Story of two Steves: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
Figure 1. Photos of Steve Jobs taken from cover of book “Steve Jobs” by Walter Jackson
Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California. He was abandoned by his parents and was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs whom lived in Mountain View in Silicon Valley. Paul was a machinist and a Coast Guard and Clara was an accountant. Paul managed to instill interest and confident in Jobs life when he show his son how to take apart and reconstructed electronics. They would work on this hobby in the family garage.
While Jobs has always been recognize as a bright and creative thinker, his formal schooling years was quite messy. He was a prankster at elementary school and during fourth grade, his teacher had to bribe him to study. However, Jobs did so well that the school wanted to skip him ahead to high school but his parents disagreed.1
While enrolling in Homestead High School, he met his future partner, Steve Wozniak through a friend of Wozniak’s. Wozniak was a student of University of Michigan at that time. In an interview with ABC News, Wozniak told the story about why he and Jobs get along so well: “We both loved electronics and the way we used to hook up digital chips.” Wozniak said. “Very few people, especially back then had any idea what chips were, how they worked and what they could do. I had designed many computers so I was way ahead of him in electronics and computer design, but we still had common interest. …” 1
Figure 2. Photo of Young Steve Wozniak taken from landsnail.com
Steve Wozniak AKA ‘The Woz’ was born on August 11, 1950 in San Jose California. He had this attraction to electronics at a young age. Although he was never a great student, Wozniak had an affection for building working electronics from scratch.
During his short time at the University of California at Berkeley, He met Steve Jobs through a mutual friend. They became close friend and eventually paired up to form Apple Computer on April 1, 1976, causing Wozniak to quit his job at Hewlett-Packard. They use Jobs family garage to produce a new kind of product that was more user-friendly than the computers that were produced by International Business Machines (IBM) at that moment. Wozniak, the tech geek worked on the invention of products and Jobs, with his superb marketing skills was responsible for marketing.2
Upon Apple was founded, Wozniak introduced the Apple I, a so-called “Homebrew” design built primarily at Jobs’s place. With Wozniak’s knowledge of electronics and Jobs’s marketing skills, the two were well-suited to do business together and by 1983, Apple had a stock value of $985 million.2
Wozniak ended his employment with Apple in 1987. 2
Figure 3. Evolution of Apple Inc. logo
Brief History of Apple Inc.
In 1976, Jobs and Wozniak founded Apple with $1300 as the budget. 1st, Steve Wozniak worked on Apple 1, a computer without keyboard for a computer hobbyist club. They managed to sell 200 units for $666 each. After that, Wozniak began to work on the Apple 11, a better version of Apple 1 with improvement on functionality and design. It was released on June 5, 1997 at price of $1,298.00 for 4KB RAM and $2,698.00 for 48KB RAM. (Kimmy Powell, 2006). By the end of 1978, Apple became one of the fastest growing companies in the United States. In 1998, Apple went public by offering 4.6 million shares at $22 each which was sold out within minutes.
Figure 4. Photo of Apple 1 taken from apple2history.org
Figure 5. The Macintosh article taken from BYTE magazine in 1984
In 1984, Apple released The Macintosh model with $2,500.00 price tag. (Greg Williams, 1984). Initially, it was sold well but then it began to lose its momentum. After that things seems to be problematic for Apple. There were a few problems arise that caused Steve Jobs to leave Apple and founded NeXT software. In 2000, Steve Jobs made a comeback and was appointed as the permanent CEO of Apple. Since then Jobs had resuscitated Apple back to life. (John Laster, 2011). With that comeback, Apple had produced products that we all know and love today such as the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and MacBook. In 2011, Apple was voted as the most valuable company in the world leaving Microsoft and Google behind. On October 5, 2011, Apple Inc. announced that Steve Jobs had passed away because of pancreatic cancer. (Walter Isaacson, 2011). He was then replaced by Tim Cook until now.
Figure 6. Photo of Tim Cook, new CEO of Apple Inc. taken from appadvice.com
2. HOW DID APPLE INC. ACHIEVE THEIR SUCCESS AS A TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS?
Most of us would agree if I say Apple is among the biggest technology company in the world right now. It is in fact already on par with Microsoft, which is the other one company that is popular with tech-users. But what really fascinated me is how the company began from ground zero. It all began with one outstanding yet understandable, if carefully studied, mind philosophy of Steve Jobs; the power of simplicity. It has always been the driving force, the belief and the ‘religion’ of all the people behind Apple lead by the ingenious Steven Jobs Paul. It is shown in every single product that Apple has produced, beginning from the Apple I which was invented by Steve Wozniak (founder of Apple Computer with Steve Jobs) in 1977 to the latest products today such as the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and the Macs. But, Simplicity has never been the goal of Apple. It was instead the way of doing things which Apple saw as the best way. Of course, along with it came with a band of remarkably brilliant workforce, obsession towards very high standards and perfection in the smallest details. The success of Apple was also made possible by applying the elements of Simplicity.
Think Brutal: No, not that physically brutal. By this, Steve Jobs meant brutally honest. He made sure everyone that worked with him knew every single thought of his without any being kept. The result was people won’t have to guess what plans Steve Jobs has for the company thus making them more focus in whatever they do resulting in more productivity. Honesty is the key for success.
Think Small: Steve Jobs chose to work with small groups of smart people instead of large groups of people. Another translation of Simplicity in working. This type of group will deliver better result in decision making because everyone acts as a final decision maker which reduces the chances of any bad decisions. In other words, less fuss.7
Think minimal: The way Steve Jobs did things was by focusing at one thing at a time. Even if there is many things that needs to be settled at a time, he will try to deliver them all through one common idea. This will make sure that people get the idea of whatever that is being presented more effectively.
Think motion: Steve Jobs kept each of his duty in motion. Or at least he influenced people to keep in motion/pace in whatever they do. This is one of the important things that Steve Jobs is very sensitive to. Punctuation and discipline towards work. Even though there is still much time, he made sure that the job is done as quickly as possible because when there is excess time, you might just come up with unnecessary opinions.
Think iconic: Never overlook or underestimate the power of image. Whenever Steve Jobs had a new product to release, or presentations to be done, he always chose the best image to project their true idea or purpose in order to convince the audience effectively.
Think phrasal: Sometimes less is more and more is less. Other than using images to clearly describe its products, the perfect choice of words or phrases are also involved in branding. This is because Steve Jobs believe that long, unclear meaning choice of words are not necessary in naming products. Apple chooses the best words to describe its products. We can clearly see this either on Apple’s website or on the product itself.
Think casual: Apple has a very different culture of running business. It operates like it is a small company when it is actually a multi-billion dollar company. Everyone in Apple followed the term ‘de-formalize’. Steve Jobs believes that in order to achieve great success, they have to think big without acting big. Simply put, for them, creative ideas come from effective conversation. And effective conversation comes from a team that is brought close rather than everyone showing off suits and ties.
Think skeptic: Be selfish in expressing your ideas even though it seems that it is way too ridiculous. Steve Jobs was really stubborn when it comes to expressing his ideas. Instead of giving up when a person says that his idea is terrible, he consulted to other person to explain the logic in his ideas. Sometimes common sense is way too traditional.
Think war: There is absolutely competition everywhere. Even inside Apple. And sometimes when you really, really believe the logic and effectiveness of your own ideas, you just have to fight your way to make it a reality. Including the dirty way. That is why people have the ability to argue .
3. WHY DO WE CHOOSE APPLE INC. AS OUR IDOL?
Obviously, there are plethora of reason why people choose Apple as their idol. As we all already know from our readings or researches, Apple is run with a slightly different, and yet unexplainable way than other popular technology companies such as Microsoft, Samsung and etc. Simply put, there is something that makes Apple really desirable to people and better yet, always a step ahead from other competitors and rivals. Although the company actually started with Steve Wozniak’s decision on agreeing with Steve Jobs’ first unconvincing ‘blue box’ project (and without Steve Wozniak’s consideration, Apple won’t even exist), it is agreed to most people and of course, Apple die-hard fans that the foundation of Apple’s success comes directly from its ever popular second founder, Steve Jobs. We can basically conclude that if it wasn’t for the ingenious Steve Jobs, Apple won’t be as famous as it is right now. Steve Jobs was practically the main force of Apple. He reinvented the whole mobile concept and he was also responsible for all of Apple’s fresh and innovative ideas revolutionized in all of its products. Not only that, Steve Jobs also took Apple’s way of marketing its products in a whole new level that is totally different from other companies. All of this are clearly shown by strategies applied by Steve Jobs which positioned Apple where it is worth placed.
First, we can see this through Apple’s variety of exceptional products. Each and every products released by Apple are different from others in terms of functionality and physical looks. Starting from Apple II up until the iPhone and the iPad. And each of these new releases will always sparks the interest of customers to line up at retail stores, waiting for hours, just to be among the earliest to own them first. Next, Apple is the best example for us by looking through how it matures its business plan. At first, Apple started to be just another computer-selling company. Then, as the world enters a new era, so does the need of people towards electronics technology in order to complete daily tasks or office matters. Seeing the upcoming opportunity in business, Apple Computer Inc. started to expand towards electronic technologies and changed its name to Apple Inc. That is when the era of iPhones, iPads and iPods began. Many additions are also implemented in the devices’ software by adding more apps in the App Store, new updates in UI or interface and so on since they are also important in giving customers the satisfaction of using the devices. The strategy doesn’t end just there. Realizing that the company wouldn’t expand from just merely outlet stores, Apple opened its first 25 retail stores in May 2001. This greatly expands its mobile market not to mention attracting more and more customers. The opening of retail stores also plays a major role in succeeding Apple as it will give customers assurance of their devices’ warranty in case of any faulty or broken devices. Some accessories are also available in the retail stores which also greatly attracts customers in buying Apple products. Apart from upgrading its business from inside, Apple also received leverage from other company. Apple and Microsoft once made a mutual deal and the result was Microsoft invested $150,000,000 in Apple by selling its copyright of Microsoft Office software. Since Microsoft Office was the most popular and reliable documents-related software at that time, this deal benefitted Apple more because customers can get the Microsoft Office software and Apple’s hardware at the same time if they buy Apple’ MacBook. This proves that Steve Jobs is indeed a genius.
Next, Apple also created large jobs opportunity for people. Apple hired many software developers all around the world to develop apps that will be offered in the App Store. It also hired people with different expertise such as musicians, gamers and photographers to try out the apps and give valuable feedbacks that are substantial for further software development. The result was job opportunities for people and more fresh ideas for Apple. Other reason of why we made Apple Inc. as our idol is because the brilliant way of how the company is managed. Most technology companies today have several departments where any suggestions need to be agreed by all of them. But for Apple, the company only has one central executive committee that processes and approves any suggestions. The result is faster decision making and less unnecessary opinions. It is what makes Apple a step ahead from its competitors. The last reason why we made Apple Inc. as our idol, our inspiration because of the workforces’ ability to think different that is implemented in its product. Its ‘design DNA’. It’s what makes the company to be able to lead while others to follow. In other words, its ability to create a design that is worthy to be called its own or simply ‘authentic’ and ‘original’. And for already a couple of years and counting, it’s ‘design DNA’ has been a substance of duplication by other technology companies. Unless its competitors managed to come out with more attractive designs, Apple will continue to lead the electronics industry.
4. SUMMARY: WHAT VALUABLE LESSON I LEARNT FROM APPLE INC.
Apple shows us the importance of designing new products that meets the needs of the user, not the demand of technology. There are many technology firms think that brilliant technology are enough to sell their products. Apple took a different approach by combining clever technology with simplicity and ease of use. The iPod was not the first music player it was the first that can transfer and organize music. The iPhone also was not the first smart phone that include music player, web browser or email but most smartphones need you to be pretty smart to fully utilize them.
The second lesson from Apple is that smart companies should sometimes neglect what the market says it wants today. The iPod was thought to be a nonsense when it was launched in 2001 but Steve Jobs stands his ground and iPod became one of the most successful product. That is why sometimes we have to be different from others and when stay that way even if everyone look down on us because we might be right and will find success.
The third lesson that we learn from Apple is to “fail wisely”. The Macintosh was born from the unsuccessful production of Lisa, an earlier product that failed. The iPhone is a response to the failure of Apple’s original music phone that was produced in conjunction with Motorola. Apple learned from its mistakes and tried again with different approach. Its recent computers was based on technology developed at NeXT, a company that Steve Jobs set up in the 1980s that appeared to be failed but then acquired by Apple. The lesson is not to morn with failure but to tolerate it and learn from it.