I was quite saddened by the news of Steve Jobs’ death yesterday. Though he was obviously very ill, and had only recently stepped down as CEO of Apple, I didn’t know quite how close to death he was.
My relationship with Apple isn’t nearly as deep as many people’s. Back in the early 1990s I worked for a publishing company and had a Macintosh II running System 7. In an office where most people were still using DOS, it was exciting to have these graphical icons on screen! After that job, though, I became a PC user, and I am still one now, even though I know Microsoft/Windows has its critics.
My next encounter with Apple came as late as last year when, after seeing my boyfriend’s iPhone, I decided I had to have one! I now have an iPhone 4 and don’t know how I would manage without it. I haven’t yet progressed to an iPad but it’s high on the wish list because it would revolutionise the way I work – for example, I would be able to show people my portfolio so much more easily than I can at present.
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”
Steve Jobs was a true innovator. He invented products before we even knew we wanted them, and he wasn’t afraid to admit when he made a mistake. I think those are qualities that everyone in business can learn from, and they are certainly qualities that I have embraced in my own business.
For example, when I first became self-employed I ran a local magazine. It was hard work but I loved what I was doing – at first. Over the years things conspired against me and eventually I had to admit that the business wasn’t working. However, I took elements of what I was doing every day – writing, laying out pages, proofreading – and turned them into the business I run today, The Proof Fairy.
I’ve also always kept my eyes peeled for new opportunities. For example, I’m not just any old proofreader, I’m a pay as you go proofreader – I don’t just work on large documents, I’m happy to check over emails and sales letters too. And when I realised that lots of small businesses didn’t know how effective blogging could be as a marketing tool, I implemented a new service that was designed to meet their needs and their budgets.
I don’t know what the future holds for Apple; I only hope that Jobs’ successors are as innovative – and inspiring – as he was.