We can all learn a thing or ten from great leaders, and Steve Jobs is no exception. Here are thirty-three fascinating things you may not have known about the Apple founder and business icon, told through excerpts from the 2011 best-selling book The Steve Jobs Way by Jay Elliott. This must read book offers a rare perspective into the life and times of one of the most consequential businessmen in history and certainly the most impactful of the past decade. Jay was Senior Vice President at Apple for many years and was Steve’s longtime “left-hand man,” as he puts it in the book. Which leads us to Steve Jobs fact #1…
1. He is left-handed
2. He follows his passions
"Steve Jobs survives, thrives, and changes society by following his own passions."
3. He is enthusiastic
"Steve told me the Lisa would be such a breakthrough that ‘it will make a dent in the universe.’ You couldn’t help but be in awe of talk like that; the line has been an inspiration for me ever since, a reminder that you won’t get people working for you fired up with enthusiasm unless you’re fired up yourself… and you let everyone know it."
4. He is determined
"Steve Jobs doesn’t hear the word ‘no’ and is deaf to ‘We can’t’ or ‘You may not.’"
"He believes that ‘about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.’"
5. He is a Buddhist
"Here was a young man who had dropped out of college after a little more than a semester, taken himself off to India where he traveled not like a tourist but more like an itinerant begger-monk, and had become absorbed with Buddhism, which became a lifelong commitment."
6. He knew his destiny
“‘I could be doing a lot of other things with my life,’ he said. ‘But the Macintosh is going to change the world. I believe that, and I’ve chosen people for the team who believe it, too.’”
7. He is a perfectionist
"Steve’s level of focus on details is one of the most crucial aspects of his success and the success of his products."
"He is always fiercely demanding about the smallest detail - down to the exact placement on stage of the key product being introduced, exactly how it will be lighted, and on exactly what cue it will be revealed."
"For Steve, launching a product on time isn’t nearly as important as getting it right - as near to perfection for the user as possible."
"I couldn’t imagine any other CEO of a global company who would take the trouble to inspect the flooring in a company store, yet it seemed so typical of Steve, the master of details."
"To Steve, everything matters. He will keep innovating to get closer and closer to his ideal, his vision of perfection, which almost always goes beyond what everyone else considers the currently achievable reality. The process is time-consuming, it’s maddening to the product creators who work for him, but it is an absolutely essential element of his success.”
8. He is a collaborator
"He used to tell me, ‘Apple should be the kind of place where anybody can walk in and share his ideas with the CEO.’ That pretty much summed up his management style."
9. He was a self-made millionaire in his twenties
"In a single day… when Apple Computer shares were offered on the stock exchange… Steve had become one of the world’s richest self-made men. He liked to tell people, ‘I was worth a million dollars when I was twenty-three, ten million when I was twenty-four, and over two hundred million when I was twenty-five.’"
10. He reverse-engineers products
"Steve always starts by envisioning the end product rather than working through the engineering details, which is how so many other high-tech products begin their lives."
11. He is an aggressive recruiter
"When Steve identifies someone he thinks might turn into a key player, he doesn’t leave recruiting in the hands of somebody from HR or an outside recruiting firm. He picks up the phone himself."
12. He is his employees’ biggest cheerleader
"Steve truly cherishes his people. It’s not just that he knows he couldn’t be doing all these great things without them: He lets his people know he knows. The lengths Steve goes to shower recognition, appreciation, and reward on his people often left me in awe.”
13. He is a giver
"When the iPhone was introduced, every employee received one free. So did every part-timer and consultant who had been with the company for more than a year.”
14. He is a fan of Odwalla juice
"Steve’s well-known preference for Odwalla has made it a huge international success.”
15. He is demanding
"He breaks some of the supposedly ironclad rules about how to handle people. He’s notorious for pushing people to their limits and expecting them to work to the extreme every day."
16. He loves music
"You had a sense that any newcomer could learn a lot about Steve’s personality and focus by riding in that Mercedes with him. The newcomer would also quickly discover Steve’s love of music, clearly a major part of his life."
17. He can assess any situation
"I never really understood where this came from or how he developed it, but Steve has acquired the ability, even lacking the technical knowledge, to assess accurately what’s possible and what isn’t"
18. He shows genuine gratitude
"When he’s pleased and grateful, you can hear the twinkle of enthusiasm in his voice. Moments like that are so motivating.”
19. He is a master showman
"To watch him on stage at one of these presentations was to see a consummate actor; no, in fact, he was better than a great actor, because actors mouth words written by others, while Steve would speak impromptu, knowing in advance of course precisely what messages he wanted to get across, yet not following any script.”
20. He is eager to learn
"Always eager to improve his management skills, Steve had asked me how he could pick the brain of more seasoned corporate leaders, which led me to set up what I called the Management Leadership Program. I invited CEOs to come to Cupertino to sit down and just talk with us."
21. He focuses on consumers’ unmet needs
"In Steve’s handbook, every opportunity starts with an unmet need. If you can build a product to meet that need, it becomes a ‘must-have.’"
22. He is a minimalist
"Steve’s real gift is his ability to refine consumer products. He’s a superb editor and polisher whose core philosophy is ‘less is more.’ He takes things out of over-engineered, complicated products, revealing what really makes them usable and exciting."
23. He is a multitasker
"Like all great entrepreneurs, Steve is a master juggler who’s almost always working on several apparently unrelated projects at once. These next big things have a way of eventually proving part of a unified master strategy."
24. He hates lengthy contracts
"A team of IBMers showed up to present the company’s offer to Steve, and shoved a hundred-page contract under his nose. I’ve been told that he picked it up, dropped it in the trash basket, and told them he didn’t sign any contracts longer than three or four pages."
25. One teacher changed his life
"In the Smithsonian oral-history interview, Steve said, ‘I think I probably learned more academically in that one year than I learned in my life.’ Quite a testimonial for how one teacher can change a student’s entire history."
26. He is careful about choosing his Board of Directors
"One thing that Steve learned from the whole wrenching experience of being exiled was the importance of a board of directors that understands what the head of the company is doing strategically."
27. He doesn’t believe in focus groups
"Steve Jobs believes that you cannot design a product with focus groups, not when you’re trying to be truly original. He loved to quote Henry Ford, who once said something like, ‘If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse.’"
28. He admires Sony
"He often spoke about Sony as ‘the Apple of Japan’ and his model for producing incredibly original products. The visit to Sony was like a trip to Mecca for him."
29. He loves meetings
"Managers elsewhere boast about how little time they waste in meetings. Apple is big on them and proud of it."
30. He is loyal
"When Steve finds a person or a company that meets his demanding standards, he becomes dependably loyal."
31. He reached the Fortune 500 in record time
"Apple ascended to the hallowed ranks of the Fortune 500 in shorter time than any other company in history."
32. He takes big risks
"He had the vision of being directly connected to the Apple customers. Steve Jobs, with no background in retail and no real knowledge of how retailing operated, was going to try to eliminate the middleman. Within weeks of his return, he began one of his riskiest projects ever."
33. He conceived the iPad before the iPhone
"Here’s a surprise: the iPad was actually conceived before the iPhone and had been in development for years… but the technology wasn’t ready."
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