My business partner and co-author Orrin Woodward and I, along with the other founders of LIFE, are embarking on a business journey in which we seek to follow correct principles, emulate successful leaders, and make a lasting difference in the lives of people. One leader to whom we've looked, and whose professional life we've admired, is Steve Jobs.
Orrin and Laurie Woodward and I were landing in Newark, New Jersey yesterday on a flight home from overseas when we got the word about Jobs' passing. It immediately caused me to do a mental mini-review of his life.
Steve Jobs literally revolutionized four industries:
1. computer industry - was initially involved in bringing personal computing to the masses, but was much more effective in making it user friendly and "cool" in the second phase of his professional life
2. music industry - through the innovation of iTunes, which solved the "music download" controversy
3. movie industry - through the successful incubation and establishment of PIXAR, and the rehabilitation of Disney
4. telecommunications industry - through the widespread popularity of the iPhone and iPad
Steve Jobs had that rare combination of business savvy (early bursts of it, but much more effective in his later, more mature years) and creative genius. In many ways, I place him in the same category as Walt Disney, who also combined creative genius with a sense for what would work economically. Jobs' creativity, vision, steadfastness to a central focus, and the ability to lead and inspire his troops to fulfill and implement the above, are worthy of study by anyone seeking business greatness. Let us also not forget that Jobs was a master salesman. He had a way of connecting with "his" audience, and they in turn connected with the rest of us.
As I sit here at my desk in my early morning "jet-laggedness," pondering the many wonderful people in my life, and considering the LIFE business journey we are about to take together, I give a hearty salute to the creative genius of Steve Jobs. May a little of his verve find its way into our venture, and may his ability to build a productive culture of enthusiastic teammates and customers be our example.
"There is no reason not to follow your heart. Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
Thank you, Steve Jobs.
(written on a Mac, of course)