Be bold.When Steve was just 12, he called the co-founder of electronics giant Hewlett-Packard to get spare parts for a hobby project. Hewlett was so impressed in that one conversation that he gave Steve a job that summer that started him on his career in technology.
Make your own rules.At college he skipped the required classes and instead just took whatever interested him. (This included a calligraphy class, which contributed to Apple's leadership on fonts and desktop publishing.) After a while he decided that school was too expensive for his parents to pay for, so he stopped paying his tuition, but he was so charismatic that the dean allowed him to audit classes and stay in a dorm with friends, effectively going to college for free.
Live with intensity.Life is short. Don't spend it living someone else's life, and don't spend it on small matters. If something isn't worth doing with intensity, then it's not worth doing at all.
Learn from the best.Steve wanted to innovate, so he studied the leading innovators. In Apple's early days, this was Xerox Parc, so he visited their research labs and saw demonstrations on cutting-edge technologies that changed the trajectory of his company, including graphical user interfaces, object oriented programming, and networked computing.
Let everything be your teacher.Apple took the best ideas from all fields. The early Macintosh team included people with backgrounds in music, poetry, art, history and other liberal arts, who also happened to be among the best programmers in the world. If not for computer science, they would've done amazing things in these other fields. Bringing together diverse expertise made the products better in countless ways.
Think for yourself.At Apple, Steve didn't use focus groups and did little or no market research. To be innovative, you can't rely on customers to tell you what to do, because they don't know they want and need things that don't exist yet. You have to think for yourself, in product innovation and all other areas of business.
Learn to program.Even if you don't intend to pursue a career in programming, Jobs thought it was worthwhile to learn to program, as it helps you learn to think clearly (and provides you with immediate feedback when you're not). He felt a business school degree was unnecessary for entrepreneurs, since business isn't rocket science, and can be learned on the job.
Passion is essential to success.When hiring, Steve looked for some of the same traits others do, including intelligence and creativity. But his primary recruiting criterion was a passion for the product that person would be working on. In fact, his passion was so contagious that he was careful to first gauge the passion of the recruiting candidate before expressing his. Also, he emphasized that passion matters much more than money. When Apple came up with the Macintosh, IBM was spending at least a hundred times more than Apple on R&D, but it didn't matter.
Make something for yourself.Jobs and Wozniak built the first Apple for themselves because computers at the time were too expensive for them to afford. When their friends saw it, they wanted them too, so the Steves built a kit which enabled their friends to build their computers quickly. Then a local store wanted several dozen pre-built computers, and they realized the retail market was a much bigger opportunity than the do-it-yourself hobbyist market. Thats how Apple got started. Many other successful companies were also born from entrepreneurs creating something that they wanted for themselves, or something that removed a pain point from their lives. By starting a company that makes a product or service you want to use, you'll be able to better judge its quality, and you'll also be more passionate about it.
The execution matters more than the idea.The idea is the easy part. Getting from a great idea to a great product requires genius, craftsmanship and toil to navigate the problems, opportunities, interconnections, subtleties and trade-offs. This is under-appreciated by most people because when it's done right, the product's users don't know about these complexities; the product just works the way it should.
Master the art of persuasion.John Sculley had spent fifteen years climbing the ranks at Pepsi, and seemed destined to spend his life there. Jobs wanted him to join Apple, so he shattered those plans with a single question: do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world? On another occasion, a Mac developer told Jobs he couldn't cut ten seconds off the startup time. Jobs said, what if you could save a life by doing it? The developer said yes, if it was a matter of life or death he could. Jobs replied by saying that 10 seconds per day for 10 million users is the equivalent of 100 lifetimes a year saved. The developer made it happen.
Build a toolbox of techniques for getting what you want.If logic was on his side, Steve would use that first. If not, he would use charisma, persuasion, or sheer force of will. Often it was a combination of all these. A lot of the tactics mentioned in this article were also used in service of getting what he wanted: being bold, thinking for himself, questioning everything, and making his own rules.
Leverage what already exists.As kids, Jobs and Wozniak heard about a guy who had found a way to make free long distance phone calls, so they scoured libraries and found an obscure technical journal at a university with the satellite codes necessary to send instructions through AT&T's system as if coming from AT&T itself. After three weeks of work they had built a device that enabled free long distance calls. The lesson they learned was that they themselves could build something that could control billions of dollars of existing infrastructure, that they could leverage the world.
Believe in the power of technology to change the world.As a kid, Steve was affected by a Scientific American article he saw that listed the efficiency of locomotion of different species. The condor was first, and the human was closer to the middle than the top of the list. But a human on bicycle was the clear winner. With this simple comparison he saw how humans as tool builders can amplify our abilities and change whats possible. Later he even used this idea in an ad, calling Apple Computer the bicycle of the mind.
First impressions matter.If one characteristic of your product, your service, or yourself is high quality, people are likely to assume the others are too. But if they see one feature or trait that's low quality, they'll lower their overall impression and expectations. So impute greatness by making sure the most prominent features, the ones people will see first, are as high quality as possible.
Make something beautiful.Everyone creates things. You can create beautiful things or ugly things, so why not create beautiful things? Life isn't just about function; aesthetics matter, so let everything you do be a work of art. What is beautiful? You get to define it for yourself. For Steve, beauty was elegant, simple, intuitive, and powerful.