The idea of a great leader is often summarized with the name Steve Jobs. Yesterday, Jobs passed away leaving a legacy of products and passionate followers devoted to the brand he created. The intersection of leadership and the relationships that individuals have with a brand is a mixture that can bring great success to an organization. Jobs had that effect on Apple, Inc. when he revolutionized their product line and began to construct a brand that blurred the line of demarcation between art and technology.
With Jobs came the creation of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. These technologies have fundamentally shifted the way that people engage with each other, and the way that people depend on technology in their lives. Generations are often marked with the device that alters society. In 1998 Apple released the iPod, with Jobs at the helm. With that, his name and the brand became inextricably linked. Revenue of the company grew from around 7 billion when Jobs rejoined the company to about 65 billion at the time of his passing.
Many admire the companies aesthetic, as well as Jobs dedication to making the most innovative technologies, because that is what he was driven to do. At the Stanford Commencement of 2005 he stated
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
This passion has been a contagion to millions of people who pre-order company products and work to develop the devices we so readily integrate into our lives. He did not settle in any aspect of his life and was able to create a corporation that has had a prodigious impact on the world. At its fundamental core, Apple had a genius and a transformational leader. It is only possible to hope that legacy continues and people continue to learn from Steve Jobs.