The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation

Just finished listening to the unabridged audio version of Jay Elliot’s new release, The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation. The summary – read it. It’s worth the 7 hours of audio or the 256 pages of text.

Some of the other details…

The hardest part about reading the book is the obvious man crush Elliot has on Steve Jobs. Elliot has drunk the Apple kool-aid with be a big shot of “Steve Jobs is akin to the second coming.”

Is that to say Apple isn’t great…of course not. They obviously are. I am a die-hard PC girl…but when I have the disposable income to totally change platforms, I will consider it. Not interested in being a hybrid – but I digress.

Is that to say Steve Jobs isn’t great…of course not. Steve Jobs is one of my favorite quote sources. His innovation, perseverance and vision are amazing.

But Elliot’s book verges on a love letter. In fact, it ends with just that. A love letter to Steve Jobs thinly disguised as professional appreciation and challenge.

However, the insight Elliot offers into the well-spring of examples to be gleaned from the technological icon are worth the bias. And to be fair, I guess if I had worked closely with an individual of Jobs’ status, I may gush a bit too.

The most interesting thing about the book is I believe each person will grab something different. Depending on background, industry, position ~ the book will read different to each reader. I think this because I hear it a few different ways myself. Because my background has spanned military to entrepreneur, the ideas offered sounded different and created interesting conversations with myself.

There are some really neat stories contained in the book. Things about Pixar, IBM, Sony, Cannon and Disney that I had never really heard about before. The nuggets of business and development history were kinda cool to hear about. I was appreciative of them. They will serve me well on Jeopardy or at the next dinner party where we play the “did ya know” game.

But at its root, the book is about the practical application of passion, boldness and relentless belief in the journey. That is where the magic is and that is what makes any other criticism moot.

Through the activity of Steve Jobs, we see a young man who never looks afraid – even if he is. We see an innovator who refuses to settle for mediocre in his product and in his people. He is passionate about his vision. He, as described by Elliot, is the ultimate consumer. His vision is to create the most amazing experience for himself as possible. In turn, he believes it will revolutionize the world.

Elliot’s recollections of some of Job’s game changing moments remind us that boldness goes a long way. Small change requires small action. But big change, that takes something else all together.  But it isn’t like this is something we don’t already know. However, it is something we get real funny about putting into place. And that is understandable. Those things can, and should, be a real gut check. It is a confidence booster to learn how someone else handled their bold moves. You can see that it can be done and one approach to doing it. You see that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but status quo can’t always be Plan A.

And the “work” versus “doesn’t” is no doubt important. But it can’t be the most important. The most important must be the journey to “how do we make it work?” Not only that but, “does it matter if it works?” That journey cannot be about going through the motions and allowing whatever to just be whatever. Is it smart? Is it purposeful? Does it make life easier? Is it just clutter? Is it cool?

There’s other stuff in the book too – building and motivating a team, maintaining product and branding control, how to walk out of a company and reclaim it again, super cool “hey Ma, watch this!” kinda stuff. For sure not a waste of time.

[Jobs] believes that “half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.

“You put so much of your life into this thing. There are such rough moments in time that I think most people give up. I don’t blame them. It’s really tough and it consumes your life.”

You have to be “burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right.” If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.


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