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Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish: What We Can Learn From Steve Jobs

Stay hungry. Stay foolish. What a brilliant advice. I have been a fan of Steve Jobs ever since I bought my first Mac (about seven years ago). I’ve been following Apple, and him as a leader. And, from my point of view, stay hungry was exactly what he did all to the end. I would really love to discuss how you manage to stay hungry, and how important it is to you.

stay hungry - Steve Jobs in 1975

I believe that you can stay hungry by adding some routines. The routines alone are not enough to stay hungry. You need to have a passion. Remember, everything that happens is connected to you.

This is a guest post from Jesse Langley, and his stay hungry, stay foolish perspective, really got my attention.

To be a good employee, focus your efforts on branding your company, and fade into the background of excellence that you’re helping to create.

To be a great person, brand yourself, and let the company follow. Steve Jobs knew what he wanted his company to focus on, which happened to be the very embodiment of himself. He used these tactics to put his company at the top of the ever-changing tech game.

Innovation

Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?

Jobs went to Atari and Hewlett Packard when he was still in college with an already-built machine that was better than what was on the market. He told them to hire him, buy it from him, or even just take it. They didn’t.

He created his own company with friend Steve Wozniac and began selling Apple I. They worked out of their basement, effectively taking market shares away from larger, established companies. The situation may have been daunting, but Jobs faced it with his usual calm determination. And then there was the Apple II, which came out in 1977. When the Apple III launched, it was a complete failure. When the Lisa computer launched, it was a complete failure. Stay hungry.

Perseverance

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.

Stay hungry: Jobs didn’t believe in complete failure stopping innovation. He believed there could be a failure to be more creative or to consider the market better, but he never thought that a single bad experience could bring anyone down.

When Apple let Jobs go in 1985, he wasn’t angry, he didn’t feel like he had failed. He simply said that he wanted a chance to continue to create, and that he knew he had another computer to build. His perseverance shone through, and when he started NeXT, he kept the innovation going.

Later, it merged with Apple and Jobs became the head of the company again.

Determination

We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent. Because this is our life.

When Jobs moved back to Apple, he was fully prepared to do wonderful things. From that desire, work and excellent branding and business decisions came the iMac and the iPod. Building on that success, the iPhone and the iPad were launched. The company shows profits even during the several-year recession, and Jobs refuses to lay people off. The company emerges strong, and Jobs is one of the major reasons for it.

Maybe because of his illness, or maybe because of his personality, Jobs made the most he had out of every second of his life. He always strove to go beyond what was expected. He refused to use trial groups because he claimed sometimes the customer didn’t even know what they wanted until he showed it to them. He thought beyond simple form or function and created a line of products that are accepted by most to be of far superior quality than everything else on the market.

Equality

I mean, some people say, ‘Oh, God, if [Jobs] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble.’ And, you know, I think it wouldn’t be a party, but there are really capable people at Apple. My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I try to do.

Stay Hungry and learn from Steve Jobs

Stay hungry, stay foolish

Steve Jobs wasn’t afraid to face his own mortality. Instead of massing power at the top of Apple’s leadership so he could control it all, he spread it out and made sure that every person in management could do his job. Despite being one of the most powerful men in the world, he wasn’t trying to create his image as godlike. He focused on innovation and equality. Jobs believed every employee had to believe in the company, not in himself. Though Apple is no doubt mourning their loss, they have been left with firm ground to stand on.

Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing and family life. He writes on behalf of American InterContinental University and has a keen interest in blogging and social media. He also writes for The Professional Intern.

Stay hungry, stay foolish. What did you learn from Steve Jobs?

I’d love to discuss how you manage to stay hungry, and how important it is to stay hungry.



73 responses to “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish: What We Can Learn From Steve Jobs”

  1. Craig McBreen says:

    I have been a fan of Apple fan since the very first Macs came out. I remember working on the Mac Plus, which had I think about 1 MB of RAM (or close to it), expandable but that was what you go out of the box. I went from the Mac II, then onto the PowerPCs and when they opened the system up to other companies in the 90s, I had a Mac clone. That wasn’t the best computer, so glad Apple abandoned that business plan. I now have an iMac and iPhone and love them both. Just about everyone I know now has some Apple product, so things have sure changed. Not to mention the stock price. When I was at the mall the other day there was a line of people waiting to get into the Apple store. Talk about plowing through a recession. I certainly don’t mind paying for great products.

    • Jens says:

      Hi Craig,

      I entered the world of Apple many years after you. I remember when I bought my first Mac, it was the Mac mini. I had never tried any product from Apple prior to that, but I had heard so many awesome things about Apple. So, I decided to buy a Mac Mini just to test if a Mac was the right thing for me. And we all know what happened after that 🙂

      I’m excited about Apple and their products. But what I have been really thinking about during the years is how they managed to get a mass following. I feel like I’m part of a cult 🙂

      • Craig McBreen says:

        Shhh. Don’t call it a cult 😉 Well it used to be more of a cool kids club, now were talking mainstream products that are better than ever.

        • Jens says:

          It stopped being a cool kids club when I joined 🙂

          I absolutely agree. The products are brilliant. The only problem is that I feel like upgrading every time they release another product 🙂

          • Jimmy says:

            Hi Guys,

            Sorry for barging in.

            Couldn’t help chipping in with my Apple conversion.

            My very first Apple product was an iPhone 3G. Prior to that I have heard of Apple and even used the original Mac a few times during my University days. Had no impression on that tend apart from the cool feel while typing.

            Even when all the iProducts took the world by storm since the late 1990s, I was still not impressed. The real change came when I started reading about jobs. I was one of those who did not buy the usefulness of the products. I bought the person’s products. That is really the power of personality in action.

            Job’s Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish philosophy also appealed to me very much. Since than, I have read a lot about the guy, and he is truly those that sells even before his next product comes out.

            I do beg to differ about the future of Apple. Job’s iconic image is just too big for Apple to carry. It is not really about Apple, but rather Jobs. I fear that once all this hoo-ah after his death passes, Apple will be on the road to slow decline. I wish I am wrong.

            • Jens says:

              Hi Jimmy,

              It’s very interesting what you say about Steve Jobs. I have been thinking the same thoughts, but at the same time, I do think that he has created a foundation with a very strong culture in Apple, and brilliant products, so they should be able to make it without him.

              But it sure is going to be very interesting to see what happens the next couple of years. It will be close to impossible to fill his shoes, and he is the only Apple employee I know the name of. I still can’t remember the name of the new SEO 🙂

      • Arjun Rai says:

        Today everybody wants be like Steve Jobs, so do i and we really miss him. thanks for sharing this article with us it motivate us and inspire us to to something in our life like steve.

  2. Mouh says:

    I understand 2 things from “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”. First, failure is sometimes better than success. Sometimes successful people think they have achieved everything there is. Failures don’t. So they always try to accomplish more and more. Stay hungry for more and don’t think you have achieved enough. Second, conformity is a problem. When people have different ideas from the rest of people, they’re considered nuts and many people try to put them down. More often than not, these “stupid” people turn to be the smartest. That’s what I understand from stay hungry and stay foolish.

    Great guest post. Thanks Jesse Langley and Jens.

    Mouh
    🙂

    • Jens says:

      Hi Mouh,

      I have learn so many things from my past failures, and the one thing that I’ve most proud of, is that I’m not afraid of failing. Because if you fail the right way, it only means that you learn and in the end, what you’ve learn makes you a lot stronger.

      When it comes to conformity, if we do what everone is already doing, we’ll do alright, but that’s all. We’ll never get a tribe, or become successful in business. But, the balance of conformity / doing something brand new, that’s difficult. Because like you said, people might find you weird, and if your too weird, they don’t want anything to do with you. The balance is important, and very difficult 🙂

    • Juan Felix says:

      Great post and excellent comment. This comment was actually written on a MacBook Pro. I started my business in 2010 and my first investment was to buy a mac. It enabled me to start my blog and start guest blogging for other major blogs. So, absolutely a fan of Steve for ever. IMO social media are a great support to stay hungry and foolish. That’s why I have a passion for social platforms. Social Engagement is really the name of the game! Thanks Steve.

      • Jens says:

        Hi Juan,

        I know that if I was going to start my own business, the first thing I would do was to buy a Macbook Air and an iPhone 4S. That’s it. It would be all I needed to get my business up and running.

        I have been using Apple products for the past 7 years, and I have almost never experienced any type of problems. And I still remember how much time I was spending, almost on a daily basis, with my computers.

  3. Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

    Stay hungry, stay foolish. That pretty much sums up my chocolate addiction.

    Jokes aside, it’s a great mantra. Mistakes are really opportunities in disguise, and unless you are foolish enough to embrace them, you’ll miss out. And hunger is the fuel that drives you back to the drawing board after every mistake made. I agree that the combination of the two is really the ultimate.

    The dangers of chocolate notwithstanding.

    • Jens says:

      Your chocolate addiction, and my pizza addiction 🙂

      I make a lot of mistakes. But, I always learn from them, and I’m always hungry for more mistakes, because I know that every time I make a mistake I’ll come back even stronger than before (and more hungry than ever).

    • Carolyn says:

      Lol, That’s brilliant, Ruth! Yes, that describes chocolate addiction to a “T”!

  4. Adrienne says:

    Thank goodness the world was graced with Steve Jobs’ presence. Had it not, I seriously don’t think technology would be where it is now.

    Steve was definitely a risk taker and nothing held him back. You don’t find people like that everyday so we needed him to show more people the way. To not be afraid to go for what they want.

    I’m fairly new to Apple having purchased my very first iPod just this past summer. But it doesn’t mean I didn’t think Apple’s products were great. I’m just glad that Steve took the chances he did and went for what he believed. I hope more follow in his footsteps.

    Thanks for sharing this post Jesse, really enjoyed it.

    ~Adrienne

    • Jens says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      I agree with you, he has done so much for technology and consumer products, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come. And now that I have an iPad, I truly understand the real power of mobile marketing 🙂

      I believe that what you’re saying about being a risk taker is important. If we’re struggling to fit in, we’ll never going to be innovative.

      Thanks a lot for your comment Adrienne.

  5. mirandagirl says:

    Yes! the genius Steve Jobs. He never rest on failures, he made it a lesson, failure is welcome to him since he learn so much from it. I like the perseverance and the determination of this man. He never consider it a work but a passion and he did enjoy what he was doing.

    • Jens says:

      Absolutely. And I believe that if we can at least one thing from Steve Jobs it’s his perspective on life, and how to deal with failures. We can’t be successful without failures, and we learn from every mistake we make. That’s so important.

      Thanks a lot for your comment 🙂

  6. I think Steve has done wonders- simple as that! I agree with Adrienne that had Steve not been there I don;t think that technology would have reached such heights!

    I learned much more about Steve after his passing away, but knew about his awesome creations. What I marvel is how he was a self made person, determined , dedicated, loved to take risks, and worked right till he could. That speaks a great deal about him. I wish more people would learn from him.

    I guess another way we can take his lines of ‘stay hungry stay foolish’ can be that if you are hungry for knowledge and power- you work better and achieve it- rather than having things readily available and laid out for you. I guess you need to work and think differently or as he may have called it ‘foolishly’ to reach up there.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Jens says:

      Hi Harleena,

      I’m going to buy his biography. Steve Jobs have done so many things for Apple, and it’s hard to understand how he became so successful. And I believe that we have a lot to learn from him as a leader. But after viewing his speech at Stanford, I also want to know more about him as a person as well. His perspective on life is awesome.

      Thanks a lot for your comment Herleena.

  7. Bill Dorman says:

    It is very easy to take the ‘safe’ route w/ little risks; but that does not allow you to grow and sometimes you do have to stub your toe to get better.

    • Jens says:

      Bill,

      You’re absolutely right. I’m not really a risk taker though, but I make a lot of mistakes on my marketing adventure (and do my best to learn from them). I’m hustling to break out from conformity (and I’m learning from Ameena).

      Are you a risk taker Bill, or are you more like me? 🙂

      • Bill Dorman says:

        More like you and I won’t even wear a bathing suit like you have……:).

        This might be an excuse, but throughout my career I felt my responsibility to my family kept me conservative. If it’s just me I have to worry about I’m ok with falling flat on my face because I can figure it out. However, if I have 3 other mouths to feed and keep a roof over their head I might not be so willing to jump off a cliff……..

        • Jens says:

          That’s exactly the same with me Bill. I feel responsible for my family, and that’s why I’m not much of a risk taker. I’m not sure if I would have studied for 6 years at a University if I knew then what I know now. Back then, it was all about conformity. Now I see opportunities everywhere I look 🙂

  8. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens and Jesse, I agree with you and Mouh, it’s important to learn from your failures. I agree also with Bill that it’s important to stub your toe at times.

    I have seen people who earned success quickly and then rested on their laurels, taking success for granted. That’s why it’s so important to work in an area you’re passionate about so your drive continues after you achieve success.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Jens says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      This reminds me of a woman that my dad told me about when I was fairly young. She had made a lot of money selling candy in a town close to where I live. She was still selling candy, she didn’t stop working, she didn’t hire people to work for her. She kept working 10 hours a day. I couldn’t believe why she would keep working after making so much money. But, it’s really about passion and controlling your own destiny. She could probably have hired help, but it’s important to not just rest on your laurels as soon as you achieve success.

      Thanks a lot for your comment Carolyn.

  9. Eugene says:

    I’ve gone to the dark side and recently purchased the new iPhone. I love it! Although the battery does drain pretty quickly…probably because the processor is a monster and it has dual antennas.

    But “stay hungry, stay foolish” is amazing advice. I love watching the speech where he says it. So inspiring!

    • Jens says:

      Hi Eugene,

      Congratulations on your iPhone. I really want the iPhone 4S. My old iPhone 3GS is still awesome, but it’s not as fast, and I’d love to start using Siri. Are you using Siri?

      I also love the speech, it’s so inspiring. Actually, I’m going to watch it again now, and buy the Steve Jobs’ biography.

      Thanks a lot for your comment Euguene.

      • Eugene says:

        I’ve only used Siri a couple of times. Mostly just to mess around with it and see how it’ll respond to stupid questions :).

        It’s so easy to use everything else that I haven’t really found a need to use Siri so much.

        • Jens says:

          I have to buy iPhone 4S soon, especially because of the camera and how fast it is (compared to the iPhone 3 GS).

          • Eugene says:

            Yeah that camera was really a selling point for me. I was going to buy a camera to possibly film some videos anyway and this killed two birds with one stone. The camera is AWESOME on there.

            • Jens says:

              Is the camera good for taking pictures outside as well as inside, and when it’s fairly dark as well?

              • Eugene says:

                Outside in the day time it’s perfect. Sometimes when the flash goes off the picture gets a little hazy though…I’m not sure if it’s a problem with my phone (or maybe the cover I have on it). I don’t think my friend’s iphone has that problem.

  10. zamahsari says:

    I am also one of his fans.. Jobs leaves not only his innovations and inventions but also the brilliant advices for people. Stay hungry and stay foolish is one of hundreds of his advices. It is a self-motivator that can make us stay focus and move forward. He believes that the ability can always be improved and knowledge is limitless. So we will always find new things that we don’t know yet..

    • Jens says:

      Hi Zamahsari,

      His perspective on life is awesome, and we can learn so many things from Steve Jobs, not just as a leader, but as a “regular” person. Believing that knowledge is limitless makes us so powerful,and being able to do whatever we want. I really enjoy how much passion he had for his job, and that’s something I’m really hustling to achieve. I believe that we need to work for what we’re truly passionate about.

      Thanks a lot for your comment.

  11. olatoun-graceny says:

    Steve was a wonderful genius…the learn I learnt from him is simple discover your passion and keep working at it don’t be talked out of it by anyone…you will definately be fulfilled at the long run.yes @carolyn if u love what you do you will keep going even after being named the richest in the world.Lovely post

    • Jens says:

      Absolutely. It’s all about passion. If we love what we’re doing, we’ll be having such an awesome time. There are no reason to stop, no matter how much success we have or money we earn 🙂

  12. Chris says:

    stay hungry,stay foolish,i love that quote.. because of that we will strive hard to know more and learn more,nice quote steve jobs.

  13. John Falchetto says:

    I’m always hungry. Actually Ameena calls me a bottom-less pit but when it comes to business it’s important to nurture this hunger.
    Staying foolish and avoiding what the others say about you is a great way to keep that hunger going 🙂
    To hunger, fools and all the other pretty names we get called when we leave the tribe 🙂

    • Jens says:

      Hi John,

      So you’re a bottom-less pit, that’s funny. I’ve been called a human waste disposal system, especially when it comes to pizza. I don’t think that I have ever wasted pizza. I always eat the pizza, no matter how much pizza we buy/make 🙂

      By the way, do you have any daily routines when it comes to work?

  14. Steve says:

    Jens,

    Great post, not only as an encapsulation of all the great things Steve Jobs did but as inspiration to us all. Above all what jobs did is he showed how powerful it could be to have a strong vision. It seems it right from the beginning Jobs Knew where he wanted to go and everything else is just the tedious task of getting there.

    Steve

    • Jens says:

      Hi Steve,

      Yes, it seems that Steve Jobs had a very strong vision. And that’s probably one of the biggest problems why most people fail. Most people give up after failing one time, but people like Steve Jobs will never give up, no matter what… because they keep following their vision.

  15. Malcom says:

    Its indeed a wonderful book. I am glad that it has reached the masses. I learnt that you got paid to write the book and it wasn’t in real sense an “entrepreneurial exercise” for you. Why did you agree to get paid rather than negotiate an entrepreneurial deal – possibly royalty or something? Did you not believe in the idea back then?? Wasn’t it against the spirit of entrepreneurship itself to be hired for writing something which was such an interesting topic?

  16. Daily Investment Guide says:

    I like reading everything about Steve Jobs. Great minds!!

  17. Rob Benwell says:

    Steve Jobs is the “MAN”. His works is truly amazing.. He’s the Legend..

  18. Joseph says:

    “Stay hungry” like Jobs did. he didn’t stop to discover different kinds of gadgets.i am one of his fan when it comes to his determination.

  19. Ricci Sionil says:

    Steve Jobs made the Apple soar…But due to unforeseen circumstances, he left us..I know there are still people left in the Apple industry to make it soar again..

  20. Lynn Sanders says:

    It’s all spinning with Passion at the center, that’s what drives us further, that’s what keeps us hungry. From that you set a goal and work to achieve it.
    Steve Jobs was a smart man.

  21. Arjun Rai says:

    I have the biography of Steve Jobs and one interesting thing i get is the idea of making a computer was of Steve wozniak, no doubt Steve jobs was a amazing person but somewhere the name of Steve Wozniak is important man behind Steve Jobs

  22. Diana Stroe says:

    I wasn’t a really big fan of Apple because I didn’t knew much about this company. I also didn’t knew until a year ago that Steve Jobs was Apple’s owner. It seems that Jobs was a really smart person and very wise, he decided to make his company unstoppable, instead of making him unstoppable which was an impossible fact because he isn’t immortal. He knew that he will have so much to gain if he invested power in the company – his creation, instead of investing power in himself, power that will get lost sooner or later. Really great article, brought me a new perspective on a lot of things. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jens says:

      Hi Diana,

      Thanks a lot for the feedback. I’m currently reading his biography, and there are so many things to learn from Steve Jobs, not just about Apple. He was an awesome leader and person.

  23. Evie says:

    What a great blog post this is. Steve Jobs was one man that never gave up, you’ve really got to admire his perseverance and imagination, he will be missed.

  24. Adam Clarke says:

    A state of necessity creates amazing results. You would be surprised what you can accomplish when you take on the mindset that you could become homeless and still need to live a happy life. Living with that in mind I have managed to build a passive income and online business for free. Starting with a tiny goal of being able to buy a coffee a day. Always one small step bigger than that. I’m 23 and I can retire soon. That’s what Steve Jobs has taught me to achieve.

  25. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Jesse(Jens),

    I started reading Steve Jobs biography some days ago and all I can say is that he was an amazing person but he also was in control of everything that surrounded him.

    The main reason for this was mainly because he was adopted as a kid and couldn’t understand why his biologic parents would have just gave him in adoption.

    This tormented Steve for many years (I haven’t finished the book so I don’t know how it ended!) but as far as I know, he was smart enough to pass the torch I guess.

    That’s why he kept saying that the day he couldn’t be on top of Apple, he would just lend the place to someone else (as he did).

    I read in another post that death didn’t happened to Steve, Steve prepared for death and that his last words were “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow” and that was it.

    I really recommend the book to anyone and I only want to say that it gets a bit techie, but nowhere near to get it boring or something like that (at least not for me!).

    The best I think, I learned from him: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

    I know, how original right? lol

    But yes, if we really understand what those simple words mean, we are already understanding enough to make a difference.

    Sergio

  26. Thanks a lot for your kind words 🙂

  27. R.I.P Steve Jobs.. Great Man in The World..

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