What I learned from Steve Jobs’ biography

I’ve jut finished reading the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. It’s a good read about the man who built and rebuilt Apple.

This post won’t try for any deep insights, no “he was a brilliant but flawed individual, blah blah blah”. It’s merely intended as a small list of key lessons from a successful dude.

  • A closed system may be a better enabler for creativity, connected experiences and a better all-around product for users
  • A players don’t like to work with B or C players. Only hire A players and get rid of the rest.
  • Face to face interaction and tight co-location can lead to serendipitous discoveries
  • integrated operations are very important in helping the company operate as a unit. Pillars block teamwork. Avoid the mistake Sony made with the iPod.
  • you can and should have vigorous arguments with people
  • don’t be afraid of starting over, of throwing away something that is stopping your product from being great
  • there is no such thing as a single person having all the ideas.
  • give credit, people hate having their ideas stolen or credit taken for them
  • you aren’t Steve jobs. You can’t get away with shouting at people.
  • being honest gets you a better outcome
  • don’t forget or ignore your family
  • better to be the one who breaks the model and leads from the front than the one who plays catch up
  • creativity is a discipline too. It takes hard work.
  • Users appreciate a great experience.
  • Simplify ruthlessly
  • You must have end-to-end elegance in design.
  • You get great value in automation and automated logistics (e.g. iPods have 2 days of stock, cut down from 3 months) which saves them millions
  • the boss can be wrong and needs you to argue with him/her

There may be others, but that’s a decent list of learning points.

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