Apple is one of the most important brands in the tech world. But no one would know the name, and no one would have an iPhone if it weren’t for one man: Steve Jobs.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: So, I am a huge Apple fan. I think Connor and I have nerded out on this before. I’ve just, I love everything they do. I love my MacBook Pro, I love my iPhone. Like to me, everything Apple does is fantastic. And I know there’s been some controversy over whether the privacy is, worked or not, but I actually tend to think Tim, I think his name, what is his name?
Emma: Tim Cook.
Brittany: Tim Cook. I almost said, Tim Pool. That’s someone else. He’s a great that’s one else.
Emma: Different Tim.
Brittany: Different Tim. So, Tim Cook has been really good in the past at actually standing up to government surveillance. I don’t know if that’s still true, but I know he at least was. Well anyway, so I kind of wanna honor Apple products today by talking about the man who made them possible. And that was Steve Jobs. And you might know him from the black turtlenecks he used to wear and the really nice glasses. But he’s a real hero of mine and he is of course the founder of Apple. He’s also kind of a pioneer, and I say kind of, but no, he was a pioneer when it comes to, you know, smartphones like the iPhone. changed the way, at least the American market looked at cell phones. You know, I remember a time when having a hot pink razor phone is what they called that made you cool. And I also, oh yeah. One called a sidekick that was like, the size of a brick, and Oh yeah. Ridiculous. But you were like, so cool if you had one, and then here comes the iPhone. It was a touchscreen. Like this was the future. And I think it was 2006 or 2007 when it came out, but it was, I mean, that was a game changer. And phones were never the same again. So, so let’s like dive into this, but before we dive in, I wanna mention one thing that is truly spectacular about Steve Jobs and that is that he started innovating computers at a time when technology like this was fairly new. In fact, like, prior to him getting involved, it just like a couple, like a decade or two before he starts, you know, apple computers were so big, it took an entire room for them to fit in. People didn’t have computers in their homes. That wasn’t a thing, right? So when computers became small enough to fit on a desk, this is huge. Like this is, you know, a game changer. And I always like to think about what people thought of, like our grandparents when they were used to computers being a thing that only. Yeah. Had to, oh my goodness, we have a computer in our home. So just keep that in mind. That kind of sets the stage for, you know, what we’re talking about. But even when he was around, and Emma, you’re a little bit younger than me, but you might remember how big the old Macintosh computers were. Yes. They had green and black screens. There was no color. So yeah, they did fit on a desk. They were still big.
Emma: My grandparents had one of those, they actually still have it in their garage Really? The other day. It’s probably, I think it’s the biggest computer I’ve ever seen. It’s massive. It’s a brick. But at the time it was a huge deal to have them.
Brittany: Yep, exactly. And it was like if you if the kids today that are listening were to see these computers like, they would laugh. They would, it’s like looking at caveman drawings, right? You just think like, what is this? So, you know, like many geniuses and innovators, let’s talk about Steve himself for a second. Steve was a perfectionist and everything had to be just right. So much so that people didn’t like working with them. And I think one thing we’ve noticed as we’ve talked about our entrepreneurs and our heroes that we look up to is a lot of them are what’s called eccentric, which means they’re a little weird and sometimes they’re a little difficult to work with. In fact, I would argue some of the most incredible geniuses who’ve, you know, invented all these innovations are kind of hard to work with. So when things didn’t go his way, he’d often get angry and he was never afraid to show it. But, you know, it was this demand for excellence that paid off, right? It made him what he was and he wouldn’t have achieved all this success and this excellence if he didn’t fail before he got things right. So I think that’s an important lesson that we’ll touch on a little later.
Emma: Yeah, for sure. And I think another great takeaway from Steve is that he really demonstrated what it means to innovate because he excelled at taking other people’s existing ideas and basically making them better. so one of the reasons he was able to make his take on certain products so successful is because he was really good at marketing. And there’s this 1984 Apple commercial that we’re gonna put in the show notes today that really shows this. And 1984, you know, you might have heard of the book 1984, but it’s a dystopian world and we’ve talked about that before. And Apple was basically showing people how they could break away from that world. And basically, he was comparing Apple products to sort of the other computers, the existing technology. And now that we know a little bit about what made him great, we’re gonna talk a bit about how he achieved that success because he is someone who not only is respected in the technology world but also in the business world. Yeah. He’s looked up to as one of the best businessmen to ever live because he had this technical know-how, he knew how to innovate these products, but also, like we just talked about, he was this marketing genius. So Steve was adopted when he was a baby by Paul and Clara Jobs, and he was raised in a place called Silicon Valley in California, which got that name because it is the tech center, basically this huge bubble of tech innovation. So it’s where Facebook and Google and tons of other huge companies started. And Steve was fascinated by technology from an early age. And when it came time for college, he moved to Oregon, which is where I grew up. Oh, that’s right. So he loves Steve Jobs in Oregon, but, this is my favorite part. He actually dropped out of college. And we’ve talked many times about this before, but college is not for everyone. And both Steve and Bill Gates, the guy responsible for Microsoft, dropped out of school when it wasn’t serving them. So Steve Jobs was only in school for one semester and he found himself fascinated by other areas like Eastern philosophy, and the desire to understand himself and the world around him. And he moved to a commune in Oregon, which is, it’s basically like a little community where people, share. It’s interesting. It’s kind of like, if communism was just like on a really voluntary, really small little voluntary level. I’m not gonna endorse communism there.
Brittany: No. Or commune. Some of them are weird
Emma: Well, yeah, totally. Some of them are super weird. My grandparents actually lived in a commune for a little while. That’s where my mom was born.
Brittany: That’s so funny.
Emma: That’s pretty crazy. So maybe they were all on the same commune cause it was around the same time. But anyway, communes are basically where people, they grow food and they kind of like share the workload together and live in a small community. So that’s kind of where Steve Jobs began, his explorative journey. And it eventually took him to India in 1974. And while he was there, he came to fully embrace Buddhist philosophy, which is basically, it’s an Eastern philosophy. It’s a religion that is very much focused on like, achieving, how do I say this? Achieving.
Brittany: Enlightenment is almost like getting up.
Emma: Enlight, yeah.
Brittany: Materialism. And, you know, I, it’s, very hippyish but It’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful religion.
Emma: Yeah. Yeah. There’s some great principles that you can take from it, even if you’re not gonna become a Buddhist. Oh yes, exactly. yeah, a big part of understanding Steve Jobs is knowing how much he valued Eastern philosophy and spirituality. So his beliefs were actually a key factor in how he ran Apple and eventually took the world by storm.
Brittany: That’s right. And he was always very insightful in looking to improve himself. And I think that’s a big thing about Buddhism. You’re supposed to like look within and Yeah. And improve yourself. So he was always asking himself, how can I bring value to the world? And, you know, the ways that he could, the way he was, you know, gifted and talented. And this is extremely important cuz this is a theme we’ve talked about goodness, like, time and time again, right? Is that by creating value for others, you’re not only providing for yourself cuz you’re making money from that, but you’re serving consumers and this is a key ingredient of the free market. So another really cool thing is, I’ve talked a lot about Joseph Campbell and this idea of what we call a hero’s journey. And I think Steve Jobs really exemplifies us or demonstrates this cuz you know, in a hero’s journey, the main character and you know, we’re all the main characters in our own story, but they have to leave the world behind they know in order to become like a better version of themselves to go learn about themselves. And I think that’s kind of what happened when Steve went to India, right? He found himself he tried to better himself and he took these ideas, his spirituality, ideas that we were talking about, and he brought them back to Silicon Valley and he learned how to incorporate them into his personal life. So he practiced a lot of, or I said meditation, meditation, which is something I do every day. And I know that it’s helped me, you know, become more creative and, really center myself on my work. So I totally understand that. So he gets really into meditation and that helps him really focus on what he’s doing. And when he was facing deadlines and, you know, the pressure, cuz can you imagine how much pressure there, when you’re, you know, the head of something like Apple, this ability to focus became really important to him. And this, you know, spiritual mindset allowed him to take an idea in his and then go after it, and then do everything in his power to make it happen. A lot of these spiritual people call it like, manifesting your dream, like really believing you can do it and visualizing it. So he was really good at that. And this became a really master tool for him in his, you know, entrepreneurial mindset and his journey and, you know, his journey, when he left India to find himself, you know, he had to learn how to overcome all these mental obstacles to understand what he wanted to give the world. And he asked himself a lot, what can I create to help my fellow human? And I really like that because yeah, his vision was not just about innovation and understanding entrepreneurship. He wanted to connect to other people and inventors are our true heroes of our reality because they bring value to us that, you know, we never even understood we needed. Which I think is very interesting and Steve Jobs foresaw this you know, the belief that technology was gonna help build a human relationship. And look, look at, you know, Facebook now look at social media for all its faults, they’ve brought us together closer as a world.
Emma: Totally. And created entire new economies have popped up thanks to Yes. All of us are being connected through the internet and specifically being able to walk around with our computers in our pockets. That has just completely changed. So many industries changed marketing and all of that. So we’ve talked about specialization before, and Steve Jobs really relied on people who had different expertise than him to make his dreams become a reality, which is a really good way to look at that. he met up with his longtime friend, Steve Wozniak. Am I saying that right?
Brittany: I think you are saying it right. Yeah. Wozniak.
Emma: Okay. I think that’s right. So Steve Wozniak had a knack for understanding both computer hardware and also the software that went into it. So, if you’ve ever heard of hardware versus software, hardware is basically the physical aspect of, the technology and the software is like the programming that makes it work. Yep. so that led him to create a personal computer for himself. And when Jobs was visiting him one day to check out the hardware, something clicked. And when the skeptics told him that he couldn’t do what he envisioned, he never let it stop him. too many people told him no one needs a computer in their home. No one will ever see a movie without live actors who needs a thousand songs in their pocket. The iPad is just a big iPod touch and it has a stupid name. But he did it anyway. And he had this vision and it all started when he was, you know, talking to his friend and saw the computer and look at what Apple became today, he made it happen.
Brittany: Absolutely. And you know, sometimes he failed, as we talked about. In fact, he invented one of the and not one of the first pocket computer, it was called the Newton. And it failed miserably. In fact, there is a somewhere in Europe, I can’t remember where Connor had an episode about it a long time ago. There’s something called the Museum of Failure where there’s all these products that failed and it’s honoring those products and the Newton is in there. Wow. So the cool thing about Newton is even though it failed, it helps lay the foundation for the technology that would later make the iPhone possible. So, there’s another link that I will put in the show notes that is all, there’s, it’s five most failed Apple products, and I think it’s really interesting to see that. so I’ll put, we’ll link that, but Steve believed above everything else that you didn’t have to be the first person to invent something. You just had to be the best. So, the product itself wasn’t enough, though. He wanted people to feel like they were a part of whatever gadget it was. He wanted them to feel connected with it. You know, the computers he made in the nineties were very colorful. They were these big colorful machines and, you know, users would pick the color that reflected who they were. There was orange, there was blue. I remember. Like, I didn’t have one, but I wanted one so badly. So yeah, this was just one way he kind of made that happen where he was making the hardware connect with the, you know, the consumer.
Emma: Yeah, totally. I wanna read a quote from him that I really love. Steve Jobs said, when you grow up, you tend to get told the world is the way it is. And your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun and save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that you’ll never be the same again. And just because he was a genius doesn’t mean that he wasn’t flawed. Like, as we mentioned, he demanded perfection. He had a huge temper when he felt that things weren’t going to his standards. And there was one employee whose job was to just babysit Steve when his temper got out of control. But I actually like that aspect because it shows you that our heroes aren’t perfect. All of us are flaws. All of us have problems that we have to work through and that we have to work our way around sometimes. But all of the great innovators of the world are no exception to that. So if anything, it’s actually pretty inspiring because a lot of the times, and we’ve talked about this so many times, people who succeed and who have these amazing life accomplishments, a lot of the times they have quirks, they have flaws. Yes, they have hard stuff that they go through, but they learn how to work through it. And I actually think that learning how to work through that stuff is part of what makes them so amazing and so successful.
Brittany: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. So, you know, to wrap it up a little bit, so Steve died in 2011 after a battle with, is it pancreatic? Is that how you say it? Pancreatic cancer. Yeah. But you know, his legacy obviously still lives on. I think a lot of us have iPhones in our pockets right now. So Steve had this rare ability to see into the future and anticipate what consumers wanted before they did. Nobody knew they needed or wanted an iPhone. Right? Nobody knew that until he came up with it. And all of us were like, oh my goodness, what was our life like before we had the world at our fingertips? So his commitment to excellence, you know, mixed with these great marketing skills, allowed Apple to become what it is today. And I, wanna wrap up, before I kick it back to you, Emma, I wanna wrap up with a quote that I really love and I think it rings true given how his life ended Your time is limited, he once said, so don’t waste it. Living someone else’s life.
Emma: I love that. That’s a good quote. That’s a good one to remember day-to-day too. we’re gonna wrap it up here guys. Thank you so much, Brittany, for chatting with us. I’m glad we got to talk about Steve Jobs today. I know he means a lot to you and also something I wanna mention is we have a book called The Tuttle Twins Guide to Inspiring Entrepreneurs. And Steve Jobs is one of those. So if you liked this episode and you haven’t heard of that book, we’re gonna link to it in the show notes. That would be a great one to check out and maybe read if you’re interested in learning more stories like this with more inspiration from awesome entrepreneurs. So thank you guys for listening. Thank you, Brittany, for chatting with me and we will talk to you all later.
Brittany: Talk to you later.