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Saving Steve Jobs’ Legacy from a Successories Future

31 March


The Steve Jobs Legacy Syndrome

Showing your best side in an interview situation is to be recommended but beware of trying to emulate others rather than showing what YOU are really about. After all a prospective employer is trying to make sure you are the best choice for his particular vacancy. Whilst anyone has the potential to be as influential to a business (as Steve Jobs undoubtedly was to Apple) that influence and value will always be unique to the company and the times in which a person works for a company. Here is a short article to better illustrate the dangers of emulating others, even (or especially) if they were great.

Saving Steve Jobs' Legacy from a Successories Future

The legacy of Steve Jobs appears to be following the inevitable adoption arc from bleeding edge to Successories; today’s WSJ describes managers’ often excruciating attempts to channel their inner Steve Jobs, and apply his management secrets to their parochial situations.

As the authors note, “Mimicking Mr. Jobs’s keynote style and adopting catch phrases like ‘one more thing’—the words Mr. Jobs often used to introduce products—may make bosses think they’re operating more like the genius himself. But it has provoked plenty of eye-rolling among staffers.”

This isn’t new, of course; in consulting, an innovation deck wasn’t complete without the obligatory references to Apple and Google.  It’s also very common within companies for advocates of ideas (occasionally profound, more often not) to invoke Jobs, especially when presented with contradictory information.  Common response: “Well, as Steve Jobs said, ‘customers don’t always know what they want.’”

Perhaps the most awkward example I’ve seen – albeit involving Apple rather than Jobs directly – was an academic speaker an innovation conference pointedly emphasize his use of an Apple laptop “like most of the other creatives in this room.”  So uncomfortable.  So bad, in the Paul Fussell sense of the term.

The obvious problem here, of course, is that while adding “in bed” may make bland comments amusing, adding “like Steve Jobs” certainly doesn’t make dumb ideas interesting – or executable.

I suspect this trend is likely to be self-limited, however, given that the misappropriation is generally as painful as it is evident.

I worry more that as the tao of Steve is progressively absorbed by the mainstream, it risks becoming yet another Great Management Technique Everyone Should Know – and being commoditized and devalued accordingly.

It’s far too important to suffer such a common and ignoble fate.

What Jobs evokes and awakens in so many of us – especially those in business  – is a reminder that we each have the opportunity to author our own life, and to make a difference in the world, a dent in the universe – and to do so in a fashion that celebrates originality, embraces passion, and believes deeply and fundamentally in human possibility and humanity’s promise.

Are you going to get there by mechanically adopting Jobs’ catchphrases and wardrobe?  Unlikely. …More at Saving Steve Jobs’ Legacy from a Successories Future

Personally I would still recommend that anybody read Walter Isaacson’s book “Steve Jobs” as it provides an excellent insight into the man and his thoughts. There are lessons to be learnt for many of us and of course it is also an enjoyable read. If however you don’t have time to read the book then here is a truly inspirational video that should help refresh your memory.


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