Steve Jobs Bio – Last part of Innovation Tips

IT Professional or not, you should love this second and last bunch of Innovation Tips. Those are the highlights of more than 35 hours of listening to the latest books and resources, aiming to scoop any innovation tip I can find, for you to use in your career or business development. Watch it all here on the Youtube Video:

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Here is the summarized text version of this podcast episode:

1. Steve was always focused on both the science/technology side and humanities. So he could look at solutions that are both a great technology innovation and yet capture human imagination and ignite strong feelings. The root of innovation is basically taking your great ideas from realm A and applying them to realm B - such as learning influence and marketing and then using it to innovate in the IT / Technology industry, where people are usually only focus on technology.

2. When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started selling the "Blue Box", which allowed people call long distance without paying AT & T, they sold each unit for $150. But the value of this (if you forgive them for doing such a hack) was they could see that Steve Wozniak could create technological solutions that can outrun huge companies and solutions such as AT&T, and that Steve had the ability to sell them for a big profit. This built confidence and energized them to start Apple, the Apple II and beyond. The lesson is, when you go on your journey, you should build your confidence, pick small projects that mean a lot, and succeed (naturally sometimes after failing several times). This confidence will become your fuel to the next much bigger goals.

3. Steve's distortion field - Steve could make himself and others believe they could do, what they perceived as impossible, and as a result they really did make it happen (such as Wozniak creating an Atari game in just four days instead of weeks)

4. Steve looked a lot a Sony's brochures and learned from them, but then he decided to take white clean simple line instead of Sony's black line. So he took the time to learn from the best, but then he mixed this with his ideal, and created his own design. That can be true for your initiatives as well.

5. Why Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - You have to get a deep understanding of the problem you are solving to be able and reduce the solution to the most essential elements. Doing that creates a solution many can use and feel powerful, since they can grasp how to utilize your solution and also solve their problem. Other slogans that mean the same and are powerful: "Real artists simplify",  "Less is more", "Make things intuitively simple"

6. People do judge a book according to the cover...even the packages of the stuff from apple looks wonderful when un-wrapped. Make sure when people use your solution they have an exceptional experience using it.

7. Steve was making sure that even the "inner chip boards" should look great from the inside. If you wonder why that's important, then the reason is that you as the project owner, product creator, owner, feel it in your guts if you have untidy areas in your initiative. This feeling will draw power from, reduce your self-confidence and self-worthiness you as you present your solution to the world. It is like Feng Shui for your mind and solution. Furthermore, people will find out about any mess you left behind. So better have it clean and tidy to begin with.

8. Steve could be very demanding with team members, but whoever learned from what he said and executed, could then stand up to him and earn his appreciation. This does not mean you should be rude to your team members. But it does mean you should carefully weight politeness vs. being frank and direct about the state the matters in your project. You should not compromise on quality, yet be compassionate to your member's challenges. Steve was not very compassionate, but there is no reason to maintain the less favorable sides in his personality.

9. Never compromise for less than perfect, even if you have to miss schedule (first mac was shipped 16 months late because of that, but was superb). Most of us would feel uncomfortable sticking to perfectness, but you should consider injecting more of this attitude to your projects.

10. It is not done until it is shipped - true artists ship. So many times we think that having 100% of the solution ready, means it is done. Well, actually there is a huge invisible gap between 100% ready, and done. It is done only when it is shipped to your customers or users. Until then, it lacks whatever is needed to get you confident enough such that you actually expose it to the world.

11. The journey is the reward - Steve told his team members, "We are creating the future and one day you will look back and be proud of what you were part of". He did that when times were rough. And it is indeed true. Look back at your life and you will see that. Use this in your team. This does not mean you should use this approach to manipulate others. To have this approach become reality, you need to act from the basis of a grand vision.

12. "I never did it for the money", said Steve when he had the successful IPO of Pixar. Well, Steve was focused on maximum revenue, but the REASON for creating the products was very vision driven...Being driven by your vision has better chances to result in fame and fortune, yet focusing on your own benefits all the time, would drive your focus far away from the values you need to create, to succeed. Yes, it is not easy to have this stand, if you feel you are under paid or not valued appropriately. But even so, you can do your best to build your self-confidence and future value, until you move to a better place.

13. Steve called Larry Allison "our rich friend" because Larry was enjoying luxurious trips, while Steve's Zen approach was more based on "The more you collect and attach to stuff ("toys", titles, unfinished projects) the more your life is saturated".

14. Long lasting companies reinvent themselves - "It is similar to the metamorphosis a butterfly goes through" - said Mike Marcula to Steve Jobs, as Steve asked for his advice, while returning to Apple. But why do (most) companies avoid executing on this attitude this fully? Maybe because it human nature to regard change, real massive change as a risk. People will turn their eyes away from the very clear risk, they incur, by avoiding change. Humans are habit oriented, that's why they stay on the collision course in most cases. Everyone can figure out what is needed to innovate. It is going through the stomach aches you have as you take the innovation road, that will do the magic. To keep yourself going in the right direction, remind yourself how it would look like if you fail to innovate.

15. Design for "simple" - people want simple to use products because they want to feel they can own and control the solution you created. It is not about dropping features. It is about getting deep into the problem you are trying to solve and the tools you have to do that, while making sure the design, features the essence of the product. Leave only the features you absolutely must have to solve the main problem.

16. Get exclusive rights to the most critical innovative component in your solution, so others cannot compete for a while - that's what apple did when they contracted with Toshiba, over the 5GB tiny drive that could hold up to 1000 songs, and was critical piece in the first iPod launch. Apple have been doing this since then will all of their products, wherever they could.

17. No divisions: Sony had failed to combat Apple's iTunes/iPod combination since it was a corporation split into  divisions. Apple did not have divisions really. Everyone at Apple was responsible for the main bottom lines. You must not let divisions and teams compete and be separate such that the main goal the bigger team has, is at risk.

18. Allow Self Cannibalization, yet try to leverage one solution with another solution you have. Apple was never afraid to cannibalize one of its product sales for another, but it did pay attention to build its line of products so they leverage one another: iPod sales drove Macs sales and iTunes sales and vice versa.

19. The 3 Clicks Rule - Apple had a rule, as it created the iPod: Every action should take no more than clear trivial 3 clicks. That's simplification.

20. Apple did not build stuff for their customers. Apple built stuff they would personally love to use. That's how they hit the point while shipping their products. I'd say the formula is: Become your customer, Then Innovate for yourself, then ship.

21. Steve was always making sure the company is focused on 2-3 top priorities at each point. This saved a lot of time and effort and was a cornerstone in Apple's buildup. He was making sure this focus is maintained as he was holding the periodic all teams strategy / ideas sessions. What should you do if you provide dozens of solutions? You could still put most of your resources on the top 2-3 products or organize your products into themes, and pick the 2-3 themes you want to focus on.

22. The iPhone4 Antenna Crisis - although the phone had problems, and a lot of "noise". Steve took the time to actually analyze the data about this problem. Steve then found out they were minor and still he talked about it sincerely (although he was very sick and trying to get some rest with his family). Steve's reaction was simple yet powerful:

A. Smart Phones are not perfect
B. We are not perfect
C. We are doing the best we can
D. We want our customers be happy

The first sentence actually took the conversation very smartly to another level, decreasing the specific issue of the iPhone4 and was genius. The second sentence was actually apologizing and setting proper expectations. The third sentence showed empathy and care, resulting in reducing the anger on the customers side. The forth sentence was kind of promising it would be worthwhile to wait for Apple resolution of this issue.

23. Android vs. iPhone (Open/Fragmented vs. Closed/Integrated). Steve's approach was that many people will prefer saving time and effort in using Apple's solution, even though they require you to use only Apple's certified solutions. This could be an everlasting argument, but in reality, it certainly fit what many people want: stuff that always works vs. unstable/time consuming "open" variety.

24. "A players" love and thrive working with other "A players". So you should minimize B and C level players where you need innovation.

25. Build a company and a solution not just for profits (most people go for quick profits). Build it to become a success for generations or years to come - this will purify your decisions about "quick gains", which seldom fail very quickly, erasing and buildup of value you could gain.

26. A company starts to lose on its innovation and edge when the sales teams take over the navigation of the ship, pushing development and marketing away.


Steve Jobs Books You want to Get Now:

1. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson 2011 -
2. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience - Carmine Gallo -
3. Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs and the Creation of Apple by Michael Moritz -
4. iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It by Steve Wozniak -
5. Steve Jobs: Co-Founder of Apple by C.W. Cooke -
6. I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words by George Beahm -