On March 20, 2002, Apple Inc. (AAPL) announced the second generation of their update to the iPod, a 10 GB version capable of putting “2,000 Songs in Your Pocket.” The announcement represented a commitment to Apple’s new direction. While it’s often forgotten in the wake of Apple’s contemporary massive success, the commitment to iPod was at a time a daring commitment to a fledgling line. iPod sales were indeed fairly sluggish until 2004, more than two years later. But the line persevered, and made Apple into what it is today: the most valuable company on the planet.
Rightly or wrongly, the late-period success of Apple is widely attributed to the leadership vision of co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. A divisive figure in tech, Jobs has nonetheless come to be lauded the world over for both his design perfectionism and business acumen.
Befitting a divisive, headstrong CEO, he had a lot of interesting things to say about business. Though Jobs died in 2011, a loss Apple is still reeling from, he leaves behind a legacy of innovation, a half a trillion dollar company, and a number of memorable aphorisms:
- If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow.
- 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.
- Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things.
- You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.
- 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.
- Real artists ship.
- I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.
- I never rely on market research.
- Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
- A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
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