Learning from the Steve Jobs Equation

There are tons of posts out right now focusing on what an amazing leader Steve Jobs was. And while that’s true, I want to focus on the formula that made him (and Apple, and Pixar) the success that we know and will continue to learn from.


Jobs had a repeated pattern of innovation and disruption in everything he touched, and while Apple and Pixar will continue to live on using this formula, we all wonder if they’ll fill the shoes he leaves behind.

Breaking Down the Formula

Everyone touts Steve Jobs’ vision, there’s no denying that. It’s not something completely tangible, or even copy-able. I like this quote from Leslie Kossoff on Obtuse Angles:

Vision is the always forward-moving, just slightly out of reach but always attainable goal to which the enterprise is committed.  It manifests itself in product and service – as well as in five years plans – but it is a belief, more than an actuality.

Your company could benefit from vision, couldn’t it? Dream big: what do you want it to look like in the future? Never rest on your laurels. Steve Jobs didn’t. When MP3 players came out, Apple was already on to the iPhone. Be one step ahead of even yourself.

For Jobs and Apple, execution is about reinvention and redefinition. It’s about constantly delivering above expectations, and executing the vision you have to a T. How’s your execution? Could it use some help?

For all the effort in the world, if your products suck, there’s nothing the Steve Jobs formula can do for you. It boils down to design, functionality and appeal, and Apple has always hit the marks on these. Don’t rush to come out with a competitive product; instead, work to produce the item that everyone else competes with.

None of us will ever be able to use the formula quite like Jobs did, but we can give it our best, can’t we?

Photo: Flickr user wburris. Creative Commons 2.0.


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