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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.