How Steve Jobs Transformed Failures into Success

The Founder’s Failure

Apple was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, but little did he know that a decade later he would be sacked from his own company. In 1985, Jobs was forced to resign from Apple by then-CEO Jon Sculley because they thought that the company needed to shift gears on the policies driven by Jobs.

By the time he was 30, Jobs was devastated and didn’t see his future anywhere in the tech-world. Back then, he held 11% of the company’s shares, which he sold out all at once. He had completely parted ways from Apple and had moved on from the only business he’d ever known.

Soon after Jobs sold his shares out of spite, the prices soared almost 7% with the news of his dismissal, adding more bruises to his injured fame. That was an absolute failure for a man who designed and invented the Macintosh, which, regardless of its weakness, was one of Apple’s greatest products that led to its success in the Silicon Valley.

It was in 1997 – 12 years later his dismissal – when Jobs’ fate opened doors for his come back and he was re-appointed at the company. He took Apple’s fate and completely revolutionized the way the world consumed information with its technologically advanced personal computers and handheld technology. Within no time, Apple became one of the biggest businesses in Silicon Valley.

Jobs’ vision was so strong that even after his demise nearly a decade ago, Apple is constantly breaking the records and holds the title of the world’s first trillion-dollar company. But what he did in those 12-years after his dismissal that his company had to re-appoint him? That’s where the lesson is hidden; a lesson about how he transformed his failure into success and became a legendary businessman forever.

The Journey between Failure

Although he was dismissed from Apple, he hadn’t lost yet. He used his setbacks as stairs and founded another company the same year he was dismissed from Apple – in 1985. His new company, NeXT, manufactured and developed a series of computer workstations primarily for the business market and higher education.

A breakthrough came when Ross Perot, a billionaire business magnate, invested $20 million in Jobs’ company in exchange for its 16% market shares, after seeing a segment about NeXT on a 1986 PBS documentary titled Entrepreneurs.

NeXT later provided funds to Pixar Animation Studios that escalated its growth. Soon Jobs became the chairman of Pixar where he also served as an executive producer of the renowned computer-animated movie Toy Story.

Jobs became Disney’s largest individual shareholder and a member of its board-of-directors with 7% of shares under his belt. Although he didn’t invest a lot in the company after that, he is often credited under “Special Thanks” during the credits of Pixar’s films.

In 1997, seeing the success of Steve Jobs, Apple acquired NeXT in exchange for its 1.5 million shares along with $429 million dollars – the same company that had abandoned Jobs 12 years back. Not only that, but Jobs was also promoted to the role of senior advisor at Apple, with a promise to incorporate NeXT’s operating system to Macintosh hardware to combine the applications layer of Mac OS and yield OS X.

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter into one of the most creative periods of my life”, said Jobs.

This shows the brilliancy of a genius who didn’t have anything in 1985 when he was fired; he had even lost his shares. But he had one thing: vision. He didn’t state his worth; he proved it. Today, Apple is a company with more than $2 trillion-dollar of net-worth, and fame that is constantly rising with time.

The Magical Philosophy of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs’ success was not luck-driven; it was passion-driven. Instead of failing and letting the failures doom him, he created opportunities for himself and never stopped trying. He did what he loved and eventually veered through the roads of failure to drive towards success. He never settled for less and refused to accept failure.

Jobs had a magical philosophy to predict whether his decisions were right or not. While addressing the commencement ceremony at Stanford University in 2005, he said:

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

He worked harder each day with his never-ceasing focus to improve himself for a better tomorrow. He found passion and satisfaction in his business to come back better than yesterday. He believed in himself and that’s how he transformed his failures into success to rise as an influential leader who will change the world forever. He once said:

“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. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

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