Creativity and absolute genius are, perhaps, the two words that come to mind when we think of Steve Jobs. They say that, in his own way, he was the inventor of the 21st century. And it’s not just a metaphor. The way in which we work today, communicate and relate to the world we owe, in large part, to this genius.
He knew business success very soon. His professional career was meteoric from a very young age. Maybe that’s why he always said that neither success nor money impressed him nor were they his leitmotif to continue working. He made a dream come true. A dream that was snatched away by the old ideas and the big shareholders’ meetings. But Jobs never lost his visionary spirit. He never gave up.
Like many people with high creativity, Steve Jobs managed his whole life between success and frustration, between the new project -the one that nobody had thought before- and the search for a more transcendent life that made history. Next, we take a tour of his life.
His early years
Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco, in 1955. His biological parents were two university students who gave him adoption as soon as he was born. Fortunately, little Steve was adopted by a family that he always considered his true parents and that encouraged him and knew how to support everything since he was a child.
He attended school in California and later left for Portland to begin his university studies. His time at Reed College was characterized by his excellent qualities in terms of potential, which contrasted with his rebelliousness and lack of interest.
In 1974, Steve Jobs travels to India in search of a transcendental sense of his life and spent time at the Ashram of Neem Karoli Baba in Kainchi. He studied Buddhism at a Zen center in Los Altos, in the 70s. He maintained a close friendship with his Zen teacher, a friendship that would last his entire life.
His biographers affirm that Zen Buddhism marked his whole life and work. In 2005, during the conference that Jobs gave at the Stanford graduation ceremony, he said:
“For the past 33 years, I’ve looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were my last day, would I want to do what I’m going to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I have to change something. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There’s no reason why you should not follow your heart.”
During the decade of the 70s, Steve Jobs also joined the anti-cultural movement of his country and it was at that time when he experimented with psychedelic substances. Jobs used to say that this hustle and bustle with drugs was fundamental for the perspective of his own life and his vision of the future.
Steve Jobs and the first computers
His first job with computers was in Atari, where he met Steve Wozniak, the computer technician who later became co-founder of Apple with Steve Jobs. They were the perfect tandem. Wosniak’s genius as an engineer found in Jobs the business talent necessary to, between the two, create the project that would become an empire.
At the time they worked for Atari, computers were for the exclusive use of large companies and cost more money than a house. Wozniak built the first personal computer because he wanted to have one in his own home. And that’s where everything started.
Two visionaries who started selling the first personal computers from the garage of the house of Steve Jobs’ parents. Although eventually they ended up separating, together they managed to do incredible things.
“Revolutionary geniuses are not only those who build something different but also those who manage to sell it”.
The adventure of Apple
In the following years, Apple computers expanded in the market and the acquisition of a personal computer became increasingly necessary. Apple went public and things get complicated for Jobs.
In 1984, they designed the first Macintosh. An invention that marked a before and after in domestic computing, but that did not know how to commercialize. Apple had become big and the board of directors did not share the vision or passion of Jobs.
He was led to believe that Jobs’s genius of creativity and commercial vision were undermined by his character, demanding and perfectionist. Like all the great geniuses who have changed history, Steve Jobs needed a team that worked with the same passion, the same vision and the same transcendent sense that he possessed.
Finally, in 1985, Wozniak leaves Apple and a year later, Steve Jobs is removed from his executive duties and left without voice or vote in his own company. Jobs abandons Apple to continue his solo professional adventure. He creates the company Next and makes an incursion in Pixar, a company that produces graphic films by computer. His time at Pixar gave Jobs a great success and respect for his work.
Back in Apple
Steve Jobs returns to Apple in 1996, at a time when the company was behind technologically compared to Microsoft. Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy. The return of Jobs gives Apple a new address. Cancel all projects that were underway and regain control of your company. Steve Jobs was making history again.
Jobs then designs a new generation of innovative products, such as the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone. Established the standard for portable digital music.
In 2008, iTunes had more than six million downloads and more than 200 million iPods sold. In 2010, he introduced the iPad, the tablet system. In 2012, Apple becomes the best valued company in the world.
In an interview conducted in 2007 Jobs said:
“There’s an old quote from Wayne Gretzky that I love:” I patrol where the album is going to be, not where it has already been.” And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple. From the very beginning. And we always will.”
Perfectionist, passionate and with vision. These were his angels and his demons. His legacy is the fruit of a passion he never put on sale.
In 2003, Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that caused numerous health problems. Even so, he continued working until 2009, the year in which illness forced him to abandon his job. He died in 2011, at 56 years of age. Steve Jobs is buried in an unnamed grave in Palo Alto, California.
The slogan “Think different” was created when Steve Jobs recovered Apple, his company.
“This is for the insane, for the misfits, the rebels, the rioters, the round pegs in square holes, those who see things differently. They are not fond of rules and have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, you can agree with them, you can glorify them or vilify them, but what you can not surely do is ignore them. Because they are the ones who change things, those who drive the human race.”