The ultimate entrepreneur of our times-the man and the legend. Steve Jobs’ wisdom and business acumen is certainly something that perhaps anyone in tech and beyond wishes to posses. Knowing what made Steve Jobs tick may or may not (probably not) turn me into a tech mogul overnight. However, as a MIDE major, getting a glimpse into the genius of Jobs would be priceless. During a dinner, the three broad questions that I’d ask him are: “Tell me about your youth…your school years, and India.”What are the small day-to-day things that make you successful”” and “how do you inspire and manage?”
The image of Steve Jobs that permeates our culture is that of the successful, confident and demanding leader of Apple. Some of the struggles he went through at the start of Apple, when he was actually removed by Sculley, perhaps due to his less than orthodox management style, is also explored. However, what I’m very interested in is finding out the nitty-gritty details and the emotions behind Steve’s upbringing and early life. When viewing Steve as a very down-to-earth, pragmatic CEO, two things surprise me: his conflict with traditional educational institutions and his alternative lifestyle which includes Buddhist meditation and the ample use of psychedelics.
Steve’s conflict with traditional education to me seems to stem not from a lack of capability to cope with its demands, seeing as his educators actually suggested he skip two grades. He was certainly capable of excelling in school but somehow his personality and belief system evolved in a way that put him in a conflict with the traditional educational system. I want to know about his childhood and about his feelings and perceptions on his environment. I think this would give much insight on how Steve tended to act during his upcoming years.
His early lifestyle of travel, meditation and psychedelics strikes me as very different from the traditional picture of “success story” we’ve been told: get good grades, be a leader, go to a great college, do great research/get a Masters degree/MBA. I’m not saying this path does not imply hard work and sacrifices that usually proves very rewarding, but it seems that these “off the grid activities” have made Steve the person who he was, so they clearly had a certain value to them. I really would like to know what Steve learned from his travels in India, his meditation retreats and perhaps even his…experiences with psychedelic substances. In our MIDE class, we learned how from having a variety of experiences and ideas, new, innovative ideas can be created. Learning how perhaps a bus trip in India shaped the design of the Iphone would be an unforgettable experience.
Another point I’d like to know about is what did Steve actually do in his day-to-day life. We may see him as a larger-than-life persona, but in reality, he simply was a human being with habits, daily chores and a more or less normal workday. I’d love to learn the steps, habits and routines that Steve had in his day. When did he wake up, how many hours did he work…and on what? What did he do during his breaks? Again, learning these and emulating them will not turn anyone into the next Steve Jobs, but learning the principles behind them will undoubtedly glean insight in how to be productive and perhaps lead a meaningful life.
It is easy to forget that Steve was not alone at Apple: he had a powerful team of executives that had a major impact on the way things were ran in the company. Seeing how Apple is, even without Steve’s leadership, still a very successful company shows how Steve had a immense talent for judging people, knowing whom to hire but also how to motivate them. I’ve read many articles describing his seemingly unstable temperament and use of derogatory remarks. However, the simple fact that he had a 97% approval rating on Glassdoor shows how despite having traits that are typically judged negatively, most employees were very happy with their CEO’s performance. There is a certainly a “method behind the madness” that was Steve Jobs’s management style.
Learning about the Buddhist practitioner, designer and business leader, Steve Jobs would certainly be a life-changing experience, as his contribution to our generation’s culture is great, if perhaps hard to measure.