This Article is About
steve jobs
household name
game call
system memory
What Made Steve Jobs Successful
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

What Made Steve Jobs Successful

When I think about what made Steve Jobs successful, I can't help but be reminded about what made all his triumphs so special in the first place. Anyone who has followed the Apple story for any length of time knows about the humble beginnings of two guys in a garage. What people typically do not remember are some of the spectacular failures along the way as well. It isn't the stunning successes that make the story so compelling, it is the overwhelming triumphs after several epic flops. Perhaps moreso than any executive we've ever known, Steve Jobs' path to success was a true fail-my-way to success American story.

Humble Beginnings in a Garage with a Dream

Nearly everyone I knew and grew up with either owned or used an Apple II series computer. They became ubiquitous in school systems around the country with their fun educational games for learning. I even recall playing a simplified graphics game call Decathalon by a tiny (at the time) company by the name of Microsoft. What many people didn't know was the first couple of iterations of those machines sold in the realm of a few hundred each. It wasn't until the development of the floppy drive and increased on system memory that Apple became a household name. One would have thought that would have been enough to make the two Steves (Wozniak was the other) set for life and unquestioned in the contribution to the world of technology - but that wasn't enough for Jobs. He was always interested in developing the next thing consumers wanted. So he carried on.

Lisa: You're Fired!

One of the problems with being both an entrepreneur and creative director within a public company is that at times the roles operate with competing interests. Such was the case early on for Apple's Jobs as he was forced to fight for resources within the company he helped found. In the early 1980s Apple pushed hard resources into a computer called Lisa while Jobs was left to work on the Macintosh. Corporate leadership pushed Lisa out the door first and with its price tag it might as well have been pushed out the window. Nevertheless Jobs carried on with the Macintosh project, launched in 1984 with an ad drawing on the theme of the George Orwell novel (with IBM playing the role of Big Brother). Needless to say history was made and Apple and Jobs lived happily ever after, right?

NeXT! or Not

Given the difficulties he experienced during the Lisa / Macintosh development period it was natural for Steve to desire a change in leadership. The Board of Directors (one of the joys of being a public company) hired John Sculley to control the visionary and entrepreneur. The relationship didn't work and in 1985 to his surprise Steve Jobs was ousted from the company he helped start. That might have been the end of some entrepreneurs but again, Jobs picked himself off the ground and launched NeXT - another computer company.

I double too many people even remember (or ever saw) a NeXT computer. Somewhere on the order of about 50,000 units were made and sold, making it a humiliating flop. On the other hand what made Steve Jobs successful was not all the tremendous sales and products, but instead it was his insistence on rising from defeat.

Mac OS X and The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

Like any great American story of success, it is the return from complete humiliation which is what made Steve Jobs successful. While his critics at the time were intently focused on the failure of the NeXT computer, Jobs instead picked up the pieces of the inner workings of the machine and brought them with him back to Apple in 1996 (having been purchased by Apple). A year later Jobs was CEO and shortly after the millenium the foundation of the NeXT operating system became the foundation of Mac OS X which has run generations of Macs ever since.

In retrospect perhaps what made Steve Jobs successful is not all the gadgets and computers and stunning ad campaigns. Perhaps what made the difference was his similarity to other pioneers such as Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. What made Steve Jobs successful was his determination to not let failure get in his way to achieving success. Like Edison and Tesla, each trial success or failure resulted in a greater understanding of the challenges of innovation. Something that maybe makes him greater than these two visionaries was his ability (eventually) to master the corporate business model as well - making Apple Inc. the largest consumer company in the world before leaving his duties in early 2011.

What We Can All Learn from the Example of Steve Jobs

I think my most important takeaway as an online marketer from what made Steve Jobs successful is that the steps to internet marketing success are paved with repeated efforts and numerous failures. The only shame in failure would be to not examine the reasons for failure, not learn from the effort, and not use that increased wisdom as a springboard for better future attempts.

At the time Apple CEO Steve Jobs left / stepped aside at Apple Inc. this year many wondered how far off the end would be. Sadly for all it was only a matter of weeks. We should all endeavor to create so much value and enjoyment for so many.


Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
How Did Steve Jobs Die?
On October 5th, 2011, we lost one of the most important figures in technology we will likely ever see, Steve Jobs. There are absolute fallacies circulating about the death, so today I am going to uncover the backstory to the health issues and exactly how did Steve Jobs die. Steve…
By: Kyle in  News and Society   Jun 19, 2012  
63
  Likes: 158

A World Without Steve Jobs
I never met Steve Jobs, I wish I had the chance to talk to this genius and to get a glance of his personality. I would have liked to see how his mind worked and how the world looked through his eyes. We all know the story of how Steve…
By: Juan Ignacio in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Mar 22, 2012  
0
  Likes: 1

Principles Of Success - Steve Jobs Legacy
My fascination with Steve Jobs stems from his business and work philosophy that guided his activities, especially on his return to Apple. His work ethics were undoubtedly formed over many years of business experience, but were made known to many outside Apple in his later years when he was interviewed…
0
  Likes: 7

What Did Steve Jobs Die From, And How He Could Have Reduced His Risk
Steve Jobs is one of the greatest visionaries of the modern PC era. Indeed, many might credit him with the invention of the PC, (though that would be a bit of a misnomer since the term "PC" refers to a non-Apple product). And while Steve Jobs was an absolutely astute…
By: Marvin in  Health and Fitness  >  Nutrition   Oct 08, 2011  
3
  Likes: 2

RIP Steve Jobs
Unfortunately we have suffered the loss of an incredible inventor, Steve Jobs. The CEO of Apple died at the age of 56 today (October 5th, 2011).  Apple has lost a creative genuis and visionary while the world lost a great human being. His legacy lives on through Apple and the…
By: Curtis Parker in  News and Society  >  Anthropology Sociology   Oct 09, 2011  
0
  Likes: 3

People Benefiting Off Of Steve Jobs Passing
It is sad that one of the most influential people in the world passed.  It is even more sad when people are trying to make a buck off of it.  I'm here to notify of you of one good thing and one bad thing that I recently saw right now…
By: Nessie in  News and Society   Oct 08, 2011  
4
  Likes: 4

An Advice From Steve Jobs - Should You Choose A Job You Love Or Not?
Since his death, October 5, Steve Jobs has been the subject of many comments and articles in the press. This exceptional person has left a deep impression on the world of computers, as well as on the animated films, music and telecommunications.His speech to new graduates of Stanford University in…
By: Andy Dangubic in  Business  >  Career Advice   Oct 29, 2011  
0
  Likes: 3

Steve Jobs – The Early Years
Today, October 6, 2011, I just watched a number of videos from CNN where they show Steve Jobs doing his amazing product introductions. What a show man! You can hear the audience laughing in the background, but you can also sense the anticipation, the impatience, waiting to see what electronic…
2
  Likes: 4

Steve Jobs - The Visionary
It’s hard to imagine that the man who brought us the personal computer and so many other electronic wonders died October 5, 2011 at an early age. My first contact with Steve Jobs’ creations was circa 1980-1981 at Eastman Kodak Co. It was my first Apple computer, and it wowed…
0
  Likes: 1

The Heart Of Apple is Stilled, Steve Jobs Dies at 56
The story sounds like it was written in a fevered fantasy and then whipped into shape on a Hollywood sound stage: a baby is born and then adopted, drops out of college and makes it big, gets dramatically pushed from his company and then comes back once again. It is…
By: Heather Brown in  News and Society   Oct 06, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

With Steve Jobs Out Of the Picture, Google And Microsoft Come Out Swinging for Apple's #1 Tablet Seat
The unofficial news for Microsoft's Surface and the just in news of a tablet from Google have tech consumers hanging on edge to see just what tactics each contender will come up with to topple Apple from its covenant #1 tablet seat. Its interesting on what exactly these two conglomerates…
By: Jacob Boss in  Computers and Technology  >  Personal Tech   Jun 26, 2012  
8
  Likes: 4

Steve Jobs: The World Has Lost An Icon
One definition of an icon is "a person or thing that is the best example of a certain profession or some doing."  Steve Jobs fits this definition exactly.  His creativity, innovation, drive and work ethics have made such an impact on our world today.  The communications and information systems we use have been…
By: Terri, RDH in  News and Society   Oct 07, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

Remembering Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was a creator and an inventor. He created the most unique and defining creations of are century. He was a very intelligent man. He understood the consumer and supply and demand. He helped the world in a way that most cannot. What most don’t know about him will…
By: lucas1 in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Oct 23, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Computers And Technology - I'm Interested But What Next?
There are many of use out there who enjoy computers and technology. There are a few of us though who are interested but find themselves stuck and they simply do not know where to go, how to learn more about this interest, how to widen or increase their knowledge. Many…
By: Jenn T. in  Computers and Technology  >  Personal Tech   Dec 23, 2011  
0
  Likes: 2

Team Building! Important?
The development of the team idea can be followed back to the late 1920s and mid-1930s. These included a progression of examination exercises intended to inspect inside and out what happened to a gathering of laborers under different conditions. After much investigation, the specialists concurred that the most huge variable…
By: Shaista Kiran in  Business  >  Entrepreneurialism   Jun 02, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Article Views: 5482    Report this Article