My Favorite Steve Jobs “-isms”

By Tom Collins

SteveJobs-byJoiIto-viaWikipedia Full disclosure: I'm a PC.

I'm not directly a fan of Apple or its products (food for a different post, or ten), but I've always been a huge fan of Steve Jobs and the spirit of innovation he embodied. His life and work made lots of other people, companies, and products better.

Including me, I hope. So my tribute is simply to share a few of the Steve Jobs quotes that will always inspire me, or at the very least bring a smile to my day:

"It's better to be a pirate than join the navy!"

That one makes me grateful to Steve for showing us the true meaning of "business attire" (see photo above; cropped from image by Joi Ito via Wikipedia).

"Real artists ship."

There are many lessons embedded in that one, but it always reminds me of the story I came across in the book Art & Fear (affiliate link) about the pottery class, in which the teacher based the grades of half the class on the quantity of pots they produced, and the other half on quality. According to the story, it turned out that the students who focused on producing lots of pots, also produced the best pots.

Worrying about perfection doesn't help you approach it. Getting your hands dirty and turning out work does. My shorthand for the concept became, "Make lots of pots."

And finally, this longer quote on the nature of creativity, which I came across in Warren Bennis' book, Organizing Genius (affiliate link):

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people."

Get going. Learn stuff. Make stuff. Live. That way, you'll keep acquiring more of what Bennis called "experiential dots" that you can connect to inspire your next moment of guilty creativity.

Those are my favorites. How about you?

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  1. I really enjoyed your post, Tom. I’m going to bookmark it to return to later.
    My favorite quote attributed to Steve Jobs has to be this one:
    “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

  2. Thanks, Cokie.
    Love the quote you shared, too! I’d seen a couple of similar sentiments, but his choice of wording helps drive home his point (“misfits” … “push [us] forward” … “crazy enough” …).
    So I guess we should all be checking occasionally to see if we’re crazy enough, eh?

  3. Steve Jobs was a true original! Me – I’m bilingual (PC and Mac) and have been since we gout our first apple in 77. It was the first computer that I had not built.
    Steve, you will be missed

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