Lessons to Learn from Steve Jobs for your Startup

Lessons to learn from Steve Jobs for your startup

There are many lessons to learn for your startup to grow and scale to a unicorn – and there’s no better person to learn – Steve Jobs.

“I always advise people – Dont wait ! Do something when you are young, when you have no responsibilities. Invest time in yourself to have great Experiences that are going to enrich you, then you can’t possibly lose. “

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs proved that college degrees has nothing to do with making a startup successful.

iPad Pro 12-Inch - Genius of Steve Jobs

To become successful, all you need is hunger to learn more. When you learn from your life, others life and from everything around you, you can better understand things.

But, this does not mean learning everything from everyone, rather focusing all your potential on a particular subject and become an expert at it!

Here is a list of lessons to learn the life of Steve Jobs – for your startup’s success!

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

You don’t need a good education or a degree from college to be rich or famous.

Steve constantly bunked, rebelled and faced detention.

He insisted on going to Reeds college but eventually dropped out since the classes did not seem interesting and the tuition fee was not worth it.

Read our article to gain a better understanding of 6 Myths about Starting your Own Business.

Being a technology tycoon doesn’t necessitate a solid technical background.

What sets apart Apple products from its contenders is the art, elegance, design and attractive visual appearance.

And Steve was more a salesman than a typical engineer.

In fact, John Sculley named him a showman after watching a live demonstration of the first Macintosh’s prototype and a screen display with Pepsi caps and cans dancing around the Apple logo which Jobs had specifically fabricated for the then President of Pepsi-Cola division of PepsiCo.

Sculley eventually agreed on joining the Macintosh team as their President.

This video shows the launch of the Macintosh in 1984, 9 years after its forefather, with better graphics, user interface, chess, multiple fonts, document charts and a mouse, the first computer which introduced itself!

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Stand up for what you believe in.

Steve had a habit of so-called “reality distortion” where he would make the other person believe in something so strongly that would push them extremely hard or even completely modify the initial trajectory.

In 1981, the team of Mac founders set up a special award for the person who had the courage to stand up to Steve and speak his mind.

Joanna Hoffman, a member of the Mac team, won the award 2 years in a row after threatening to stab a knife into his heart!

At the same time, these negative characteristics about their boss also served as an incentive to strive for more and exceed their own expectations.

Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence.

When Apple first shipped the iPhone there was no such thing as apps. Apps, Steve decreed, were a bad thing because you never know what they could be doing to your phone.

Safari web apps were the way to go until six months later when Steve decided, or someone convinced Steve, that apps were the way to go—but of course.

Duh! Apple came a long way in a short time from Safari web apps to “there’s an app for that.”

That being said, if you are in the early stages of ideation, then check out this article –  What if someone steals my startup idea?.

Macbook Air design by Steve Jobs and Apple

“Value” is different from “price.”

Woe unto you if you decide everything based on price. Even more woe unto you if you compete solely on price. Price is not all that matters—what is important, at least to some people, is value.

And value takes into account training, support, and the intrinsic joy of using the best tool that’s made. It’s pretty safe to say that no one buys Apple products because of their low price.

A players hire A+ players.

Actually, Steve believed that A players hire A players—that is people who are as good as they are. I refined this slightly—my theory is that A players hire people even better than themselves.

It’s clear, though, that B players hire C players so they can feel superior to them, and C players hire D players.

If you start hiring B players, expect what Steve called “the bozo explosion” to happen in your organization.

Real CEOs demo and love their own products.

Steve jobs could demo a pod, pad, phone, and Mac two to three times a year with millions of people watching, why is it that many CEOs call upon their vice-president of engineering to do a product demo?

Maybe it’s to show that there’s a team effort in play. Maybe. It’s more likely that the CEO doesn’t understand what his/her company is making well enough to explain it. How pathetic is that?

Apple Magic Mouse

Real CEOs are good at shipping their products.

For all his perfectionism, Steve could ship. Maybe the product wasn’t perfect every time, but it was almost always great enough to go.

The lesson is that Steve wasn’t tinkering for the sake of tinkering—he had a goal: shipping and achieving worldwide domination of existing markets or creation of new markets.

Apple is an engineering-centric company, not a research-centric one. Which would you rather be: Apple or Xerox PARC?

Marketing boils down to providing unique value.

Think of a 2 x 2 matrix.

The vertical axis measures how your product differs from the competition. The horizontal axis measures the value of your product.

Bottom right: valuable but not unique—you’ll have to compete on price.

Top left: unique but not valuable—you’ll own a market that doesn’t exist.

Bottom left: not unique and not value—you’re a bozo.

Top right: unique and valuable—this is where you make margin, money, and history.

For example, the iPod was unique and valuable because it was the only way to legally, inexpensively, and easily download music from the six biggest record labels.

Macbook Pro laptop


When Steve Jobs saw the original iPod prototype, he rolled it around in his hands. He felt the weight and size of it.

Suddenly, he walked over to the fish tank and dropped the only prototype into the fish tank. “”There is too much empty space” Jobs said using the bubbles coming out as evidence.

The iPod prototype would have sold amazingly well. However, Jobs wanted to release the perfect product. The original 2001 iPod (which came after Steve Jobs’ pursuit for perfection) changed the course of history forever.

Perfect your craft

The level of craft that Jobs used in his design came from first design lessons that Jobs ever got, and he learned at the hands of his father. Quoting Isaacson:

“Fifty years later the fence still surrounds the back and side yards of the house in Mountain View.

As Jobs showed it off to me, he caressed the stockade panels and recalled a lesson that his father implanted deeply in him.

It was important, his father said, to craft the backs of cabinets and fences properly, even though they were hidden.

In an interview a few years later, after the Macintosh came out, Jobs again reiterated that lesson from his father: “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it.

You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood in the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

Jobs even rejected the designs of the original logic boards inside of the Apple II as the ‘lines were not straight enough’. Even though they were of no use to end user, he carried that quality all the way through.

Apple iPhone Red

Design counts

Steve drove people nuts with his design demands—some shades of black weren’t black enough. Mere mortals think that black is black, and that a trash can is a trash can.

Steve was such a perfectionist—a perfectionist Beyond: Thunderdome—and low and behold he was right: some people care about design and many people at least sense it.

Maybe not everyone, but the important ones.

Empathy & Focus

Mike Markkula–one of the first investors & grown-ups to work at Apple, and another father figure to Jobs wrote his principles in a one-page paper titled “The Apple Marketing Philosophy” that stressed three points.

The first was empathy, an intimate connection with the feelings of the customer: “We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.”

The second was focus: “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.” The third and equally important principle, awkwardly named, was impute.

It emphasized that people form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys. “People DO judge a book by its cover,” he wrote.

“We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software, etc; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; it we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.”

Your time is limited

He showed the world that life is too short to live someone else’s life. With every passing second, our time is getting reduced.

So, avoid the traps made by dogma, avoid the noise of others opinions and just listen to your own inner voice.

Follow your heart, your dreams with full courage and become what you want to. Everything else on this Earth is secondary to it.

Have the right team

Steve Jobs had the outlook that no business can be run alone, you need a team that could cover up your weak points and give productive results in all the situations.

For example: If you are good at development, but don’t know how to influence people- hire a marketing team!

In fact, he himself wasn’t a great computer engineer and accepted that Apple would have had no chance if he was the only developer. This is why he hired Steve Wozniak.

Not just this, he even emphasized on not counting the employees by number and appreciating them for their efforts towards the progress of the company. To understand how to get into the right team, check out our guide – How to Ace Job Interviews like a Pro.

Value people around you

If you value your people, they will give their time to you. That’s what Steve Jobs did. He valued his employees like his family and they gave him their time which helped Apple to get a grand success.

Favourite Quotes from Steve Jobs

Connecting Dots : You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.

You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever

Don’t Settle. Keep Looking.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.

And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.

Don’t settle.

As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says

Lessons to learn from Steve Jobs career

“My job is not be easy on people. My job is to make them better.”

“People Who know what they are talking about don’t need power point.”

“Innovation distinguish between a leader and follower.”

“If i try best and fail, well, I’ve tried my best.”

“Why join the navy If you can be a pirate.”

“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.”

Lessons to learn from Steve Jobs’ life

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

“If today was the last day of my life would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.”

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there” (From Steve Jobs Commencement Speech)

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”

The final epic quote of all time – “STAY HUNGRY, STAY FOOLISH”


  • The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do it.
  • A successful product is not something everybody needs, but something everybody wants.
  • The art of selling is the most important skill a businessman can possess.
  • Everyone can be an artist, if they are passionate enough about the things they make.
  • There could be hundreds of skilled musicians in a band, each one playing an instrument, but at the end it all come down to the person who plays the orchestra.
  • A person’s name and image can become the biggest brand a company will ever have.

If you like this article and am thinking of building your own business, then you have to check out 150 Free Resources for Startups.

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  1. What if someone steals my startup idea?
  2. 6 Myths about Starting your Own Business
  3. Have you heard of The Strawberry Startup?

8 Replies to “Lessons to Learn from Steve Jobs for your Startup”

  1. Great article.

    Steve Jobs gets a bad rap on the internet, but to me he is probably one of the most interesting people to ever live. All the qualities he had that made him great are the things I personally struggle with, which is why I admire and think he was truly brilliant. While he maybe wasn’t technically smart like Steve Wozniak or Bill Gates, he did understand people and he had an amazing sense of drive and purpose, and his vision for what his company needed was stronger and clearer than almost anyone else on earth. I want to be a Steve Jobs.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article!

      Like with any story there are many sides. Jobs had an ability to place the work above all else, feelings, relationships. It’s the price you pay for the products he had direct oversight of launching.

      His tactics produced results. For most of these workers their most important work happened under Steve Jobs.

  2. Steve really had only a fairly small circle of friends, as far as I could tell. I never made it into the inner circle, but he was never the CEO that would walk around at company parties and make pointless small talk to the employees.

    I know that he had really very close relationships with several of the people that worked closely with him at NeXT and Apple.

    1. There are so many questions that I would like to ask someone who worked with Steve Jobs in person before:

      What was the climate like at Apple?
      When you knew him, was he as intense as he is portrayed?
      Did you get a sense of him being someone that would change the world, did he have that aura?

  3. A Steve Jobs is someone who really isn’t interested in the money, but wants to build a great product. A great business.

    A Kevin O’Leary is someone who is after the almight dollar.

    So, just curious. Which one are you? Or are you both?

  4. I like this site because so much useful stuff on here :D.

  5. Victor Soderholm says: Reply

    I like this site because so much useful stuff on here : D.

  6. Me like, will read more. Cheers!

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