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Top 10 Things an IIT Aspirants can Learn from Steve Jobs

Learn from Steve JobsUnfortunately, the great visionary, Steve Jobs, is no longer present among us. It reminds us all that life is short and invaluable. Just like there will not be another Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela, there won’t be another Steve Jobs.

There are umpteen things that students, especially IITians, can learn from Steve Jobs. After all, his leadership qualities are universal in nature. Hence, there is something in the life of Steve Jobs for everyone to learn. However, let’s focus on the life of Steve Jobs from the perspective of an IIT aspirant.

The Best Innovations Combine Art and Science

The Best Innovations Combine Art and ScienceSteve Jobs has frequently pointed out that the major difference between Apple and other companies is that Apple was always on a quest to marry art and science. He has highlighted the fact the original team that worked on the Apple Mac had diverse backgrounds, such as art, poetry, history, and anthropology. This factor makes Apple’s products stand out among the rest. This is the fundamental difference between the iPad and all tablets that came after it. It is not just about the feel and looks. It is about each product’s “soul.” However, most computer engineers and scientists fail to recognize this difference. Hence, if IITians need to achieve success, they should be leaders to see that importance.

To Design the Future, Focus Groups Have No Role to Play

o Design the FutureThere exists a school of thought in management (if you are a consumer-centric space that offers products or services) that you have to listen to your customer. Steve Jobs was the first entrepreneur to state that this theory is a complete waste of valuable time. The present-day customers do not always know their needs and wants, especially if it is something they have never touched, seen, or heard before. When it was clear that Apple would launch a tablet in the market, scores of people were skeptical. When the word iPad was heard for the first time, it was a source of jokes for the Twitterati. However, after people held it in their hands and used it, the iPad became a necessity. Steve Jobs as well as the Apple team had immense faith in themselves. Picasso and other great artists have practiced this habit for centuries. Jobs was the first to do so in business.

Do Not Ever Be Afraid of Failure

Do Not Ever Be Afraid of FailureSteve Jobs got the pink slip from the very successor he picked. This is was a great public embarrassment over the last 30 years. Despite this, he did not choose to become a venture capitalist, which the world would never hear from again. He did not launch a production company; instead, he rose up, and following his passion, got back to work. Despite being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he had the “courage to follow his heart and intuition.”

One Cannot Connect the Dots Forward – only Backward

only BackwardThis train of thought was learned from a Stanford speech delivered in 2005. The idea behind this particular concept is that despite immense planning in life, there is something that is always unpredictable. What resembles bitterness, resentment, and defeat in life (a girlfriend dumping you, failing to get a job at McKinsey, spending and wasting 4 years on a startup that failed to achieve success) can turn out to sowing seeds of unforeseen success in the future. People need to be detached with regard to working out of their lives. People need to understand that all dots will definitely be connected at some future point in time.

Listen to the Inner Voice that Tells You If You Are on the Right Track or Not

Right Track or NotA majority of us fail to hear the voice in the back of our heads. We have simply come to a conclusion that working in the medical, engineering, or financial field is the most ideal because there is lot of money involved or just because our parents said so. When we consciously make that decision, we are stifling that inner voice that needs to be heard. After that, a majority of individuals put it on automatic pilot. These people are nice to meet. However, they are not making an iota of difference to the world. Steve Jobs was always a restless soul: a man in a hurry, equipped with a plan. However, his plan is not for all humanity. It was his individual plan. He wanted to construct computers. Some people’s inner voice tells them to fight for democracy. Others feel the need to be expert in the manufacture of miniature spoons. When Jobs first witnessed an example of Graphical User Interface (GUI), he immediately recognized that this would be the future of computing and that it was his responsibility to create it. The outcome of this was the Macintosh. Regardless of what your inner voice is commanding you, it is a smart decision to listen to it: even if it commands you to leave your partner, resign from your job, and head to China.

Have High Expectations from Yourself and Others

Have High ExpectationsWe are aware of stories of Steve Jobs dressing down and yelling at staff members. After all, he was known to be a perfectionist and control freak. The crucial point is that he was in touch with his inner voice and followed his passion. He always gave a damn. He desires the best from himself and from every team member who works for Apple. If his employees did not give a damn, he didn’t want to work with such employees. Despite this fact, the most amazing talent knocks on the doors of Apple to become employees of this one-of-a-kind organization. Why? Because talent, too, gives a damn. There is a saying that if you are an “A-rated player,” you will hire “A+ rated” players below you to obtain the best results.

Surround Yourself with the Most Talented People

Most Talented PeopleIt is a misconception to think that Apple is Steve Jobs. Each and every employee in this prestigious company is a faceless minion carrying out tasks to please the omniscient and all-seeing Jobs. In reality, Steve Jobs surrounded himself with exceptional talent, including Tim Cook, Peter Oppenheimer, and Phil Schiller. These people have amazing talents, but fail to get deserved credit. The fact that Apple’s stock price has strengthened after Jobs resigned as CEO is a credit to the team’s strength. Earlier, Jobs had hired bad managerial talent. John Sculley ultimately fired Jobs, which according to Jobs almost killed the company. Jobs deserves credit for learning from this error and ultimately realizing that great talent is indispensable to the survival of the company.

What You Say Is Irrelevant; What Matters is How You Say It

What Matters is How You Say ItThe product launches and keynotes conducted by Jobs left audiences spellbound. The “wow” factor is missing when he is not on the stage. Not all products launched under the guidance of Jobs were cutting edge or immensely successful in the market; however, consumers’ outlook towards these products was that they were extremely valuable. One of the reasons for this was Jobs’s intense desire to maintain secrecy around new products. This secrecy helped to ignite the desires of consumers for the product, after they were revealed. This is the moot point: perception translates to reality. A major portion of the success of Steve Jobs had its basis on the notion that customers dream of happy lives; therefore, instead of moving products, enrich lives.

Take Risks

Take RisksSteve Jobs was ready and willing to cannibalize the products of his company under the disguise of progress. A majority of CEOs would hesitate to launch the iPhone, with complete knowledge that it would make the iPod redundant. However, Jobs did it and captured the greatest share in the mobile market. On many occasions, risks need to be taken in order to move forward. Only be careful and ensure that the risk was a calculated one. Think in a thorough manner, weigh the best and worse scenarios against each other with regard to any action, and then decide if the risk is worth executing.

Any thing is possible through determination, hard work, and a great vision

 great visionDespite being one of the best CEOs and leaders in history and father of the modern computer, ultimately Steve Jobs was just another human being. He was a devoted husband, an inspirational father, and a loyal friend just like everyone else out there. However, we can be extremely special (as he was) if we learn from his teachings and from the way he lived his life, and apply them to our daily lives. When Jobs returned to Apple in the 1990s, it was a few weeks away from going bankrupt. Today, it is the world’s largest company.

To conclude, anything is possible in life if you follow the simple lessons mentioned above. And most importantly, may you transform the world as an IITian.