Failure Should Be Our Teacher Not Our Undertaker – Steve Jobs Story From Birth To Death

What is Apple, after all? Apple is about people who think ‘outside the box,’ people who want to use computers to help them change the world, to help them create things that make a difference, and not just to get a job done.

Think this is the best way to start this! What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the word ‘Apple’. Basic minds would straight away point towards the fruit which is absolutely brilliant for your health; creative minds however would imagine ‘Steve Jobs’ in all his glory. And Steve was anything but basic.

This is one of the many famous Steve Jobs quotes that we’ll come across here. And yes, there are many! Jobs was known to be very forth coming, sometimes blunt; but it more or less worked in his favour.

A man. A mystery. A legend. No better words can sum up the phenomenon that was Steve Jobs. Even after being lauded by the entire world when he was alive, he still has well and truly secured ‘cult’ status. Don’t know what that means?

Anything attached with the label ‘cult’ means that that particular individual/entity is appreciated more posthumously i.e. after death. A well known phrase that ‘you don’t realize what you have till its gone’ seems so relevant here.

Let’s unravel the master bit by bit and see how a college dropout became one of the most widely recognized names on the planet.

Synopsis

Steve Jobs was born in the states; San Francisco, California to be exact on 24th February (Steve Jobs birthday) in the year 1955, to 2 graduates from the University of Wisconsin who decided to give him up for adoption. Toggling with ventures left, right and centre, he finally stumbled upon the miraculous idea that was ‘Apple Computer’ along with his buddy Steve Wozniak back in the year 1976.

Apple has since gone on to create revolutionary products which have taken technology to a whole new level; products like Macbook, iPod, iPad and iPhone. In a surprising turn of events, Jobs had left Apple in 1985, only to return rejuvenated a decade later. He sadly passed away in 2011 after a long time battle with pancreatic cancer.

My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.

Early Life

Steven’s father, Abdulfattah ‘John’ Jandali, in his time was a political science professor from Syria whereas his mother was a speech therapist (Schieble). It was only after Jobs was placed for adoption that his biological parents tied the knot and give birth to Mona Simpson, their second child. However, Steve uncovered the identity of his biological parents only after he turned 27.

The Steve Jobs story took a defining turn when Paul and Clara Jobs adopted him and named him Steven Paul Jobs. The father worked has a machinist and Coast Guard veteran whereas the mother was an accountant, living in Mountain View, California; the area which will later be recognized as Silicon Valley. Working on a multitude of electronics in the garage is what instilled a sense of belief and tenacity in young Steven.

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.

Youth

Always thinking outside the box, his youthful years were filled with frustrations surrounding formal schooling; he never really made peace with how the system worked. A prankster through and through, his grades were always exemplary. Jobs was at Homestead High School when he bumped into Steve Wozniak, who was then studying at the prestigious University of California.

Wozniak, much later, claimed in an interview with PC world (2007): “We both loved electronics and the way we used to hook up digital chips. Very few people, especially back then, had any idea what chips were, how they worked and what they could do. I had designed many computers, so I was way ahead of him in electronics and computer design, but we still had common interests. We both had pretty much sort of an independent attitude about things in the world.”

I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.

Apple Computer

No one could guess Steve Jobs age given the acumen he possessed. Upon finishing high school, he took up a course at Reed College, Portland (Oregon). Not quite in accordance with his taste, he dropped out and was seen at multiple school creative classes the subsequent one and a half years.

Then came 1974 when he worked with Atari as a video game designer. His restless soul was then found in India as he embarked on a spiritual enlightenment journey and consistent experimentation with psychedelic drugs. Then came the BOOM! In 1976, he founded Apple Computer in tandem with Steve Wozniak. The two started working in Steve Jobs family garage; Jobs selling his Volkswagen and Wozniak his scientific calculator.

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 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.

Where the Magic Happened

Where the Magic Happened

What did Steve Jobs invent? Basically, Wozniak and Jobs have been credited with causing a revolution in the industry of computers by making technologically proficient machines which are aesthetically pleasing on the eyes. Wozniak acted as the workaholic whereas Jobs was the sales fanatic and the one with creative direction a plenty.

Initially, Apple’s computers were labelled at $666.66 each, which earned the company around $774,000. Apple II’s release, some three years later, saw a sales increase by 700%. The year 1980 saw Apple turn into a public traded company with a market value of no less than $1.2 billion. It was then when Jobs went hands down after John Sculley to take over as Apple CEO, who was the marketing head of Pepsi Co.

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”[A part of Steve Jobs speech in attempt to convince John Sculley to join the ranks of Apple].

Departure From Apple

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows at Apple though which was evident from both the Steve Jobs biography and the Steve Jobs movie as well. Some subsequent products faced massive ill repute from critics and consumers alike on the lines of design and experience flaws. IBM then took over the computer industry whereas Apple had to play second fiddle.

It was only after the release of Macintosh that Sculley indirectly forced Jobs out by claiming that his ideology is hurting Apple. It is worth noting that the Macintosh was superior to IBM PCs by all parameters.

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.

Period Post Apple

After leaving Apple in 1985, he founded a new software and hardware brand called NeXT, Inc. Next year, he acquired an animation company via George Lucas, which later on came to be recognized as Pixar Animation Studios. A $50 million investment in Pixar saw Jobs become Disney’s largest shareholder after the studio merged with Walt Disney in the year 2006 after releasing worldwide famous movies such as Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Toy Story.

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.

Apple 2.0

In 1997, Jobs returned to Apple for his second innings as CEO after getting his NeXT acquired the previous year for $429 million.

Bottom line is, I didn’t return to Apple to make a fortune. I’ve been very lucky in my life and already have one. When I was 25, my net worth was $100 million or so. I decided then that I wasn’t going to let it ruin my life. There’s no way you could ever spend it all, and I don’t view wealth as something that validates my intelligence.

Yet again, Jobs weaved his magic as he reignited Apple’s true soul and identity by coming up with authentic and customer friendly products at accessible rates. With altered stock options, new and improved team of management and an annual salary of $1, he put back Apple where it belonged i.e. right at the top. His ingenious products came to the delight of consumers worldwide with labels like iMac, iPhone and iPad.

Battle With Pancreatic Cancer

Mentioned in detail in Steve Jobs biography, it was in 2003 when Jobs learnt that he had a neuroendocrine tumor; a form of pancreatic cancer. However, opposing medical consultation, Jobs procrastinated his surgery and opted for lifestyle changes instead. The board of directors started becoming nervous because of this; however, Jobs came around like he always did. In 2004, his pancreatic tumor was successfully removed. People close to him always claimed that Jobs was very much coy about his health and would often divulge such questions.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

The Genius of Steve Jobs

The genius of Steve is not just limited to releasing ahead-of-time products like Macbook Air, iPod Shuffle and iPhone; the fact that competitors instantly flock towards copying just some of the services offered by Apple products is a huge testament in itself about how the brand has well and truly reached the pinnacle of modern technology.

In 2007, Apple’s stocks were worth $199.99 a share whilst the entire company experienced a profit of $1.58 billion, along with 0 debt. Sounds like a win-win situation, isn’t it? iTunes further proudly sat at the number 2 position in 2008 in terms of music retailers in USA. Moreover, the brand has been ranked No.1 o the Fortune 500 list and list of USA’s most admired companies.

I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.

Personal Life

Steve Jobs has always remained a mystery; essentially a private individual who wasn’t exactly an extrovert. He did have a daughter with his girlfriend Chrisann Brennan when he was 23 years old. Labelling their relationship a precarious one would be keeping it polite. He refused custody in court whilst Chrisann was struggling financially throughout. Only after many years passed is when he finally accepted Lisa as his daughter. And she started living with Jobs when she turned a teenager.

During the initial 90s period, Steve met Laurene Powell whilst she was pursuing MBA from Stanford business school. They tied the knot on 18th March 1991, after which they resided in Palo Alto, California, considered to be the Silicon Valley of the world. Apart from Lisa, there were three Steve Jobs kids which he had with Laurene.

I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.

Back in the year 2009, there were some rumors citing some health issues that Steve Jobs was facing due to immense weight loss. However, Jobs was clinical in his response completely quashing these rumors by stating that he was suffering with hormone imbalance. He then stayed in and out of limelight, showcasing periods of absence to and fro.

Death

On 5th October, 2011 Apple announced that Steve Jobs had passed away. After valiantly locking horns with pancreatic cancer for almost 10 years, Jobs died in Palo Alto, at 56 years of age. This was met with international remorse as fellow individuals were stunned by the news. Hands down, Steve Jobs death was one of the most talked about things in global news.

Movie Adaptations

Jobs’ life has been a source of inspiration for many plays, movies, TV shows, books and what not. 2 critically acclaimed biopics include Jobs (2013) and Steve Jobs (2015), starring Ashton Kutcher and Michael Fassbender as the main characters respectively.

And we shall end with another wisdom-phrase from Jobs; just like we started.

My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each others’ negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts.

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