This world lost the ultimate Change Agent yesterday when Steve Jobs passed away. I’m completely enamored with Apple products but I’m even more of a fan of the man who dreamed many of them up. In honor of his genius, here are 20 of my my favorite quotes from a true master in the Art of Change:
2. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
3. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
4. “Most of the great work in this world was done by men and women who didn’t believe that what they were doing was impossible. Talent is certainly beneficial, but only the right attitude can release it to reach its potential.”
5. “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
6. “There’s a phrase in Buddhism, ‘Beginner’s mind.’ It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.”
7. “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
8. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
9. “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.
10. “We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.”
11. “I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.”
13. “Having children really changes your view on these things. We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much — if at all.”
14. “I think it’s brought the world a lot closer together, and will continue to do that. There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything. The most corrosive piece of technology that I’ve ever seen is called television — but then, again, television, at its best, is magnificent.”
15. “We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.
16. “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. “Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
17. “For something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
19. “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.” (Stanford Commencement Address)
20. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
… There’s nothing I could write that would add much to that.
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