Steve Jobs as a Model in Business and Management

Many people forget that it takes more than a dream to make success a reality. Inspiration is a very important part of the life of a human being. Times do get tough. However, the stories of people who overcame immense adversity to become some of the most successful figures in the world serve as motivational focal points for many individuals.

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Similarly, the stories of multi-billion corporations that started from garages and studio apartments, as well as college dropouts who everyone thought would amount to nothing, are very inspirational to upcoming individuals in different facets of life. Apple Inc. is a company with one such success story. Its co-founder, the late Steve Jobs, is, without doubt, my role model in the business and management world.

Mr. Jobs overcame major challenges and extreme adversities in his life to become the CEO of one of the largest technology companies in the world (Lemke, 2007). Even after his death, his legacy lives on with Apple Inc. retaining its status as a technological giant in the world (Kahney, 2009). In this paper, I am going to analyze the story of Steve Jobs in a bid to establish him as my role model of choice in the business and management world and in life in general.

Mr. Jobs’ childhood was less than ideal. Born on February 24th, 1955, his biological parents, a teaching assistant from Syria, Mr. Abdulfattah Jandali, and a Wisconsin graduate student, Ms. Joanne Schieble, could not take care of him (Melby, 2012). They gave him up for adoption with instructions that his future parents should be college graduates. However, things did not go according to plan and the placement failed to go through.

The baby was placed under the care of Paul Jobs, a man who had dropped out of high school. The man had quit the coastguard after placing a bet with his mates that he could find a wife in 14 days. Paul was married to Clara Hagopian after ten days of his quitting his job. Steve Jobs was raised in a typical family setting. However, the community he grew up in was less than typical.

Silicon Valley, a 700-acre industrial park located on the Stanford University land, was developing fast (Kahney, 2009). The park offered an opportunity for private companies to commercialize technology developed at the university. Companies like the Lockheed Missiles, Space Division, and NASA Ames Research Centre surrounded Jobs’ life.

Similarly, technology gurus like Gordon Moore and William Shockley were available to Jobs at his childhood. In fact, even the people perceived as failures in that society were likely to be engineers. The surroundings notwithstanding, one thing changed the life of Steve Jobs at the age of six. A girl from across the street mentioned to him that the reason for his adoption was that his real parents did not want him (Elliot, 2012).

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Jobs did not take this lightly. The frantic efforts by his adopted parents to convince him that they handpicked him as their son were futile. From then onwards, Jobs wanted special treatment, a trait he carried with him to his deathbed (Jobs & Beahm, 2011). Jobs also developed reflexive cruelty towards some people. He had a lot of respect for Paul Jobs, the man who taught him to be an artisan.

One special trait that Jobs possessed was the ability to connect with engineers. He could understand them easily and this led to a realization by both himself and his parents that he was extremely bright. His parents tried very hard to help him maximize his potential. They enrolled him in good schools and kept teaching him new things (Isaacson, 2011).

However, Jobs did not like teachers. They thought of him as an arrogant troublemaker since he expected everybody to tend to his needs. His ability to connect with engineers got him into Hewlett Packard Explorers Club. Here, Jobs saw his first computer. At that time, he was quite passionate about working with technology. His exposure to a computer further increased his curiosity and urge. He made contacts at HP and could even ask Bill Hewlett for parts when he was building a frequency counter.

At age 16, Jobs was introduced to Steve Wozniak. The latter shared Jobs’ passion for technology and was only five years older than he was. When Wozniak came up with a hacking tool for the phone system, one that allowed them to make calls to places like the Vatican free of charge, Jobs suggested that they should sell the device (Elliot, 2012).

At this point, they had impressed other technology enthusiasts. As a result, it was easy for them to sell the device. They sold almost one hundred units before closing down operations after thugs robbed them at gunpoint.

It is clear that Steve Jobs did not have it easy. He faced challenge after challenge in his journey to success and at a very tender age. The challenges notwithstanding, he was not derailed from his vision and goals. Instead, the challenges catapulted him to greater heights (Mattern, 2013). The challenges he faced made him even more aggressive. It is a great character trait in business and management. I would like to learn this trait from the technology legend.

Resilience and the ability to move forward despite the challenges one is facing is a quality not found in many, although it can lead to great success. On the other hand, there are some negative traits to Steve Jobs, which I would not like to pick up. Arrogance and disregard for authority are self-destructive character traits that Steve Jobs possessed (Kahney, 2009). Similarly, it is impossible for everyone to treat you as special.

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In addition, it is important for human beings to find ways to deal with the emotional trauma they went through during their childhood. Steve Jobs did not deal with this trauma. Rather, he showed reflexive cruelty to some people. Although no person is perfect, it is important for people to pick up positive aspects of life even when trying to learn from their role models and mentors. One should identify the things they do not like about their role models and mentors and stay away from them.

Steve Jobs did not want to go to college. However, his parents pledged to give him a chance to possess a college education. Eventually, he joined the Reed College of liberal arts in Portland, Oregon. Considering that it was a private college, Reed was very expensive. His parents stretched their finances to put him through college. Nevertheless, Jobs showed very little appreciation. Although he regretted this move later in life, it was very insensitive and inconsiderate of him (Sheen, 2010).

Jobs did not last for long at Reed College. He concluded that he was wasting his parents’ money at the school and dropped out. However, the administration allowed him to stay on campus and attend the lectures that interested him. During this time, he lived a rather unenviable life. He walked barefoot most of the time and lived in a garage apartment that had no heat. He was also a consumer of LSD (Isaacson, 2011). Jobs then moved back home to commence his search for work, which was not a problem at all because of the tech boom.

As a result, he became one of the first fifty employees at Atari. Here, he conflicted with his fellow employees due to his behavior and abrasive personality (Kahney, 2009). It got to a point where people wanted him fired. In 1973, he quit Atari and headed to India in pursuit of enlightenment. On his return to the States, Jobs had learned the importance of intuition as compared to intellect in the development and success of an individual.

The Apple concept came to Jobs as he worked on an apple orchard in Oregon. Wozniak developed the first Apple product alone. Jobs contributed by offering his knowledge about the market and the opportunity created by a circuit board that his friend had designed in 1975. While Wozniak was mainly motivated by the love of technology in his innovations, Jobs’ main motivation was money (Elliot, 2012).

The two launched Apple Computer on 1st April 1976 with a capital of $1300. Jobs turned his family garage into a factory for Apple 1 circuit boards. The two partners shared the desire to develop a more advanced form of technology, but they knew that it would require more capital.

They attempted to sell the company but failed, prompting a former Intel millionaire to invest $250,000 and create a business plan that would move Apple to greater heights (Hunter, 2012). From this point onwards, Apple began an upward climb to success. The upward trend is still there to date. The two continued to produce quality products to suit the need of their clientele, a trend that is going on to date (Isaacson, 2011).

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Steve Jobs ran into trouble with the company he helped create. People were uncomfortable with his management style and his body odor (Elliot, 2012). In numerous occasions, Jobs used his position at Apple to steal the thunder from a new product. He also made a rushed decision for Apple to venture into the phone business that he almost sank the company. At some point, the board of the company decided to remove him as CEO of the entity. He came back as a consultant and later as CEO after a long legal battle.

The main reason why Steve Jobs is my role model in the management and business field, despite his numerous shortcomings, is his undoubted ability to learn from his experiences and surroundings. He also possessed the ability to identify business niches with ease. Such are great qualities in the management and business world.

It is also important to note the numerous times Jobs got up after fate knocked him down, not to mention the many times he went against the wishes of people in pursuit of his dreams. He brought a very entrepreneurial mind to the Apple Company. Such a mind sent is arguably the reason why Apple has flourished over the years and has achieved immense success in the technological world.

I disqualified Andy Wong of 3M Optical Systems from the list of my role models because the success of the company he founded is not close to the success achieved by Apple Inc. I also eliminated Ingvar Kamprad of IKEA from my list. The reason is that I feel the CEO’s position at Apple Inc. required more managerial skills than anything IKEA could offer or demand from Ingvar.

I disqualified Ian Telford due to the exploitative and cutthroat competition nature of the chemical industry he established. Sam Palmisano, in my opinion, could have done more with the IBM brand than he did. As such, Jobs overtook him as my role model. Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric has not achieved as much success as Steve Jobs in the management and business world. The above are the reasons why I disqualified the personalities from the list of my role models.

It is a fact that Andy Wong of 3M Optical Systems, Ingvar Kamprad of IKEA, Sam Palmisano of IBM, Ian Telford of Dow Chemical, and Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric are great individuals who have done a lot to be recognized in the business world. However, Steve Jobs is an individual who overcame adversity and the difficulties of life to emerge a victor. Therefore, in my opinion, he beats them for the first slot as my role model.

I have learned, from the Jobs story, that It is crucial for any business to uphold honesty, ethical standards, and transparency in its dealings. Such traits ensure continuity of the business and good relations between partners, employers, and employees. Steve Jobs was a phenomenal manager and a great influence about the success of Apple Inc. (Gregory, 2013).

However, it is important for managers not to let success or personal issues cloud their better judgment or jeopardize the operations of their companies. It is a lesson well inferred from the experiences of Steve Jobs. Overall, I view Steve Jobs as the best role model in the business and management world and life in general.

References

Elliot, J. (2012). Leading Apple with Steve Jobs: Management lessons from a controversial genius. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Gregory, J. (2013). Steve Jobs. Danbury, Conn.: Children’s Press.

Hunter, N. (2012). Steve Jobs. Chicago, Ill.: Heinemann Library.

Isaacson, W. (2011). Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Jobs, S., & Beahm, G. W. (2011). I, Steve Jobs, in his own words. Chicago, Ill.: B2 Books.

Kahney, L. (2009). Inside Steve’s brain: Business lessons from Steve Jobs, the man who saved Apple. London: Atlantic.

Lemke, D. B. (2007). Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and the personal computer. Mankato, Minn.: Capstone Press.

Mattern, J. (2013). Steve Jobs. New York: Children’s Press.

Melby, C. (2012). The Zen of Steve Jobs. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Sheen, B. (2010). Steve Jobs. Detroit, MI: Lucent Books.

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