by Sunil Bali, 22-06-14

25 years ago this month Steve Jobs started, as he said, to "make a dent in the universe" by giving us Apple’s first mobile device, the Mac Portable.

Upon hearing that Steve Jobs had stepped down as CEO of Apple, Stephen Fry commented, "I don’t think there is a human being on the planet who has been as influential in the last 30 years in the way culture developed and has proved quite so conclusively that passion and taste and belief are more important than a hard business head."

Whatever your thoughts about Jobs, the facts are unambiguous. Jobs has led the field in three separate industries:

  • Music – the iPod has revolutionized the way music is delivered;
  • Movies – Pixar is one of the world’s most successful animation studios (they made "Toy Story");
  • Computing – the Mac and the iPad lead the way when it comes to design, functionality and ease of use.

Jobs left his CEO role just as Apple became the most valuable company in the world with a market capitalisation of nearly $340bn.

I admired Jobs not because of his financial success, but because he lived with passion and this passion is reflected in his products. Jobs never sought to create products which people like. He sought to create products and a support service which people LOVE and are passionate about.

When he was asked what made the Mac OS X operating system so good he replied, "When we designed the buttons on the screen, we made them look so delicious that you want to lick them". Not a word about gigabytes, megahertz or any technical.

When Jobs tried to lure John Sculley from Pepsi he said, "Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?" Sculley promptly joined Apple and helped to change the world.

Jobs often said that he didn’t seek to compete, because he knew that in an age of excess supply, true competition comes from actually not competing but being different and running your own race.

As Jobs said in his famous graduation address at Stanford University, "Our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice."

Every time he was faced with a big choice, Jobs asked himself, "What would I do if this was the last night of my life?"

He met his wife, Laurene like that.

He was giving a university address and Laurene was sitting in the audience. He fell for her and approached her after the event. Laurene gave him her number. He wanted to take Laurene out for dinner that very night but had an important business meeting. On his way back to his car, he asked himself "What would I do if this was the last night of my life?" He ran back to the auditorium, found Laurene and took her out to dinner.

They remained together until he died.

Note: This is a reprise of an article I wrote in 2011


A priest approached a small boy in the street and asked, “Could you tell me where the Post Office is please?” The boy gave him the directions, and the priest said, “Thank you. Come to my sermon tonight and I’ll tell you how to get to heaven.”"I don’t think so,” said the boy. “You don’t even know how to get to the Post Office."

Wife to her girlfriend: I was lying in bed with my husband when he asked me what I’d most like to do to his body. Apparently "Identify it" was not the right answer.