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I just watched the movie Jobs, and before you Apple fanatics lose your mind, this is not a review, go watch it yourself. What I have are some lessons from Apple’s early days for entrepreneurs, the Steve Jobs way.
If the movie is an accurate representation of the birthing of Apple Inc. (it’s not really), then Steve Jobs robbed Steve Wozniak out of a company and many people more. If the movie is an accurate representation of the early days at Apple, it takes some serious guts and a heck of a lot of moxy to work for the revered innovator.
Entrepreneurship is hard work especially when you live in an age when your market does not exist. The beginning of Apple was the original crazy idea. Think Henry Ford telling people that they needed cars when they didn’t even know what a car was. That’s the story of Apple, personal computer for the everyday people who didn’t know what the heck they would do with one.
As entrepreneurs there are great lessons to be learnt from this film and the life of Steve Jobs.
The product comes first
For Jobs, it never seemed to be about the people that would use or purchased his products, it was about the product and how great it could be and had to be. Jobs had an obsession with the perfect product, one that would eventually become an extension of its users. He thought about the product first, the people last.
Don’t be better, be different
When the first fashionable Mac came in the 90s it wasn’t about being better than what was already out there or out doing the competition. It was about being different. For Jobs there was no competition, really because no one else had his vision. He wanted to build something that people would not need but covet. Pretty clever if you have met true iFans.
Getting your own way is easy if you’re willing to lose
After being ousted from Apple, Steve Jobs cried a bit then he started something else, Next which he then sold to Apple. At that stage, the company was taking a hit in the stock markets and decided it wanted Jobs back. So they asked and he sold about a million of his Apple stocks causing the shares to hit an all time low. They asked him to be CEO, he accepted, fired everyone that ousted him previously and began rebuilding his company.
Dangerous move upsetting the marketing like that but if you have a plan, making it work requires sacrifices.
Always put the genius in the back room, everyone loves the talker
The story of Apple’s birth is actually Steve Wozniak’s story. It is about a super genius who got bored and built himself a personal computer, something fellow geeks like him would like.
So Jobs took his ideas, talked up a storm around town and then turned a geek’s plaything into a consumer machine. Possibly the most powerful scene in the movie is between the two co-founders, when the Woz tells Jobs that he was leaving the company, he says to “this does not end well for you, and I am not going to stick around to see it happen.” Shortly after that, Jobs was ousted.
Stalk investors until they get a restraining order
The first Apple investor only took interest in the company because Jobs was relentless. Eventually, I think, to get him to stop calling an investment was made. While the team of engineers that built Apple II worked to get the computer ready, Jobs spent his time on the phone looking for investors. Everyone has a part to play in Jobs’ world and if you can’t play it to his well-defined notes, you are out.
Be a master negotiator
Someone attempts to do Jobs a favour and take an interest in his startup that has no money and could go under at any moment and he out negotiates them. The shrewd businessman is always at play with Jobs, yes he wanted to build the perfect product but he wanted investors to give him all money in the world. In his defence he rather the investor pay so the consumer wouldn’t have to pay so much.