we'd taken a tremendous amount of effort to get them into Apple in the first place - the last thing we were going to do is lay them off.

Our DNA is as a consumer company - for that individual customer who's voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That's who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it's not up to par, it's our fault, plain and simply.

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Image: Jobs speaks at an Apple event.

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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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...Almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led and how much you get it.

In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating. It's the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.

So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'

You've baked a really lovely cake, but then you've used dog shit for frosting.

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Image: Jobs says it is not about money.

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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.

It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.

The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.

I think this is the start of something really big. Sometimes that first step is the hardest one, and we've just taken it.

We don't get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we've all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.

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Image: Jobs and Laurene Powell arrive at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood.

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Steve Jobs and his words of wisdom

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Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me... Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful... that's what matters to me.

We do not say anything about future products. We work on them in secret, then we announce them.

You know, we don't grow most of the food we eat. We wear clothes other people make. We speak a language that other people developed. We use a mathematics that other people evolved... I mean, we're constantly taking things. It's a wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool of human experience and knowledge.

Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.

If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.

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Image: Steve Jobs announcing the launch of new products.

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I was worth about over a million dollars when I was 23 and over $10 million when I was 24, and over a hundred million dollars when I was 25 and it wasn't that important because I never did it for the money.

I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.

My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better. My job is to pull things together from different parts of the company and clear the ways and get the resources for the key projects. And to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better, coming up with more aggressive visions of how it could be.

I mean, some people say, 'Oh, God, if (Jobs) got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble.' And, you know, I think it wouldn't be a party, but there are really capable people at Apple. My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that's what I try to do.

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. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.


Image: Jobs says he would trade all his technology for an afternoon with Socrates.

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