Staying true to your vision: Lessons from Apple and Steve Jobs

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

Epicurus

A brand that many of us will know is Apple. The creators of some of the most revolutionary pieces of technology in our history. Although giants now, it was not always this way.

In its early days, just like now, Apple was known for its game changing products and innovations. They had a clear vision under Steve Jobs and the team. They knew what they were good at and kept improving on this. However, when Jobs was controversially ousted from Apple, they descended into a 12 year period of chaos where the company decided to branch out into so many product lines that it nearly destroyed itself.

It’s hard to believe now but Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy 23 years ago.

During the period of Jobs’ exile, the leadership team at Apple appeared to forget what made them so great in the first place. They moved away from the simplicity of their operation and invested in so many lines of products with bloated features that they had all but forgotten to invest in the basic principles that had brought the company so much success.

The mission moved from creating great products and services to pursuing everything and anything that might bring commercial success.

As we now know, this turned out to be a dark time in the company’s history and it was not until Jobs returned in 1997 that Apple found its way again. One of the key influences to Apple’s return to being a technology leader was down to Jobs taking them back to basics and re-instilling the true vision of the company.

Jobs killed a large percentage of the bloated product lines that had been invested in during his exile and instead aligned the product portfolio to what Apple did best.

This philosophy runs through the DNA of Apple, even today, 9 years after Steve Jobs death. 

The leadership team focuses on the basics, keeps things simple and continues to invest their day 1 vision. In Apple’s case, this has been building great products and services that connect with users.

Steve Jobs said it best when he laid out Apple’s vision in one sentence, “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.


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