Steve Jobs: Reflections on his legacy
By Molly Hall, Klare Kalepp, and Josh Mondor with contributions from Bonnie Krahn
This fall, the world lost one of the most inspiring and innovative business people of our time, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. If you own the popular iPod or iPhone, you are one of the countless people around the world who have been touched by Jobs’ inspired vision and leadership. His relentless passion and hard work led to the innovative design of a number of extremely successful technology products over the past several decades. As we reflect on the many achievements Jobs experienced in his lifetime, there are many important lessons we can apply to our own lives.
Jobs grew up in California. After high school graduation in 1972, he enrolled in college and dropped out after one semester. After a brief job as an Atari technician and a trip to India in search of spiritual enlightenment, Jobs co-founded Apple in his parent’s garage in 1976. The next few years led to the release of several early products, such as the Apple Lisa and Macintosh computer. A power-struggle within Apple management led to Jobs’ resignation from the company in 1985.
After leaving Apple, Jobs purchased Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division, later named Pixar. Under Jobs, Pixar contracted with Disney to produce animated feature films, such as Toy Story. Jobs also founded NeXT Computer at that time, which was purchased by Apple in 1996, bringing Jobs back to Apple where he officially became CEO in 2000. This became a turning point for the company, which later introduced the iPod, iTunes digital music software and iTunes Store, as well as the iPhone and iPad.
Despite an ambitious and tumultuous career, Jobs stayed true to his vision, always searching for ways to improve the lives of others through his products.
To gain perspective on what a student can learn from Steve Jobs, we interviewed Dr. Chuck Tomkovick, UW-Eau Claire College of Business marketing professor and advocate of Job’s philosophies. Tomkovick believes students should be inspired by Jobs who believed in himself and had the confidence to pursue his dreams.
"You are in charge of your life and your dreams are possible," says Tomkovick. "You will run out of life before you run out of dreams to pursue."
Matthew Mitchell, a UW-Eau Claire computer science major and avid follower of Jobs echoed Tomkovick’s remarks. Mitchell states, “[Jobs] wanted to make a better world. He wanted to make life easier. But most of all he was never satisfied. Nothing was ever so good that it wasn’t worth redoing and making it better.”
Both interviewees agreed that Steve Jobs was a visionary. Tomkovick states, “[Jobs] was able to pull something down from the clouds and he was willing to pay the price to make it exist.” His vision was one of the most significant traits that led to his success. Mitchell added, “He knew what needed to happen and he made it happen.” Once an idea was in his head, he never lost sight of it. He pursued his ideas and never let anyone discourage him.
Beyond the revolutionary products Jobs brought to the world, he left behind a legacy. Society will remember him as one of the most creative innovators of our time. Three important lessons to take away from his life are to pursue your dreams, never be satisfied, and live your vision.
From left to right: Molly Hall is a junior marketing major from Wausau, WI; Klare Kalepp is a senior accounting and finance major from Abbotsford, WI; and Josh Mondor is a senior accounting major from Somerset, WI.They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.