Can we learn anything from Steve Jobs about happiness?

Can we learn anything from Steve Jobs about happiness?

I came across the article below which suggests there’s much small business can learn from Steve Jobs (the iconic founder of Apple). As I was reading it I thought there was also much we can all learn from Steve Jobs and from Apple about happiness.

Read the story below and see if you can take away any happiness lessons!

What small businesses can learn from Apple’s Steve Jobs

Sydney Morning Herald Online

Posted by Valerie Khoo

September 17, 2007 6:46 AM

When it comes to brand-building, product innovation, worldwide distribution and simply being a household name, you don’t have to look too far than Apple. At the helm is the charismatic Steve Jobs – a man who founded the company, was kicked out and then asked to return to lead the corporation into a renaissance. So what can small business entrepreneurs learn from this icon-creator?

The art of the comeback

People say that John Travolta, Bert Newton and Duran Duran have all staged successful comebacks after years in their respective wildernesses. But none can compare to Steve Job’s triumphant return to Apple in 1996 after 11 years away from the company.

If your small business is going through a tough patch, there are always ways to turn the business around. But remember, this means that you need to be open to fresh ways of thinking, new product ideas, and new ways of marketing. If you do the same thing and nothing changes, then … nothing changes. Jobs championed innovation and evolved Apple from a computer company to one that is synonymous with music, MP3 players (the iPod) and, now, phones.

The personality-driven CEO

No one can argue that Jobs is a visionary. He’s also an enigmatic leader that has followers practically falling at his feet. While this might sound like an exaggeration, have a look at his Macworld keynote in San Francisco earlier this year (you can download it free from iTunes). It’s like a group of devoted fans following their Messiah, cheering at every second phrase he utters and almost fainting when they find salvation in the much-hyped iPhone.

While I’m not suggesting you foster a cult-leader persona to get new business, I would suggest the customers often prefer to deal with real personalities. And may be it’s better to embrace who you are and what you stand for than try to hide behind the veil of your business.

I once coordinated the Australian Young Woman of the Year Awards for a national women’s magazine. One of the nominees was an architect. When I told her she had been nominated, she insisted that her entire office staff be included in the nomination. I explained to that “her office staff” didn’t all qualify for the Australian Young Women of the Year Awards, particularly as some of them were men! She said she didn’t want to take all the glory. While that was a nice sentiment, it was also a lost opportunity for her.

Of course, you shouldn’t take credit from your staff, but if the spotlight happens to land on you, use it as an opportunity to promote your business. Don’t step away from it, because someone else is just going to step into it instead.

Beauty is skin deep

When it comes to product innovation, one thing Jobs is obsessive about is good design. Some of his products will undoubtedly go down in design history books as iconic pieces of functional art. Consumers have gone nuts simply because iPod shuffles were released in a variety of metallic colours. Now, some are going crazy at the pastel hues available.

It goes to show that beauty can be skin deep. If you bow to the right aesthetics, you can capture a share of the market. Sometimes, we pay too much attention on logistics or mechanics, but not enough on simple design. You might not be designing an iPod, but you can be judged on whether your corporate newsletter looks like it’s been designed by a professional or an amateur. If there’s one thing Jobs knows for sure, looks matter.