Steve Jobs: “People With Passion Can Change The World”
When I heard that Steve Jobs has taken a medical leave of absence from Apple, I thought about the role passion has played throughout his life and what passion means to today’s leaders.
Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after a 12-year absence from the company he had founded. Apple was close to bankruptcy at the time. Over the next decade Jobs not only revitalized the company, but turned it into one of the most important brands of our time. In those first months when the media was writing off the company as irrelevant and Apple employees/investors were not sure of the future, Jobs held an informal staff meeting. What he told his employees at the time rings as true today as it did then:
“Marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world. We’ re not going to get a chance for people to remember a lot about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what they want them to know about us. Our customers want to know what we stand for. What we’re about is not making boxes for people to get their jobs done. Although we do that very well. Apple is about more than that. We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. That’s what we believe.”
When I work with executives to help them communicate their brand stories, I use those words from Steve and I raise the question, “What do you stand for?” and “What are you passionate about?” Passion and inspiration cannot exist in the absence of the other.
I’ve met many individuals who are financially successful without being passionate about their jobs or their companies. But those who are truly “inspiring” are abundantly passionate. What are they passionate about? They are not passionate about their product, per say. They are passionate about what the product means to the lives of their customers. They are passionate about how their product or service improves the world. Steve Jobs is ultimately successful and inspiring not because he makes great computers, phones and MP3 players. He’s inspiring because he’s passionate about his customers and their ability to change the world using his products.
In 2005, Jobs gave a famous commencement to Stanford graduates and said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Remember those words because, as a leader, your best days are ahead if you remain passionate about your brand and its unique benefit to the world.
Carmine Gallo is the communications coach for the world’s most admired brands. He is a popular keynote speaker and author of several books including the bestsellers, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Follow him on Twitter: carminegalloApple, big picture, food for thought, great ideas, Great Minds, Steve Jobs