1. 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.
2. 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 other’s 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.
3. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And 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. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005
By a variety of counts, Mr Steve Jobs, the former Chief Executive of Apple, dropped-out several times in his lifetime : a child born of mixed race in the 1950s; given up for adoption at birth; dropped out of high school; booted out by the company he formed; lied in a court document over fathering a love child; had a number of failed projects; his adopted parents divorced in 1962; never had contact with his biological father. Good enough reasons for many in similar situation to give up and live at the mercy of handouts and alcoholism to keep permanently tranquilised for temporary escape. Despite these huddles, Steve Jobs ended up changing the world single-handedly. For four decades, he was at the forefront of personal computing. His enthusiasm, perfectionism, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit came together in a career and a life that made a huge impact on the technology world (CNN). He is the visionary who led a mobile computer revolution with the creation of wildly popular devices such as the iPhone and now the iPad. He pioneered the concept of the personal computer and of navigating them by clicking onscreen images with a mouse. Apple currently operates over 300 retail stores in 11 countries, sold more than 275 million iPods, 100 million iPhones, 25 million iPads worldwide, listed more cash reserves than the US Treasury, and briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable company (CNN). Asked if he was glad having children, he responded: ‘It’s 10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever done.’ (yahoo.com)
For all these hard-work and achievement, Steve Jobs “had an annual salary of $1.00 and not $1 million or $1 billion a year. He was one of the lowest-paid CEOs of all times, along with Vikram Pandit of Citigroup Inc., according to an analysis of corporate institutions conducted by the Associated Press in the Standard & Poor’s 500s in 2010. While Jobs was underpaid, the WSJ revealed that in 2010 the revenue of Apple, Inc. increased from 52% to $65.2 billion while Apple’s net income grew 70% to about $14 billion. Its cash and cash equivalents in marketable securities rose by $17 billion to about $51 billion at the end of 2010. Apple’s share price rose yet another 53% to $322.56 during calendar 2010” (au.ibtimes.com). He lived in a large and comfortable but relatively modest brick house in a residential neighborhood. Steve Job’s life story exemplifies what the Holy Bible meant when it said “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful” (1 Corin thians 1:27). As tragic as his death, his life story is inspirational, comforting and exemplary; a reason for my decision to explore the life of this gentle giant of a man, and a special and rare gift to the world. I believe there is a lot that the challenged and helpless youth of Nigeria and Africa in general can learn from the story of Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs was the product of unmarried interracial couples in the 1950s. He was born to a Syrian father, Mr Adbulfattah John Jandali and Joanne Simpson (mother) both 23 years old students at the University of Wisconsin, USA. The hostility towards interracial couples in those years, fear of scandal, coupled with pressure from Joanne’s father, forced her to travel to San Francisco to give birth to Steve on February 24, 1955. Imagine what it was like getting pregnant out of wedlock in the U.S. in the 1950s by an immigrant Syrian Moslem or Black African. Both parents got married later but before then, Steve had been given up for adoption by his biological mother without informing the biological father. Part of the terms of the adoption agreement was that Steve must be educated to university level by his new parents. His adoptive parents were a childless couple from Armenia, Paul and Clara Jobs, who sadly divorced in 1962. . Sadly too, Steve Jobs never met his biological father. His 80 year old biological father and the VP of Boomtown Casino and Hotel in Reno, Nevada, regrets giving him up and is quoted as saying:
I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t sadden me to have not been part of my son’s incredible journey..What father wouldn’t think that? And I would think that even if he was not the head of a hugely successful company (edibleapple.com).
Now I just live in hope that, before it is too late, he will reach out to me, because even to have just one coffee with him just once would make me a very happy man..Because I really am not his dad. Mr. and Mrs. Jobs are, as they raised him. And I don’t want to take their place. I just would like to get to know this amazing man I helped in a very small way to produce.” (macobserver.com, Aug. 29th, 2011).
I honestly do not know to this day if Steve is aware of the fact that had it been my choice, I would have loved to have kept him.
In almost a repeat of his own childhood experience, Steve fathered a love child with his high school girlfriend in 1978, Lisa Brennan-Jobs. News has it that, in a court document, he denied fathering the child, claiming he was ‘infertile’, although he later acknowledged paternity. Lisa spent her teenage years living with Steve Fobs. In a statement in 2011 to promote his authorised autobiography he confessed:
I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, such as getting my girlfriend pregnant when I was 23 and the way I handled that.
Education and Career
Steve schooled in California. During high school he began visiting the HP Company in Palo Alto for after school lectures. During the summer, Steve Jobs was hired by Steve Wozniak who in later years he teamed up with to form Apple Computer Company. After graduating from high school in 1972 he enrolled at Reed College, Portland but dropped out shortly after. “He credits the people who made his academic life untenable at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Without them, he might not have dropped out. If he hadn’t dropped out, he may not have discovered calligraphy” (CNN). Few years later, he returned home and attended Silicon Valley computer hobbyists club with Steve Wozniak. He soon secured a job with Atari, a video computer maker. Jobs saved some money and travelled to India in search of philosophical enlightenment. There he converted to Buddism and returned to USA with a shaved head and wearing traditional Indian clothing and ready to resume working for Atari (Investingvalue.com) creating circuit board. He was made an offer of $100 for each chip reduced in the Atari machine.
Knowing little about circuit boards, Jobs made a deal with his knowledgeable friend, Steve Wozniak, to work together on the project and to share the proceeds between them. In 1976 Wozniak introduced to Jobs a personal computer he had designed. Jobs convinced him to start a company selling printed circuit boards. This led to the formation of Apple Computer Company. The Apple brand, particularly Apple I and Apple II soon became a success. Apple 1 was built in Jobs’ parents’ garage in 1976 and he sold his Volkswagen van to help finance the venture. Apple III had limited success but despite that, Apple Computer Company was successfully publicly traded on the stock exchange market in May 1980.
Steve Jobs’ Booting from Apple
Following the growing success of Apple, John Sculley was poached from Pepsi-Cola to become the CEO in 1983. Steve said to him “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” (CNN). That line worked magic on Mr Sculley and he left Pepsi-Cola for Apple. In 1984 the Macintosh computer was successfully launched. Steve, though a visionary, creative genius, charismatic and obsessive micromanager, can be erratic and temperamental (investingvalue.com). In 1985, the board of directors stripped him of his duties, following a power struggle. Consequently, he resigned and sold all but one of his shares, though he remained the chairman of apple for a while.
Having left Apple, Steve set up a new business called Next Computers, culminating in the development and launch of an advanced cube-shaped computer workstation called Next Cube. The product suffered market failure due to high pricing. A strategic decision was made to focus primarily on software development in 1993 and it paid off. Two major projects emerged from that strategic refocus – (a) the development of software called Interface Builder which was used to write the first World-Wide-Web 1.0 programme and (b) the development of Unix operating system. In 1986 he also purchased Lucas Films and renamed it Pixar. The company signed a deal with The Walt Disney Company for the production of animated movies to be financed and distributed by Walt Disney. From this deal saw the creation and release of Toy Story (1995), A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monster Inc (2001) Finding Nemo (2003) and The Incredibles (2004). In 2005 Walt Disney purchased Pixar in a deal valued at £7.4 billion, and Steve remained on the board of directors (money.cnn.com).
Some future events brought Jobs and Apple together once more, suggesting perhaps that the Gods, right from the beginning of time, had cast the destiny of Steve Jobs and Apple in gold and iron as one. Though he left Apple in the mid-80s, in 1996 Apple purchased his new company, Next Computers, for $402 million. At the time of the purchase, Apple was struggling to establish itself particularly in the business computing market, which then was dominated by Microsoft computers. In 1997, Steve Jobs became the interim Apple’s CEO. To regain profitability, he axed numerous projects. Next Computer software provided Apple with a solid and up-to-date operating system, leading to the development of the powerful Mac OS X operating system. This was followed with the launch of iMac range, portable music players called iPods. The success of these products returned Apple into profits. His impact on the success of Apple continued with the almost annual launch-events we watched on television and over the internet for great products like: iTunes (2003), the iPhone (2007), the App Store (2008), the iPad (2010) and the latest iPhone 4S, launched by Phil Schiller (2011). There is no doubt the secret to Apple’s meteoric success in the world of consumer technology was the vision, leadership and creativity of Steve Jobs (CNN). He got himself involved in almost everything about the organisation – from customer care to product design, co-authoring of over 300 patents, and marketing campaigns and rejected prototypes that didn’t meet his exacting standards.
Steve passed away on the 5thof October 2011, a day after the release of the latest iPhone 4S, after years of battle with pancreatic cancer. “Mr. Jobs spent his final weeks — as he had spent most of his life — in tight control of his choices. He invited a close friend, the physician Dean Ornish, a preventive health advocate, to join him for sushi at one of his favorite restaurants, Jin Sho in Palo Alto. He said goodbye to longtime colleagues including the venture capitalist John Doerr, the Apple board member Bill Campbell and the Disney chief executive Robert A. Iger. He offered Apple’s executives advice on unveiling the iPhone 4S, which occurred on Tuesday. He spoke to his biographer, Walter Isaacson. He started a new drug regime, and told some friends that there was reason for hope. But, mostly, he spent time with his wife and children — who will now oversee a fortune of at least $6.5 billion, and, in addition to their grief, take on responsibility for tending to the legacy of someone who was as much a symbol as a man” (yahoo.com).
Fellow Californian Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, called Jobs:
A visionary who changed the way we live, an innovator whose products brought joy to millions, a risk-taker who wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo,” and also said in a statement, “His sage advice was respected by policymakers on both sides of the aisle. His courageous fight against cancer brought strength to many.”
Other tributes include:
He did what a CEO should: Hired and inspired great people; managed for the long term, not the quarter of the short-term stock price; made big bets and took big risks.
Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal.
Time after time, he sold people on a product they didn’t know they needed until he invented it. And all this on an official annual salary of $1.
A man “brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.
President Barack Obama
Different from everyone else’s since he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do, but the things that you decide not to do.
John Sculley, Apple CEO from 1983 to 1993