The Wit and Wisdom of Steve Jobs

Apple Pirate FlagNever have so many eulogies been written for a man who is still living.* Of course, we don’t know how much longer Steve Jobs will be with us in this world, but we know that his days as the Wizard of Cupertino are now behind him. Here are my favorite quotes highlighting the wit and wisdom of Steve Jobs.

Real Artists Ship

“Real artists ship.”

A work of art, or any creation for that matter, is not done till you “ship” it. That’s why I created this blog. I have been writing and creating for years as a hobby, but I know that if I want to be a real, professional artist and writer, I need to “ship out” my work and share it with the world.

Selling Sugar Water

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Jobs said this to then-Pepsi CEO John Sculley to convince him to come over to Apple. And while the two men later had a major falling-out, the quote remains a good one. Jobs (rightfully) saw potential in Sculley. He saw that, while Sculley had done quite a bit at Pepsi, he could do so much more with his talent.

Being a Pirate

“It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy”

Jobs grew up in the 1960s-1970s counterculture, and it has influenced his views well into the 21st century. Even now, as one of the largest corporations in the world, Apple positions itself as the choice of outsiders, with Jobs as the leader of the nonconformists. While much of this is marketing hype, it works because Jobs truly believes it.

Your Time is Limited

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Lest we lionize Jobs too much, we must remember that he’s a mortal man who has his flaws. Jobs personality flaws have been well-documented over the years, so there’s no reason to mention them here. But even if he were perfect, we shouldn’t follow him too closely. After all, the point of being an artist, a nonconformist, and a pirate is the same. All three strive to throw out the rules and role models. We have to live for ourselves, because we can’t be anyone else.

*Update: October 5, 2011: Steve Jobs passed away today, less than two months after stepping down as Apple CEO. Here is my eulogy for the man.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer, photographer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://steve-lovelace.com.

You may also like...

11 Responses

  1. Sheila says:

    I really like your views on Jobs. I don’t know much about the man, but your ideas help me to ‘”get it”.
    good Job!! (pun intended)

  1. September 19, 2011

    […] so might have even allowed him to make the device simpler and smaller. Therein lies the genius of Steve Jobs. Like Hemingway, Jobs knows what you leave out is as important as what you put […]

  2. October 5, 2011

    […] is dead at the age of 56. Fifty-six years is far too short for any man or woman, much less one of Jobs’ talents. And yet, 56 years was all Jobs needed. Though he did not live to a ripe hold age, he did more in […]

  3. October 14, 2011

    […] to the details, and prepare for delays. Just don’t use it as an excuse for procrastination. Real artists ship, and despite the delays, the Sagrada Familia has made progress. So next time your big project […]

  4. April 6, 2012

    […] death itself will take care of fax machines. As Steve Jobs once said, “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change […]

  5. April 22, 2013

    […] how many people lack taste until you see the design horrors of MySpace. There’s a reason why Steve Jobs didn’t like […]

  6. April 23, 2013

    […] Steve Jobs fucked up. He was the most successful innovator of our age, and he succeeded so much because he wasn’t afraid to fail. Looking at this list of […]

  7. April 26, 2013

    […] that he is a replayer, doomed to repeat his life over and over. This got me to thinking, what if Steve Jobs was a replayer, a man with knowledge of the […]

  8. February 27, 2017

    […] The original Apple II computer used modifier keys that looked like little Apple logos. One day, Steve Jobs came in, saw a drop down menu with Apple Key icons on it, and said that they were “taking the […]

  9. February 28, 2017

    […] major brands come from soda manufacturers should tell you something. These companies specialize in selling sugar water, and they do it quite well. They know that not everyone wants to drink cola, so they market and […]

  10. March 11, 2017

    […] great rivalries in the modern business world. One of the most iconic is Apple versus Microsoft. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are two of the most famous entrepreneurs of our age. They come off as polar […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *