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Inspirational Quotes from Steve Jobs

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It has been four years since Steve Jobs passed away. But the Apple co-founder has been far from forgotten and here are some of his most memorable quotes

Steve Jobs passed away four years ago today. The tech visionary, who created both Apple and reimagined Pixar, shaped much of the world we find ourselves in now, certainly as far as the technology we use.

Jobs’ genius came from a deep understanding of human nature, and this is reflected in his quotes, many of which capture the essence of what it is to be successful, to fail, and to live.

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One of the most famous Jobs quotes is “Stay hungry, stay foolish,” a motto that followed him through life.

However, Jobs also had many other sayings that are equal parts inspirational and profound.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful [at Apple], that’s what matters to me.”

Despite amassing a fortune of over $10 billion, Jobs’ focus was on creating great products, not lining his pockets.

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

Jobs emphasizes that time should be spent on the things that matter, such as family, and this usually doesn’t correlate with earning money.

“[The] 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.”

Jobs talks about his move from Pixar to Apple where his goal was to create beautiful products, not wealth. The result of this was the iPod, Mac, iPhone, iPad and, to an extent, Apple Watch.

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”

Jobs emphasizes that everything we do in life should be meaningful; we should never do something without thinking just because it seems like the thing we should do.

“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown 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.”

At his Stanford address in 2003, Jobs encouraged free thinking. At university, Jobs dropped out, but continued to take courses that interested him (such as typography) and this resulted in the artistic side of the Mac.

“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.” 

Wrestling on his laurels was something that Jobs never did. Jobs moved from project to project and, in the process, progressed onto some of his best work. If Jobs had sat back and relaxed after the Mac or iPod, there would be no iPhone or iPad.

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“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.”

Jobs was, at heart, an artist. His sensibilities extended beyond what the consumer could and couldn’t see. On Jobs’ insistence, the circuit board on the inside of the original Mac was laid out beautifully because he felt it improved the overall product,even though no one would ever see it.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Jobs was unusual as a CEO because he was also an artist who cared deeply about how the product worked, often having a hand in designing it alongside Jony Ive, one of the highest ranking people in Apple currently.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

Retrospectively, Jobs’ life looks made: he dropped out of college, started Apple, went to Pixar and the rest is history. At the time, however, things likely seemed different and he reflects on that here.

“Ultimately, it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things into what you’re doing. Picasso had a saying: good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas, and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.”

One of the many things that make Apple special is the intense focus on design. Jobs worked hard to promote design people to the highest positions within the company, and this has resulted in products such as the iPhone which marry art with technology.

“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.”

The genesis of this quote is from Henry Ford, the American industrialist, who proclaimed: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

This resonated with Jobs who believed that Apple should create products and then tell people why they needed them.

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, 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.”

One of Jobs’ main focuses in life — especially toward the end — was death, and how the lifetime of a human is limited to a specific period of time and all that you can achieve is limited to that time.

“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.”

Design is about making choices, and Jobs made the right choices. The original model for the iPhone included an iPod-style click wheel, for example.

“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.”
 Jobs emphasizes again just how much of a force death is when considering where to go next, helping focus the mind on what matters.
“Our DNA is as a consumer company — for that individual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to par, it’s our fault, plain and simply.”
Apple as a company is obsessed with the user experience and this attitude came straight from Jobs.
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.” – WWDC, 1997.
Jobs was notorious for stressing that consumer experience was the most important thing in any product – expecting a person to spend a lot of time trying to ‘learn’ or ‘adapt’ to a technology could be fatal for a product.
“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.” – Inc Magazine, 1989. 
 He did think that customer experience was experience but that said, Jobs did not have too much faith in consumer surveys as he often claimed that consumers did not actually know what they wanted and in many cases just wanted improved versions of what already existed instead of something revolutionary.
“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.” – Wall Street Journal in 1993. 
Out of Apple, not too successful at NeXT Computers and trying to make his way through Pixar, there is broad consensus that the nineties saw a mellowing in Jobs’ temperament. With fewer products to talk about, he spoke more of life and other things. Mind you, he still could not resist taking a jibe at rival Bill Gates, at whom the quote is believed to be targeted.
“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.” – Fortune magazine, 1998.
One of Jobs’ biggest strengths was playing up the role of sheer talent and human imagination, pitting them as valorous underdogs against money-laden opposition. When he came back to Apple in 1997, he was faced with a company that was written off and rivals that were well-entrenched. Small wonder he chose the moment to focus on human creativity rather than R&D (although we are sure Apple spent a pretty penny there too).
“I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.” – Newsweek, 2001. 
By 2001, Apple was well and truly back in business and considered one of the most innovative tech companies in the world. Jobs, however, seemed to have developed a philosophical streak during his years away from Apple, a period where he seemed to have realised that there was more to life than just technology and products. This quote reflects that.
“It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – New York Times, 2003. 
Apple has been known for its amazing design, but a point that has been less noted is that while Apple products have been good-looking, they have also been generally easy to use. And that is because as Jobs said in this statement while talking of the newly launched iPod, design was not just about look and feel, but also about functionality. The scroll wheel in the iPod was a perfect example of this – it looked cool, but it also made using the device easier as compared to fiddling with multiple dials. –
“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.” – MSNBC, 2006. 
The iPhone was being rumoured and Apple had already tried getting its software on phones in collaboration with Motorola. Many were wondering why Apple was moving away from its comfort zone and getting into a segment which had the likes of Nokia bossing the market. Little did they know…
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith….You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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. So keep looking. Don’t settle.“ – Stanford University, 2005.
Delivering perhaps the speech that would define him, Jobs stressed the importance of passion and faith. Not just in life but in work too. And the need to keep moving ahead.
 “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Stanford University, 2005.
Having survived a cancer scare, Jobs had a new sense of mortality. Did it spur him on to make the innovations he did in the years that followed (the iPhone and iPad would change phones and computing and the App Store would spur an app revolution like never before)? We are not too sure, but the man clearly had seen death in the face.
And one more thing… a final quote from that Stanford speech:
“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.“ 

Tim Cook remembers Steve Jobs on the anniversary of his death

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Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to Apple staff. Mashable has reviewed the email, which reads in part, “Steve was a brilliant person, and his priorities were very simple. He loved his family above all, he loved Apple, and he loved the people with whom he worked so closely and achieved so much.”

Other essays were shared by executives Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue and Apple board member Andrea Jung. Mashable has seen portions of these essays, which were posted to Apple’s intranet.

In his essay, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, recounts his time doing keynotes with Jobs “from the day he came back in 1997 until the day he left us.”

Schiller writes,

There were so many good times. We would be sitting backstage during the shows in darkness behind a giant wall and on the other side of the wall was an audience, anything from a thousand to six thousand people. We’re watching this huge screen projected in reverse and you know every slide, every video, every demo, and we’re just waiting. And then you’ll hear the applause of the cheer. You just get filled with so much happiness and pride — about all this work for months that came to this moment. We would be back there with steve and he’s feeling the same thing. And that fuels us through the whole show. Those were always great shared moments with Steve.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, writes about his personal relationship with Jobs.

Working with him, I always felt there was a personal connection. It wasn’t just work. And in a way, sometimes he was a brother; sometimes he was a father figure, depending on what it was. But [it was] as a family member nonetheless. And it was somebody you didn’t want to disappoint. I’ve never felt that way about anybody else that I’ve worked with. You feel that way about your family. You don’t want to disappoint your dad, you may not want to disappoint your [brother] or your kids or your wife. But you generally don’t feel that way about your boss, per se. There was a different feeling. He had that. He created that. And I think that’s part of the personal touch of the relationship that at least I felt like I had with him around it.

Andrea Jung, the president and CEO of nonprofit Grameen America and an Apple board member since 2008, shared her thoughts as a friend of Jobs.

As a CEO, you have good days and bad days, and I remember I had a bad press day. Steve was a true friend — he called me on the phone and said, “Just ignore it. It’s hard but I’ve learned to. If you don’t fail, you’re not trying. Some of the world’s biggest successes come from learning from mistakes. Keep moving forward.” He was thoughtful and caring. That’s the Steve I knew. Those little touches.

Cook’s full email to the staff is below:

Team,

Today marks four years since Steve passed away. On that day, the world lost a visionary. We at Apple lost a leader, a mentor, and many of us lost a dear friend.

Steve was a brilliant person, and his priorities were very simple. He loved his family above all, he loved Apple, and he loved the people with whom he worked so closely and achieved so much.

Each year since his passing, I have reminded everyone in the Apple community that we share the privilege and responsibility of continuing the work Steve loved so much.

What is his legacy? I see it all around us: An incredible team that embodies his spirit of innovation and creativity. The greatest products on earth, beloved by customers and empowering hundreds of millions of people around the world. Soaring achievements in technology and architecture. Experiences of surprise and delight. A company that only he could have built. A company with an intense determination to change the world for the better.

And, of course, the joy he brought his loved ones.

He told me several times in his final years that he hoped to live long enough to see some of the milestones in his children’s lives. I was in his office over the summer with Laurene and their youngest daughter. Messages and drawings from his kids to their father are still there on Steve’s whiteboard.

If you never knew Steve, you probably work with someone who did or who was here when he led Apple. Please stop one of us today and ask what he was really like. Several of us have posted our personal remembrances on AppleWeb, and I encourage you to read them.

 

Thank you for honoring Steve by continuing the work he started, and for remembering both who he was and what he stood for.

Tim

Jobs died October 5, 2011, at the age of 56 of respiratory arrest following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He has remained in the public eye through books and films that attempt to portray his life, career and personality. Jobs was a controversial figure. His efforts paved the way for products like the iMac and the iPhone, but his sense of perfectionism was said to have caused him to lash out at employees and others who didn’t live up to his standards

 


Steve Jobs

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