Steve Jobs was a remarkable person. Like many, I have studied his career for years and been amazed at what he achieved, in such a very short time.
Today’s post looks at one element of Steve Jobs’ work, which is often quoted by small business owners, yet has no foundation in fact. I think you may find it surprising too!
It’s not Steve Jobs’ fault
I was prompted to write this after receiving an email from a reader, who decided to do zero research before starting a new business. She failed to gain a single customer. Here’s an excerpt from what she said, used with her permission, anonymously.
‘It seemed like a good idea at the time, so I launched it without any planning or research. Steve Jobs never did any research. I thought if it worked for Steve it would work for me. It didn’t!’
Have you spotted the often quoted, incorrect assumption from that quote? It’s that totally incorrect faux-fact that Steve Jobs never did any research. This is absolutely incorrect.
Allow me to explain.
Going with your passion
It makes perfect sense to go with your passion in business. If you get an idea for a product or service and you think it stands a good chance of succeeding, do it! My own business was started that way and I know the same is true for many of the business owners reading this.
Steve Jobs was exceptionally passionate about his work and it shone through everything he did. In fact, people who worked with him often refer to his ability to create a reality distortion field, where he was able to convince them of almost anything he believed in.
Passion is essential. However, to ‘just do it’ as Nike say, and start a business or launch a new product without any planning or research, is extremely short-sighted. This is why someone as intelligent as Steve Jobs would never do that.
That’s right, Steve Jobs knew the value of research and planning. He didn’t become super successful by accident.
Steve Jobs, research and planning
Steve Jobs was the most interesting, fascinating and least understood businessperson I have ever studied. I firmly believe he was a genius and I don’t mean a genius in the, ‘everyone’s a genius’ kind of way. Jobs was truly exceptional.
Now, his approach to business was indeed pragmatic, however, he did indeed invest in research. No, not as heavily as some of his competitors, but in his last year at Apple, Apple invested almost $2Billion in research and development.
I bet that’s the first time you heard of the billions Apple Inc. invested annually, in R and D?
Why? Because it gets in the way of a better (fake) story… the idea that a company can become the most valuable in the world, on the hunches of one man. Steve Jobs knew his own (brilliant) mind and was an exceptionally good decision maker — one of the best if not the best. However, to suggest, as many do, that he did no research and just launched into projects blind, is incorrect. Even a genius appreciates the value of planning, research and development.
If you have an idea for a product or service, go for it. As Steve Job’s said, ‘real artists ship’! Just make sure to do the research and planning, first.