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Learn from Steve Jobs
Monday, 19 November 2018 23:47



Apple CEO Steve Jobs stunned the world on August 24, 2011, by announcing his decision to resign. No other company has been so closely associated with the CEO for so long; Steve Jobs led every product, took every key decision and even did many key product launches! His resignation was not unexpected, yet his announcement caused much shock. Here’s a quick take on what you students can learn from Steve Jobs:




Steve Jobs dared to be different. More than a decade back, he took the bold decision that Apple products would NOT support floppy disk drives; recently, he followed it up with the decision NOT to have optical drives (CD / DVD) on Mac Books. He created a lot of problems to many by deciding not to support Adobe Flash on iPhone / iPad. Apple was the first to bet on HTML 5 on iPhone and SSD (Solid State Disk) for Mac Book Air. In many such instances, the entire industry followed Apple. Steve Jobs also made no secret that Apple did not believe in market research; Apple creates products that the market has never seen; but the market laps them up. Even at a personal level, very few CEOs would talk about their humble early days in public; that too at the graduation ceremony of the world’s richest university (make sure you read his Stanford University commencement speech titled: Stay hungry, Stay foolish).


Apple’s USP is that every product has design appeal. Apple Macintosh stood out; Apple iPod stands out among a crowd of MP3 players; Apple iPhone is a tall leader among many smart phones; Apple iPad has practically no competitor in the past 18 months! What makes Apple products special is their exemplary designer touch. Apple products are extremely well engineered too!


Apple products combine hardware and software to deliver exceptional value. Way back in early 90s, Steve Jobs ensured that a floppy disk in Apple Mac computers would pop out by a software click rather than pressing a button. The runaway success of iPod, iPhone and iPad is the hardware and  software integration, where Apple controls the destiny of both hardware and software evolution.


Steve Jobs admitted to mistakes, even atoned for them. When iPhone 4 had antenna issues, Steve Jobs had a thorough Radio engineering work in the impressive Apple Labs, made a personal appearance, clarified the issue and offered a case free of cost. When the first set of iPhone customers were upset with the sudden drop of price from $ 699 to $ 499 with the launch of iPhone 3G, Steve Jobs announced cash refund to all early customers.


Steve Jobs over the years has benefited from open source and Apple contributes to open source too; Yet, when it came to business success, what mattered was intellectual property protection through patents.

These are some key lessons from an extraordinary CEO who broke many stereotypes. He did not go to the best college; he did not pursue CS degree; he is not even an engineer though he engineered some of the best computing products. Indian students, note that Steve Jobs did not hold an MBA, though he is undoubtedly the most successful businessman of our times — last month Apple had more cash than the US Government!

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— Prof. S Sadagopan is the Director of IIIT - Bangalore.
He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it