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What Can We Learn From Steve Jobs?

I recently finished reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, titled appropriately “Steve Jobs”. This fascinating look into the highly guarded, private life of one of the most polarizing and influential geniuses of our time should be required reading for any business owner.

Jobs’ Leadership Style

Based upon what we consider the traits of a good leader, it’s easily apparent from this book that Steve Jobs left a lot to be desired when it came to his motivational style with his employees, business partners, family members – just about anyone he came into contact with. This certainly made working for, having a relationship with or negotiating against him extremely challenging, and certainly had a negative impact on him in many ways.

Vision and Determination

One thing that cannot be disputed is Jobs’ drive and desire to achieve the perfection of artistic simplicity and function in all of the projects and products he was involved in producing. Throughout his career, Jobs’ single-mindedness around the concept of a closed system containing all of the proprietary hardware and software needed to completely control the user experience is the stuff of much controversy. While the PC industry was being designed around compatibility and the ability to support any third-party chipsets, boards, peripherals and software, Jobs remained steadfast in his resolve to remain proprietary in every aspect of his systems and products, thereby guaranteeing user experience outcomes.

With this vision and resolve, he saw Apple become the most highly valued technology company in history by the time he died in 2011.

Lessons

Whatever your personal opinions of Steve Jobs the man (and I have my own), there is an important lesson to be realized by reflecting on some of his core beliefs.

Jobs bet against the industry when he decided not to go the “PC-compatible” route, instead eschewing this movement in order to simplify his product offerings and control every aspect of the user experience. This created millions of incredibly loyal, satisfied customers for Apple.

How would your business be different if you simplified your product offerings to include everything your clients needed (and I mean everything), and delivered them via two or three Managed Services plans, and were fanatical about your clients and their users’ service experience?

Something tells me that you would have incredibly loyal, satisfied clients too…

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