Steve Jobs quotes that every company can learn from

Steve Jobs is one of my personal role models. He accomplished great things during his life and he played a pivotol role in designing revolutionary products. I often look to quotes of his for inspiration and guidance when it comes to my own projects and designs. I often find myself turning to these quotes to try to justify to a client why we should ‘Think Different’ and improve design even when it is challenging.

Here is a list of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes that I have found very relevant to start-ups and designers:

“Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

MORAL: Making products simple is important, but it takes time to make a complex product ‘simple’.

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”

MORAL: Ensure quality, never compromise and don’t be afraid to stick to your guns to ensure it.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

“In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”

MORAL: Product design is more than just what happens on the surface. It is the inner workings of a product that separates a good product from a crummy one.
When referring to a product ‘Design’, don’t just talk about what it is going to look like. Designing a product means picking apart the inner details of how it will work under the hood and how the user will experience the product… not just what the UI looks like.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

“Every good product I’ve ever seen is because a group of people cared deeply about making something wonderful that they and their friends wanted. They wanted to use it themselves.”

MORAL: Come up with new, innovative products. Don’t waste time asking users what they want. Understand their problem in depth and come up with a product that they will want to use.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

MORAL: Focusing a product is key. Say no to all the junk functionality that isn’t necessary.

“Sure what we do has to make commercial sense, but it’s never the starting point. We start with the product and the user experience.”

MORAL: When designing a product, don’t start by focusing on where the profit will come from. Focus on making a great product first and then worry about your profit margins.

“There is a classic thing in business, which is the second-product syndrome. Often companies that have a really successful first product don’t quite understand why that product was so successful. And so with the second product, their ambitions grow…… they fail.”

MORAL: Understand in depth why your most successful project was successful. Make your other projects use that same mechanism of success. Know that just because your first product was successful, you are still vulnerable. Take the same careful thought in designing your second product that you did when you designed your first one.

““In most businesses, the difference between average and good is at best 2 to 1, Like, if you go to New York and you get the best cabdriver in the city, you might get there thirty percent faster than with an average taxicab driver. A 2 to 1 gain would be pretty big. In software, it’s at least 25 to 1. The difference between the average programmer and a great one is at least that. We have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world. And when you’re in a field where the dynamic range is 25 to 1, boy, does it pay off.”

Moral: Make sure you take great care and are super selective during your hiring process. Hire GREAT developers, not just good ones and it will save you huge amounts of time and money in the long run.



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