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25 Steve Jobs Quotes That Inspired My Life

By: Mark Schmukler

This was originally published by Mark Schmukler on LinkedIn.

I have followed Steve Jobs and Apple for more than 30 years. In 1984, I co-founded Desktop Graphics – my first business, an Apple Certified Partner and one of the first software companies for the Apple Macintosh. At the time, Apple worked closely with small software companies like ours, to ensure the early success of the Macintosh.

No, Steve was not perfect; far from it – but he inspired me and I am so fortunate for the positive impact he and Apple have had on my life, in so many ways. Steve’s quotes offer insights that can benefit all of us. The bold headlines below are my ‘takeaway taglines’ to summarize my learning from each of his quotes:

  1. Greatness is Risky
    “The greatest artists like Dylan, Picasso and Newton risked failure. If we want to be great, we’ve got to risk it too.”
  2. Change the World
    “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.”
  3. Believe in Your Ideas
    “I would rather gamble on our vision than make a ‘me too’ product.”
  4. User Experience is the Product
    “We’ve got to make the small things unforgettable.”
  5. Think Different
    “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels the trouble-makers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
  6. Solve a Problem
    “You’ve got to have a problem that you want to solve; a wrong that you want to right.”
  7. Passion First
    “It has got to be something that you’re passionate about because otherwise you won’t have the perseverance to see it through.”
  8. Make Good Choices
    “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.”
  9. Focus and Simplicity
    “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
  10. Follow Your Inner Circle
    “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.”
  11. Leadership through Innovation
    “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
  12. Inner Quality Matters
    “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.”
  13. Business Requires Teamwork
    “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
  14. Form Follows Function
    “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
  15. Exercise Your Mind
    “What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”
  16. Customers May Not Know What They Want
    “How does somebody know what they want if they haven’t even seen it?”
  17. Follow Your Passion
    “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.”
  18. Build a Culture of Quality
    “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
  19. Money versus Accomplishment
    “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.”
  20. Innovation by Elimination
    “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.”
  21. Product before Profit
    “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.”
  22. Success is Hard Work
    “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
  23. Life’s Purpose Is to Contribute
    “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
  24. Overnight Success is Rare
    “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”
  25. Focus on the Future
    “Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.”

Thanks Steve!

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