First off let me simply say that this may spoil the movie, so if you haven’t seen it or really want to experience it, stop reading. Go watch it and then come back to this article after. The best part of the new Steve Jobs movie was not the business learning or the insane success of Apple, but that the majority of the movie was focused on the failure of Apple and its ability to adapt and survive. There were some underlying themes that only real entrepreneurs would catch, because they understand it better than anyone else.
1. Steve Jobs wasn’t an icon; he was a necessity.
In many of the years that Apple was a success, and even today, Steve Jobs seemed to always be the beloved figure behind the massive phenomenon that changed the art of computing forever. The reality was far from that in his own mind. While it seemed that he did have a god complex, it was a necessity to see such a shift in the way humans interact with computers and technology. His goals superseded his existence (as many of the people in the Third Circle feel), but also gave birth to the illusion that we are smaller as human beings than the things we are capable of. It can be powerful to have strong beliefs, but it can also be blinding to our very own existence. Steve himself learned in the later part of his life just how disconnected he was from anything not involving a computer.
2. He didn’t code, he wasn’t an engineer, and he wasn’t a marketer.
Steve Jobs certainly lacked skills even though he didn’t lack belief, and in many situations he showed his weaknesses (or some could say his strengths) by not understanding what it really took to create something. He didn’t connect with people, because he didn’t care about their limitations and lived in a self-created world where only his vision held his reality together. What he did particularly well was help advance people to see the world from his viewpoint, even if it was years ahead, and he did so by being a designer more than anything else. He didn’t design graphics, he designed ideas and what ideas could be to the future of people. Those around him brought this to life, but he didn’t care because he knew that he was the glue that kept the bond strong from start to finish.
3. He understood that emotions were a weakness.
Steve Job’s goal was never to be liked, but to make his vision of affordable computing a reality, which as a result led him to being very arrogant towards the inner workings of business. Every entrepreneurial venture eventually must transform into a business, but for Steve that meant changing how he acted which he didn’t care about. That arrogance didn’t cost him his job, but 10 years in between that could have been spent re-engineering the world. While the same emotionless approach allowed him to go back to the very top, it’s very important to note that being emotionless can come with great sacrifice and loss. A higher level of awareness is needed if you choose to take that road.
4. He valued himself above all.
While he knew that he never physically built anything himself, and the majority of his vision could never have come to life without other people building it; he also realized that none of them could do what he did, but he could easily find others to do what they did. He understood the power of his belief and the impact it had on his mission; there was never a time when, even when he was initially defeated, he gave into the idea that he was wrong. He knew that he would create anything he had to prove himself right. By doing so, he never accepted excuses and always moved forward. Most people mistake that for arrogance, while in reality a real entrepreneur knows that a lie, a mistake, or closing your eyes on something may sometimes be necessary in order to be able to fight for the greater cause. The belief we have is the key part of the successful road we will travel even if it’s 20 years later than we expected. Steve Jobs understood that and protected it, as he understood that mistakes were part of the process and needed to be buried so the focus could remain on creating solutions. Belief led to more solutions, and he understood that no one could or should be allowed to create doubt within him. He fought harder to prevent people from ever telling him he was wrong, and at the end he really wasn’t wrong; he simply was ahead.
5. Even Apple took 20 years to become the powerhouse it is today.
Once of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is to look at the outcome of a successful business, the perks, cash flow leverage, incredible branding and say “I wish my business was like that,” but often times we forget that even those things we notice didn’t happen overnight. They were exposed by the press overnight, because they became important enough. The reality is that no one cares about the struggle, and that’s typically why no one talks about it (and partly the reason why that’s the biggest thing we talk about at the Secret Academy). Even Apple struggled as a business, as a company and as a technology, for over a decade before it was steered in the right direction by being innovative again. It’s also important to note that many of the reasons why Apple failed was the lack of ability to innovate and instead focus on consumer demand rather than being the pioneer at shifting consumer behavior. Many of today’s businesses always focus on what customers want instead of what they can get customers to adapt to while innovating their industry. Innovation was truly the trademark of Steve Jobs.
With Jobs gone (RIP), Apple has suffered once more from its lack of innovation and its focus on using their massive audience and presence to cross sell new products for existing solutions. Apple became what it was because of the relentless pursuit of one man wanting to turn his vision and beliefs into reality. It was an eye opening movie and a very artistic representation of the great mind, or dark mind of one of the greatest entrepreneurial figures of all time.