I heard on the news this morning that Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple and the most successful innovator of recent years, has passed away.

I have been inspired by Jobs because of his passion and profound ability to relate to his customers and deliver precisely what they want.

He did not invent the MP3 player, yet the iPod is the dominant force now in mobile music.

When I grew up, I listened to a Sony Walkman and bought several generations of them over the years. The Sony Walkman was mobile music.  Every other player simply imitated what Sony created.

When MP3 players emerged I found the whole experience of trying to put music onto them too difficult and clumsy, so I didn’t bother.  The iPod was a revelation, integrating a great source of music at a reasonable price (iTunes) with a player that is incredibly intuitive and pleasant to use.

When Apple entered the mobile phone market, they re-invented the genre with the iPhone and gave us another device that showed an incredible understanding of the customer experience.  Make it wonderfully easy to use and beautiful to look at and people will love it.

Yet Steve Jobs was a university dropout and took the road less travelled.  He was sacked from Apple 10 years after creating it with his friend Steve Wozniak and went on to create Pixar and come back to Apple as its saviour in the mid 1990s.

In this speech he gave at Stanford University he gives inspiring advice for anybody in business – and life.  If you have a passion for business, you will enjoy this.  If you don’t have a passion for your business, it might make you stop and think about why are you doing it…


Image of Steve Jobs holding MacBook Air by Matthew Yohe Matt Yohe at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons