Steve Jobs was a beast. He created the beautifully designed, technological world we live in today. I was watching E! Pop Innovators last night while reading, Founders At Work, and it happened to be on Steve Jobs and I watched a YouTube clip on a friend’s facebook of Ashton Kutcher. So I watched the clip and read during commercials, I learned something important from all of them. (Remember, my multi-tasking skills are top-notch.)
1. If It’s Not Exactly How You Want It, Build It Yourself.
These products are beautiful and timeless. I admire Jobs’ ability to build what he believed in. I’ve had push back from people as we’ve designed our prototype and most recently (yesterday) had an angel ask us why we wasted the time/money building it ourselves and why not just buy it off the shelf? Could you imagine if someone had told that to Jobs & Wozniak? I knew at that moment that this angel wasn’t for us. He just didn’t get what we are trying to build and accomplish with our company. Nothing on the shelf is what I want, so I’m building it myself, because I know exactly what I want it to do and what the user experience will be like.
2. Never Stop Learning.
Just because I’m not in college doesn’t mean I’m not learning. Actually I’ve gained more knowledge and experience about life and business in 1 year than I did in my past 4 years in school. Because I travelled, met new people, sought out help when I knew I needed it, made mistakes, knew what I wanted, didn’t put up with crap, worked hard, learned how to listen (sometimes), harnessed my creative genius, stopped caring what other people thought of me, and I tried to absorb the experience of the people I surround myself with. The first chapter in Founders At Work, Max Levchin the co-founder of PayPal is interviewed. He talked about how his experience was, “a nonstop learning of things that I didn’t really know before.” I have found this to be true in my journey as well. I by no means am an expert in manufacturing, engineering, product design, marketing or business. Yet through this process of creating a piece of hardware from scratch I can definitely hold my own in a conversation or speak intelligently to others about any of those subjects.
3. Ashton’s Jobs-Inspired Speech
Ashton Kutcher plays Steve Jobs in the upcoming movie. (Creepster McGee because of their uncanny resemblance and attitudes in real life, see what I mean?)
Even Ashton’s recent Teen Choice Award Speech sounded a lot like a Jobs speech. (Maybe he’s still in character since the movie wrapped?) Either way he gave some good advice and bulleted 3 key take-aways that I’ll summarize very quickly:
1. Opportunity looks a lot like hard work
Things don’t just happen, you have to work for them. If you look at successful people in the world and think, oh…they just got lucky. You’ve already lost. Work hard at your jobs, they are stepping stones for your next job and your better opportunities.
2. Never Stop Being Sexy
“The sexiest thing in the entire world…is being really smart, and being thoughtful and being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you.” -Um…LOVE HIM.
3. Living Life
When you take a minute to look around at life and finally realize that everything around you was built by people no smarter than you, you can really begin creating and building the life you want to live in. The days of being told we have to fit into this cookie-cutter path of life: go to school, go to college, get a decent job, get married, have kids, raise those kids to do exactly what you did and then be old…those days are DONE. I was fortunate to have kick-ass parents that let me be creative, strong and fiercely-independent. They never told me I shouldn’t do something or that I wasn’t good at it. (except sing…my mom told me from a young age that I should never sing. That was painful to hear as an 11-year old Spice Girl fanatic, but I’m now thankful for the advice.) And as I get older I’m realizing how much I really don’t care what other people think about my life and that it is MINE, not theirs. Luckily, if they don’t like it they don’t have to live it.
I’ve always aspired to having a meaningful life, whatever that might evolve into. An enriched and happy life. I think a huge part of that is with being ok with where you are, but constantly painting a bigger and more beautiful picture as you grow. What life picture are you painting for yourself right now? If you don’t like what it is, dip your brush in the water and pick a new color! Have a creative, inspired and productive weekend all!
ps. I now sing whenever the hell I want to (seriously, just ask J) and I’ll never stop being sexy and neither should you.