Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ’12 Rules of Success’

Steve Jobs went from being an unemployed college dropout to becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time. And he did it thanks to these “12 Rules to Success”:

  1. Do what you love to do. Find your true passion. Make a difference. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
  2. Be different. Think different. Better to be a pirate than to join the navy.
  3. Do your best at every job. Don’t sleep! Success generates more success so be hungry for it. Hire good people with a passion for excellence.
  4. Perform SWOT analysis. As soon as you join/start a company, make a list of strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your company on a piece of paper. Don’t hesitate to throw bad apples out of the company.
  5. Be entrepreneurial. Look for the next big thing. Find a set of ideas that need to be acted upon quickly and decisively and jump through that window. Sometimes the first step is the hardest one. Just take it. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
  6. Start small, think big. Don’t worry about too many things at once. Take a handful of simple things to begin with, and then progress to more complex ones. Think about not just tomorrow, but the future. Put a ding in the universe.
  7. Strive to become a market leader. Own and control the primary technology in everything you do. If there’s a better technology available, use it regardless of whether or not anyone else is using it. Be the first, and make it an industry standard.
  8. People judge you by your performance, so focus on the outcome. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. Advertise. If they don’t know about it, they won’t buy your product. Pay attention to design. We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them. Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
  9. Ask for feedback from people with diverse backgrounds. Each one will tell you one useful thing. If you’re at the top of the chain, sometimes people won’t give you honest feedback because they’re afraid. In this case, disguise yourself, or get feedback from other sources. Focus on those who will use your product – listen to your customers first.
  10. Innovate. Innovation distinguishes a leader from a follower. Delegate. Let other top executives do 50% of your routine work to be able to spend 50% your time on the new stuff. Say no to 1,000 things to make sure you don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. Concentrate on really important creations and radical innovation. Hire people who want to make the best things in the world. You need a very product-oriented culture, even in a technology company. Lots of companies have tons of great engineers and smart people. But ultimately, there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together.
  11. Learn from failures. Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
  12. Learn continually. There’s always “one more thing” to learn.
    Cross-pollinate ideas with others both within and outside your company. Learn from customers, competitors and partners. If you partner with someone whom you don’t like, learn to like them – praise them and benefit from them. Learn to criticize your enemies openly, but honestly.

So, how many of Jobs’ rules to success do you agree with? Any others you might like to add? We’d love to know what you think in the comments section below.

Source: Steve Jobs: The Journey is the Reward by Jeffrey S. Young

17 thoughts on “Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ’12 Rules of Success’”

  1. These are a fascinating reflection of who Steve Jobs is and his results. It says to us all that in setting standards with accountability holds us all to task. Not yeilding to life, pressure, past, or future, just staying on task will render the value we expect.

    Insite into the drivers make the trip more understandable.

    I would add the following:

    Do everything you do as a contribution not as a revenue. Giving as part of ownership makes the effort less than the reward.

    Gerry Poe | CEO

  2. I love the quote “be a yardstick of quality”, I think it is very important to remain focused on your goals and accomplish every task. Be known as reliable! And as you said, saying “no” is a big component of that. If you say “yes” to everything workers or customers ask of you, you will quickly become overwhelmed and not complete what you promised you would do.

    Great article!

  3. Francine Schwartz

    “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” I love this, because it speaks to art, to technology, to the combination of the two. It speaks to something as ‘everyday’ as a beautifully presented meal, which tastes good and is healthy. And it speaks to the elegant, efficient objet d’art called MacBook.

    All of his points resonate. The idea of being a pirate rather than joining the Navy, for instance. Which takes courage and demands integrity–expressing your opinion on whether something is good idea or a bad one, in spite of what others, even your superiors, may say. Because that’s when you really care about the product or the service. And that’s when your participation on a team or in a company really means something.

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