Steve Jobs: Attitudes of Successful People

Be a yardstick of quality.  Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. – Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs is this months featured personality in our blog series, “Attitudes of Successful People“.


Steve Jobs is the co-founder and previous CEO of Apple, Inc., a multinational company that produced the world’s most innovative and best-selling computer and electronic products of all time, like Macintosh (MAC), iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and now the most recent, iPad.


Steve Jobs, together with his co-founders in Apple, Inc., produced and marketed the first commercial success of personal computer that has both hardware and software, way back in 1970s.

Steve Jobs is also the founder and former CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, a company revolutionized the animation movie industry by creating and producing the hit movies like Toy Story and Cars.  This company was later on acquired by movie giant Walt Disney.  Steve Jobs became one of the board members and the highest individual stockholder owning 7%.

Steve Jobs, however, had a share of difficult moments because after the initial success of Apple, Inc. in 1985, he experienced power struggles with the board of directors which led him to resign from the company and build a new one from scratch.  After leaving Apple, Inc., he built a new company named as NEXT, of which produces computer platforms and operating systems for business and higher education.

In a decade that Steve Jobs’ was not with Apple, Inc., his NEXT Company was a huge success, at the same time, he was also ripping success from his company, Pixar Animation Studios.

On the other hand, in the decade that Steve Job’s was not with Apple, Inc., the company was in a mess.  It was in financial crisis because of unorganized operation and unnecessary spending of top executives.  Apple, Inc. was closed to bankruptcy when they’ve decided to buy Steve Job’s nEXT company, and asked him to work for Apple, Inc again.

Steve Jobs was reluctant to go back and work for Apple, Inc. Because first, the companies he has put up outside Apple, Inc. were already successful, and second, he was skeptic about the future of Apple, Inc.   There was too much clutter and mess in Apple, Inc., he wasn’t sure if it is still repairable.  But, nonetheless, he accepted to be a temporary and interim CEO (iCEO) of Apple, Inc.

Steve Job’s come back to Apple, Inc. brought a new life to the company, it’s a mixture of excitement and fear, because Steve Jobs’ is known to have attitudes of excellence yet authoritative.  As for Steve Job’s, it meant more work and sleepless night, even sacrificing family time and even bathing.  He was juggling his time being the CEO of three companies with nEXT, Pixar and now, Apple, Inc.

The return of Steve Jobs was the biggest and wisest move of Apple Inc in a decade.  Steve Jobs was able to successfully reorganize the company, remove the clutter, let go of unimportant things and get focused.  Everyone thought Apple, Inc. is doomed, but with Steve Jobs back in top management, they were up for a big surprise.

In early 2000s, Apple, Inc. went back up to soaring higher grounds when it created a huge changed in the world, especially in the music industry, by introducing iPod and the online music store, iTunes.  The iPod is considered one of the biggest consumer electronic hit of all time which sold more than 300 million since its release in 2001.

Steve Job continued to change the game of the electronic-computer industry, and the way people do things, when he introduced the innovative touch screen smartphones named, iPhone, and the most current revolution in the computer innovations, the iPad.

Steve Jobs further proved his innovative and business geniuses when his distinctive designed products and marketing styles has created another world record when iPad  sold over a million copies on the first day it was released in the market.

Steve Jobs is indeed considered one of the most innovative thinker and marketer of our time.  He can be labeled as the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of our current time by the huge innovation and big difference he created in our world during his lifetime.

Steve Jobs has created a huge impact and difference in the world that no wonder when he recently announced his resignation as CEO of Apple, Inc., last August 24, 2011, the world was shocked, saddened and worried by the news.  Stocks were threatened because investors were worried how the Company will continue to grow without Steve Jobs.  Even its biggest competitors like Samsung and Sony were affected by the news because Steve Jobs became the innovator that set the trends in the computer and electronic industry.  And without him around, people start to wonder who will now set the trend?

Steve Jobs: Attitudes of Success

I’ve used to be really traditional and conventional.  I like learning and following rules, systems and formulas, I was used to living in the normal accepted form of lifestyle. I guess that’s why I’ve took Accountancy back in college and I’ve wanted to become Lawyer.

But my perspective changed when I was already in the mid-peak of my career as Professional Accountant.  I’ve came to realized that the world has changed and so should I.  I’ve came to realized that if I want to get ahead and succeed in our time now, I need to think out of the box and be innovative, I have to be unconventional.

When I’ve came to recognized this truth, I’ve decided to change my perspective and chose to let go of the traditional ways of thinking and doing things.  It wasn’t an easy thing to change my perspective, from being traditional to innovative.  And in those struggling days of change, I get inspiration from the success stories of innovative thinkers like Steve Jobs.

I’ve got to know his success story by watching the movies, Pirates of Silicon Valley and Triumph of the Nerds. And also by reading a biography book of Steve Jobs entitled, Inside Steve’s Brain.  For me, Steve Jobs’ unconventional, innovative, entrepreneurial and strong attitudes are important to learn, if I want to create success in my own life.

And in this article, I will enumerate those attitudes and why they are important in achieving success.

To start, Steve Job is a Buddhist and anti-materialist.  He is known with attitudes of narcissism, perfectionist, control-freak, elitist and taskmaster to employees.  But despite being seen as a person of bad attitudes, these traits and principles are also what guided Steve Job to launch killer products, attract fanatical customers and manage some of the most powerful brands and companies of all time.

The enumerated lists of attitudes written here are based on the study and personal interview of Leander Kahney, author of the book Inside Steve’s Brain.

Without further do, here is the list of attitudes and principles that guided Steve Job to his life and business success.

1. FOCUS: How saying “no” saved Apple?

The first important success attitude of Steve Job is focus.  He believes in saying no and letting go of many things in order to focus and act on few things that will succeed and bring more results.  Simplicity and focus are one of Steve Jobs mantras.  He believes that focus means saying no and also having the confidence to say no when everyone else is saying yes.

2. DESPOTISM: Apple’s One-Man Focus Group

The second important success attitude of Steve Job is being a despot.  According to Webster dictionary, despot means a ruler with absolute power and authority.  In short, he’s authoritative and dictator.  This attitude may appear negative to most people, but it has worked well with Steve Job which led him to make Apple, Inc., Next and Pixar Animation Studios, a huge and remarkable success.  Steve Job is very involved in the decision making process in every corner of his company.  His thoughts are regarded as very important, and people look up to him for answers.  Nothing will happen without his consent and approval.  Everyone has high regards to his opinion, although they may be harsh and straight forward.  He doesn’t believe in asking customers what they want, because he thinks customers don’t know what they want, you should show them what they should want.

3. PERFECTIONISM: Product Design and the Pursuit of Excellence

The third important success attitude of Steve Job is perfectionism. He has high regard for quality and excellence.  It has been the objectives of Apple, Inc.,

To provide customers with quality products that is well-designed and easy to use.

And to achieve that objective, it is a very tough and thorough process.  Steve Jobs is very particular in maintaining perfection in his products.  From the development, to the design, and up to how it will be presented to customers during the first launch.  While most people regards Steve Jobs’ keen to details as demanding and perfectionist, for others they see it as pursuit of quality and excellence.  Such is the secret of Apple’s great success in its product designs and functionality.

4. ELITISM: Hire Only “A” players, Fire the Bozos

The fourth important success attitude of Steve Job is elitism, which means, he only hires the best, talented and innovative people.  And then he fires all the bozos, people that are not as good enough.  Again, this is seen as negative attitude by most people, but for few, they see it as high regard to quality and excellence.

He believes that having the best and talented staff is a great competitive advantage that puts you ahead of the competition.  Steve Jobs prefer to work in a small team of talented people who are the best in their field.  And once he hires them, he invest with these people, so they will stay motivated working in the company.  He’s not emotional in firing people and having debates during meetings.  Because he believes that healthy arguments are effective to achieve quality and excellence. He despises “yes” men because these kinds of people will not poster creative and innovative thinking compared to debating people.

5. PASSION: Putting a Ding in the Universe

The fifth important success attitude of Steve Job is passion.  For him, passion is critical when trying to innovate and invent new technologies.  Without passion, you will lose faith, interest and persistence to work on your goals.  He also believes that it’s okay to be asshole, as long as you’re passionate about it.  He inspires people through fear and a desire to please, of which in turn, staff produces great works.

6. INVENTIVE SPIRIT: Where does the invention come from?

The sixth and last important success attitude of Steve Job is inventive spirit.  It is said that in history of business, the most successful companies aren’t the product innovators, but those that develop innovative business models.  And for Steve Jobs, he has both.  He believes that you can’t really predict exactly what will happen in the future, but you can feel the direction that we’re going.  Just try to spot those things and how they are going to be changing over time and which horses you want to ride at any point in time. You can’t be too far ahead, but you have to be far enough ahead, because it takes time to implement, so you have to intercept a moving train.

I hope our featured personality in our blog series, Attitudes of Successful People, has been another inspiration for you to find your own success in life.

I personally believe that every one of us has the opportunity to succeed and make a difference in our world, however, only few will do succeed, because only few are willing to do what it takes to become such person of success.

And my challenge for you is to be part of that few.  Life is too short to pass it by without even trying to create change and make a mark in this world.  You can start by learning and applying the attitudes of those who’ve already succeeded.  Stop limiting your abilities by pleasing unsuccessful people.  If you want to pursue success, you have to be firm in your success attitudes, values and principles.  Stick to them till the end.

For a final note, let me leave you this important success quote from Steve Jobs:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”


  1. Abdulrasaq Halimot Olaide says:

    This is so inspiring. Have been really lazy these days; can’t do any meaningful thing with my self. My exam results were not what I expected. This article just gave me the strength to loose away from my current state of lack of productivity . THANK YOU SO MUCH

  2. glad to hear this article has been helpful and motivating for your. 🙂

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