October 7th, 2011
It isn’t easy to think differently. You can apply this now famous phrase to just about anything in your life and, no matter what you apply it to, it makes for a trying – yet exciting – life or work.
I was never much a fan of Steve Jobs. I was always so much more a fan of the company he had built and the products they created.
His idea of thinking differently was to not follow the trends but to set them. The age of computers was, directly or indirectly, crafted by Steve Jobs and his team. Although he is, deservedly so, getting a lot of credit for the revolutionary products Apple has built over the years he wasn’t alone. Apple’s 21,000+ member team all worked in concert to design, manufacturer, market, sell, and support these incredible products. The part that Steve brought – at least from my perspective in the cheap-seats here, was the drive for perfection at the expense of features.
It wasn’t until this last two decades that his methods truly proved themselves to the world and paid off for him. Although Apple saw success in the early days those that would try to copy that which Apple built would be the true benefactors for years. That is, until Steve Jobs stopped being a one-man-team and filled his entire company with people that shared his principles and learned his methods.
Apple products notoriously do less than people want when they’re first shipped. But, no one can ever say that they aren’t beautiful, work exactly as they say, and are the best products they own. Of all the things I own I can say that it is only Apple products that I have a strong affinity for. No other company has captured me as a lifelong loyal consumer of their products. Yet.
I can say that Steve Jobs has had an affect on my life. His passion for perfection at the expense of features has taught me that you don’t have to be first, your product doesn’t have to be for everyone, and your products don’t have to have every feature in order to succeed. Taking your time and building something “insanely great” can pay off. His experiences have also taught me that no matter how great you are you’re only as strong as the team around you. No one man (or woman) can expect to accomplish anything great in our field without the help of people that are talented, driven, and willing to think different. For me those are his legacies; the pursuit of perfection at the expense of features and understanding it takes a team of people willing to think different.
Don’t just do what everyone else is doing, think different.