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Though he's certainly not without his detractors, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs would appear on many people's lists of the world's all-time great business leaders. And as investors, we can learn invaluable lessons from those iconic individuals.
Fortunately for us, Jobs wasn't shy about sharing his musings on life, technology, work, and much more. Here a just a handful of Steve Jobs' top quotes.
Steve Jobs on business
Perhaps, more than anything else, under Jobs' guidance, Apple became famous for its obsession for building the best products possible. If fact, Jobs often disregarded market research on consumer preferences, trying to push the envelope beyond what consumers thought possible. Here's how Jobs summarized his thinking on product design and its relations to business strategy:
However, Apple's brilliance under Jobs extended beyond designing great products. He was also one of the most adept and shrewd marketers. His vision for and ability to project Apple's brand in creative ways to consumers is why Apple ranks as the world's most valuable brand. Though long, the following quote from Jobs about Apple's Think Different campaign beautifully captures his philosophy on marketing.
Steve Jobs on technology and innovation
Though he borrowed from the work of others, Jobs helped usher several technological revolutions into the mainstream. One of the defining characteristics of Apple's approach to technology has been its commitment to an integrated hardware-software product strategy. This preference ensured Apple would lose the PC war toIBM clones running Microsoft's operating systems, but it's also what allows Apple to capture nearly all of the profits from the smartphone market today. For better or worse, it's easy to tell where this strong preference originated:
However, Apple's competitive advantages extend beyond technology. Jobs attracted a deep bench of talent across software engineering, hardware engineering, operations, design, and more. Being able to lure and motivate the best of the best became a self-sustaining advantage for Apple, and that's something that Jobs appreciated:
Steve Jobs on life
Jobs' perspective resonates with people because of its emotional slant. Regardless of your opinion of him -- and he was both complex and imperfect -- it's undeniable that Jobs viewed his work at Apple on a personal level. No quote that I know of better captures that this sentiment better than a passage from his 2005 commencement address at Stanford University:
However, this merely scratches the surface of his perspective toward life and work. Here's an older quote from Jobs that echoes the same strain of optimism:
Though he could be ruthless or petty about certain financial matters, Jobs' public commentary generally framed business pursuits as a pathway to achieving meaning in life. Even after he became a billionaire, he still appeared far more motivated by the personal impact of his work than the financial windfalls it produced. This quote speaks to where his priorities lay:
Lists of great Steve Jobs quotes can go on indefinitely. However, the sampling above nicely encapsulates the qualities of Apple's late leader. And given his enduring popularity, his words and thinking on business and life will remain relevant well into the future. So as the man himself famously quoted, "Stay hungry. Stay Foolish" (with a very intentional capital F).
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Andrew Tonner owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and Nike. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and has the following options: long January 2018 $90 calls on Apple and short January 2018 $95 calls on Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.