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There are very few people in the world today more closely associated with innovation than Apple

co-founder, Steve Jobs. He is the classic American entrepreneurstarting his company in the spare bedroom of his parents house, and pioneering the first personal computer for everyday use.

The famed New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, wrote a column in which he said America needs more jobsSteve Jobs. He meant that innovation and creativity must be nurtured and encouraged to help the U.S and other countries emerge from the global recession. Everyone wants to learn more about Steve Jobs, yet very few journalists have identified the principles that drive Steve Jobs and his success. Until now, that is.

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs (McGraw-Hill, October, 2010) reveals the 7 principles that are largely responsible for his breakthrough success; principles that have guided Steve Jobs for his entire career and, more important, principles you can adopt today to think differently about your company, product or service.

Steve Jobs has something to teach you about your career, your business, and your brand. He thinks differently about every aspect of business from product design to marketing to communications. Here are the 7 principles responsible for Jobs breakthrough success.

Principle One: Do what you love.

Passion is everything. Innovationwhich simply meansnew ways of doing things that improve our lives---cannot flourish unless you are truly obsessed with making something betterbe it a product, a service, a method or a career.

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

Jobs has followed his heart his entire career and that passion, he says, has made all the difference. Its very difficult to come up with new, creative ideas that move society forward if you are not passionate about the subject.

In 1972, Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College in Portland after just one semester.

He stayed another 18 months to drop in to those classes he enjoyed, like calligraphy. Calligraphy didnt have any obvious practical application in his life but it would come back to Jobs when he created the Mac.

The Macintosh was the worlds first computer with beautiful fonts and typography. If Steve Jobs hadnt followed his passion, wed still be entering line commands.

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesnt matter to me. Going to be bed at night saying weve done something wonderful thats what matters to me.

Passion wont protect you against setbacks, but it will ensure that no failure is ever final. Bill Strickland

I dont mind failure. Ive always thought that schoolchildren should be marked by the number of failures theyve had. James Dyson

How to do find your passion? Passions are those ideas that dont leave you alone. They are the hopes, dreams and possibilities that consume your thoughts. Follow those passions despite skeptics and naysayers who do not have the courage to follow their dreams.

Principle Two: Put a dent in the universe.

This speaks to vision. Innovation doesnt take place in a vacuum. You need to know where youre going, what the ultimate destination is, and you need to inspire others, evangelists.

Were gambling on our vision, and wed rather do that than make me-too products.

Steve Jobs has never underestimated the power of vision to move a brand forward. In 1976, Steve Wozniak was captivated by Jobs vision to put a computer in the hands of everyday people.

In 1979, Jobs took a tour of the Xerox research facility in Palo Alto, California. There he saw a new technology that let users interact with the computer via colorful graphical icons on the screen instead of entering complex line commands.

It was called a graphical user interface. In that moment, Jobs knew that this technology would allow him to fulfill his vision of putting a computer in the hands of everyday people. Jobs later said that Xerox could have dominated the computer industry but instead its vision was limited to building another copier. Two people can see the same thing but perceive it differently based on their vision.

Steve Jobs set out with a vision to change the world. Whats your vision for your product, brand, and your career?

Passion fuels the rocket, but vision points the rocket to its ultimate destination.

Principle Three: Kick start your brain.

Creativity leads to innovative ideas. Jobs believes that a broad set of experiences expands our understanding of the human experience. A broader understanding leads to breakthroughs that others may have missed. Breakthrough innovation requires creativity and creativity requires that you think differently aboutthe way you think.

Creativity is just connecting things.

The idea fell from a tree, literally. Steve Jobs had returned from visiting a communelike place in Oregon located in an apple orchard. Apple co-founder and Jobs pal, Steve Wozniak, picked him up from the airport. On the drive home, Jobs simply said, I came up with a name for our companyApple. Wozniak said they could have tried to come up with more technical sounding names but their vision was to make computers approachable. Apple fit perfectly.


Dalai Lama
Four Seasons

Mercedes-Benz Apples


Steve Jobs creates new ideas precisely because he has spent a lifetime exploring new and unrelated thingsseeking out diverse experiences. Jobs hired people from outside the computing profession, he studied the art of calligraphy in college, meditated in an Indian ashram, and evaluated The Four Seasons hotel chain as he developed the customer service model for the Apple Stores. Look outside your industry for inspiration.

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.

Principle Four: Sell dreams, not products.

Your customers dont care about your product, your company or your brand. They care about themselves, their hopes, their dreams, their ambitions. Help them fulfill their dreams and you will them over.

The people who are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do.
Apple Ad

Steve Jobs doesnt rely on focus groups. If he had, they may never have enjoyed iPods, iTunes, the iPhone, the iPad, or Apple Stores. Jobs does not need focus groups because he understands his customers really, really well. Yes, sometimes better than they know themselves!

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after a 12-year absence, Apple faced an uncertain future. Jobs closed his presentation that year at Macworld in Boston with an observation that set the tone for Apples resurgence: I think you have to think differently to buy an Apple computer. A lot of times people think theyre crazy, but in that craziness we see genius.

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after a 12-year absence, Apple faced an uncertain future. Jobs closed his presentation that year at Macworld in Boston with an observation that set the tone for Apples resurgence: I think you have to think differently to buy an Apple computer. A lot of times people think theyre crazy, but in that craziness we see genius.

Principle Five: Say no to 1,000 things.

Innovation comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we dont get on the wrong track or try to do too much.

Jonathan Ive, Apple design guru: We are absolutely consumed by trying to develop a solution that is very simple, because as physical beings we understand clarity. Your customers demand simplicity and simplicity requires that you eliminate anything that clutters the user experience.

Steve Jobs reduced complexity in the Smartphone category by eliminating the keyboard.

The iPad is so simple a 2-year-old can use it.

The Apple Web site features one product.

Get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.

Steve Jobs advice to the new Nike CEO, Mark Parker.

The designers behind the wildly popular Flip video camera found inspiration in Apple products. Their goalanyone should be able to enjoy it out of the box in 30 seconds.

Mick Mountz, the CEO of Kiva Systems and a former Apple employee, said he designed these warehouse robots after asking himself, What would Steve do?

Simplicity is the elimination of clutterfor Apple and Nobu.

Principle Six: Create insanely great experiences .

People dont want to just buy personal computers anymore. They want to know what they can do with them, and were going to show people exactly that

Jobs has made the Apple Store the gold standard in customer service by introducing simple innovations any business can adopt to create deeper, more emotional connections with their customers. For example, there are no cashiers in an Apple store. There are experts, consultants, even geniuses, but no cashiers.

Apple created an innovative retail experience by studying a company known for its customer experienceThe Four Seasons. Apple Stores would attract shoppers not by moving boxes, but by enriching lives. The lessondont move product. Enrich lives instead and watch your sales soar.

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Carmines experience buying a MacBook pro at the Apple store was like being set up on a date and establishing a life-long commitment to the brand.

ABT Electronics in Chicago also sought inspiration outside conventional norms. The Lobby looks like the atrium at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, complete with dancing water fountain.

ABT even built an aquarium inspired by the giant fish tank behind the check in desk at the Las Vegas Mirage hotel.

If you just think about what makes customers and employees happy, in todays world that ends up being good for business. Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

Principle Seven: Master the message.

You baked a really lovely cake but then you used for frosting.

You can have the most innovative idea in the world, but if you cant get people excited about it, it doesnt matter. Steve Jobs is considered one of the greatest corporate storytellers in the world because his presentations inform, educate and entertain.

There are no bullet points in a Steve Jobs presentation


Category 4 Category 3 Category 2 Category 1 0% Most PowerPoint slides are a confusing, convoluted mess. 50% 100%

This is a real PowerPoint slide used by the U.S military. If commanders can understand this, they can win the war.

Steve Jobs thinks visually about presenting ideas, products, and information.

Simplicity: The Elimination of Clutter

In Apples design world, simplicity is the elimination of clutter. The same holds true for a Steve Jobs presentation.

Picture Superiority Effect (PSE)




If information is presented verbally, your audience will remember 10% of the information. Attach a picture and retention goes up to 65%.

Text and images are so much more interesting than bullet points alone.

One more thing

Dont let the bozos get you down

Innovation takes confidence, boldness and the discipline to tune out negative voices.

We dont need you. You havent gotten through college yet.

Get your feet off my desk. Get out of here. You stink and were not going to buy your product. Your problem is that you still believe the way to grow is to serve caviar in a world that seems pretty content with cheese and crackers. Theres no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.
Imagine how one young man with big dreams must have felt when he heard the following. Of course, these statements were all directed at one time or another to Steve Jobs.

Dont the let noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice.

Dream bigger.

Perhaps the ultimate lesson that Jobs teaches us is that innovation requires risktaking and risk taking takes courage and a bit of craziness. See genius in your craziness. Believe in yourself and your vision and be prepared to constantly defend those beliefs. Only then will innovation be allowed to flourish and only then will you be able to lead an insanely great life.