“You’ve got to find what you love. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly
satisfied is to do what you believe is great work and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you will know when you find it!”
–Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011
One man dies and the world stood still in honour of his deeds. How come? The answer is simple; he changed the world through the company he co-founded and the innovative products invented. Steve Jobs was no ordinary man nor was he an ordinary entrepreneur even. He was extraordinary, exceptional; the perfect example of what it means to be an unusual entrepreneur – he made his profits by being different and making a difference!
Steve Jobs is gone but left a big mark in the sands of time. He was truly an epitome of what this site stands for; unusual entrepreneurship – ordinary people who build extraordinary companies. I will miss him and so will the world. But beyond missing Steve, we’ve got a whole lot to learn from his life as entrepreneurs, some of these lessons are what I have tried to capture in this unusual article. There many more lessons to learn from his life as have been shared since his demise. Below are a few of my favourite ones;
As you go through this unusual article, I indulge you to read it with this question in mind;
“What will I be remembered for when I die?”
How Can Entrepreneurs Change The world?
To answer this question, I offer you two answers;
- Be different.
- Make a difference.
1) Be different.
To change the world, you must first be the change you seek to create in the world. The world is no respecter of persons who follow the crowd, who doesn’t have a mind of their own, who doesn’t challenge the status quo, who doesn’t dare the un-dared, who doesn’t attempt the un-attempted. The world makes room for the man who doesn’t conform. Steve Jobs was one of such people.
He was a nonconformist right from his college days at Reed College. He Dropped out of school at 17 after his first semester [6months] and choosing instead to pursue his curiosity. Why did he drop out? According to him in his famous Stanford Speech, he didn’t see the value of being taught subjects that weren’t of interest to him. So, he stayed on campus as a freelance student sleeping on the floor of his friends’ dormitory for an additional 18months dropping in on those classes that offered subjects that interested him.
Steve jobs dropped out of school to follow purpose. To him, life wasn’t about following the norm; it was about following your own path doing what you love even if that path seems to run contrary to the traditional path known to the world. Exactly 3 years after dropping out of college, in his parent’s garage, Steve Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak started the company; Apple and grew it into a 2billion dollars company with over 4000 employees under a period of 10 years!
What does it take to be DIFFERENT as an entrepreneur?
You can never be different until you’ve found that which you truly love to do. You can never become an unusual entrepreneur until you’ve found that which you truly love to do. You can never change the world until you’ve found that which you truly love to do. Passion is the first prerequisite for being different. Without passion, you are just as good as the rest. Passion differentiates you from others. Passion is the fuel for taking on the world!
But passion is not enough; you need to discover what you want to do with your passion [purpose].
Passion is the source of your purpose, for your purpose is hidden in that which you love doing. As humans, our purpose on earth is to make an impact with our lives by following our passion. We exist to discover, pursue and be fruitful doing only what we love to do. Your purpose is the extent to which you want to make a contribution in the world doing what you love – how far do you want to express your passion?
Being different comes with a price.
Passion is where your journey to becoming different begins, so let’s call it your passport. Purpose is deciding the direction you want to follow or destination you want to go, so let’s call it your visa. Persistence is the price you pay for embarking on the journey, so let’s call it your ticket. Without persistence, passion and purpose are useless.
Being different takes courage, it is not easy going against the norm or challenging the status quo. Seriously, it’s you against the world, and we both know how unfair the world can be. So unless you are prepared to hang on till the very end [persistence], don’t dare to be different!
Steve Jobs had his own share of troubles when he chose to be different. What else can be worse than being fired from the very company you co-founded? But that didn’t stop him, this is what he had to say about that;
“I was rejected, but was still in love!”
Rather than give in to defeat, he persisted doing only what he loved to do [passion] and eventually ended up creating two new companies; NeXT and Pixar Animations. As fate would have it, the very company that fired him, Apple ended up buying him back since their future in business depended on integrating the very technology Steve Jobs’ new company NeXT had just invented!
2) Make a difference.
To be different is the starting point of your quest to change the world, to make a difference is what it means to actually change the world. There is a gap between your quest to change the world and actually changing the world. That gap is about doing something that makes a difference the world!
That Steve Jobs dropped out of college after only six months is no big deal. Yes it made him different, but was he the only student who dropped out of Reed College at that time? No! Neither was he the first student to drop out of college, there are hundreds of students who drop out of colleges worldwide. So what was so special about Steve Jobs’ case?
His dropping out of college made him different from all others because his dropping out of college made a difference in the world through his invention of computer typography. If he hadn’t dropped out of college to follow his heart rather than wasting his time attending classes he didn’t like, he wouldn’t have had the liberty to drop in on other classes that interested him.
As it turned out, one of those classes he dropped in on as a freelance student after he dropping out was on calligraphy, where he learnt the skill of producing beautiful and artistic handwriting. This singular act was what made it possible for humans to be able to type in different fonts on computers today!
The Macintosh computer invented by Steve Jobs ten years after he dropped out was the first computer to offer users different typographies. Microsoft later copied this and integrated it into their Windows operating systems and today everyone can write on computers using various typographies.
The lesson here is very simple, that you are different does nobody any good unless you are making a difference with that thing which makes you different. In other words, let your personal uniqueness bring about some specific usefulness to others. This is what it means to be SIGNIFICANT!
The world doesn’t care about different people or unusual entrepreneurs who are just trying to be different for being different sake. The world beats a path to the door of those who are not only different [unique] but are also making a difference [useful].
What does it take to MAKE A DIFFERENCE as an entrepreneur?
Apparently, making a difference takes precisely the same thing you need to be different; passion, purpose and persistence but with a slight twist in application.
Here is what I mean.
Passion –whatever it is you love doing must be something that adds value to the lives of others. Meaning, your passion must be useful or your passion must make a contribution.
Steve Jobs’ passion was technology and his entire life was given to the pursuit of making a contribution in the world through the invention of technological products that made life easier for the human race!
Purpose –the extent to which you want to express your passion must be the driving force behind your business venture and not just profits. Meaning, you are in business because you want to express your passion through the creation of goods and services that will positively add value to the lives of people significantly. Why? Because great companies are not built on profits, but on purpose. Purpose is profitable –first add value and the profit follows almost automatically.
Steve Jobs’ purpose was to make a contribution in the world through technology. He was more concerned about how the products he invented would solve the problems plaguing humanity than how much money he would make. Do you know what his annual salary was? A mediocre sum of just $1 – one dollar!
Persistence –the price you pay for being different and choosing to make a difference must be sacrificial. Making a difference is not a thing you do at your own convenience, believe me, you will make more enemies than you ever bargained for. The man or woman who challenges the status quo is the chief enemy of tradition and the system will resist such a person vehemently.
Your persistence must be till death if you truly desire to make a difference!
Steve Jobs fought till death the good fight of bringing innovative products to life through technology. He lived every day of his life like it was his last. He believed that death is the single best invention of life. He saw death as an agent of change clearing out the old to make room for the new. From age seventeen  till his death, every morning he looks into the mirror and asks himself this simple question;
“If today were the last day of my life, will I want to do what I’m about to do today?”
Daily he reminded himself of the most important things in his life, his passion, purpose and family. To Steve Jobs, “remembering that you are going to die is the best way of avoiding the trap of thinking that you have something to lose because you are already naked so there’s no reason not to follow your heart”.
This was a man who worked despite his ailing health. He had pancreatic cancer, had undergone a major surgery and eventually died of cancer barely two months after he resigned from work.
Over to you
If you are reading this, chances are that you are the kind of person whom this site is created for – an unusual entrepreneur. I say this because it takes one to identify one. You can only be interested in reading about Steve Jobs because you were inspired by his life and accomplishments as an entrepreneur.
Well I have just two things to say to you;
1). It’s an honour to finally have you with us, we are a community of unusual entrepreneurs sharing unusual development tips that can empower ordinary people like us to build extraordinary companies like Apple. We have an unusual ebook written specially for someone like you; it is the ultimate guide for this unusual journey of your life –entrepreneurship!
2). Enter your full name and email address in the box below to grab your copy of this ebook and make sure you leave a comment behind in remembrance of one of us to whom we owe this post –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 result of other people’s thinking; don’t let the noise of other people’s opinion ground 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!”
–Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011