When I heard about Steve Jobs resigning as CEO of Apple, I was in the middle of running rehearsal for the a cappella group of which I am the assistant musical director. I found out the news because my friend, Mark Merenda, had texted me with a simple, “Steve Jobs resigns as CEO”, and I suppose there wasn’t much more to say than that. It was short-hand for news I knew would come eventually, but I didn’t I wouldn’t have time to process it – to leave it alone — as I had to do that Wednesday evening.
It’s a bit of a cliché to say that his resignation marks the end of an era, but it’s important to lay that foundation because it creates an excuse to look backwards over time since he returned as Apple’s CEO. In the days that followed the announcement, there were scores of articles that spoke about what he had created, the products that Apple released, and, my favorite, personal encounters with Steve. Some of the articles read more like obituaries, which I didn’t appreciate or think appropriate, and others used a lot of words to create conjecture about whether Apple’s best days were behind it — another topic that seemed wasteful.
For me, Steve Jobs’s retirement affected me in a way that caused me to feel sad and wistful — and I couldn’t quite figure out why. After some reflection, I realize I am emotionally involved in Steve’s retirement because he’s been a model for the kind of business leader I want to be. Now, I wouldn’t be the first to write about Steve’ fanatical attention to detail, or how doggedly he stuck to his vision (regardless of what the “market” thought, and sometime to glorious failure), or how important presentation is (the “SteveNote” is legendary).
However, this blog post isn’t about those things, as interesting as they may be. It’s about the most important thing I learned from Steve Jobs, which is about passion. Here’s the quote that sums it up:
“When I was trying to decide whether to come back to Apple or not I struggled. I talked to a lot of people and got a lot of opinions. And then there I was, late one night, struggling with this and I called up a friend of mine at 2am. I said, ‘should I come back, should I not?’ and the friend replied, ‘Steve, look. I don’t give a fuck about Apple. Just make up your mind’ and hung up. And it was in that moment that I realized I truly cared about Apple.”
I care about my law firm and my clients, and I have an overwhelming passion for the law practice I run, both what it is today and what I want to be in the future. The vision I have is not one that most attorneys share, which means that there isn’t strong support from The Establishment for what I am building. Along the way, though, I’ve been supported by watching the success that Jobs had running Apple. As much as Jobs cared about the details, so did (do) I and I’ve been willing to sacrifice pleasing the masses in favor of delighting a smaller group of people who are enthusiastic supporters of what I do.
Which, I suppose, (finally) brings me to my point:
I’m sad to be losing one of my role models.
I know, I know – let’s not get melodramatic here. I mean, it’s not my reason for living is gone or I suddenly regret the Apple tattoo I got on my lower ba…wait, never mind.
Still, I got a lot from watching how a great company like Apple worked, which was largely due to how Steve worked. Maybe the new guy (Tim Cook) will be as good as Steve, but until he proves himself to me, I’ll be rewatching this video for direction, inspiration and how to deliver a great keynote:
Posted by Victor Medina, Managing Partner
Medina Law Group, LLC & The New Jersey Estate Planning Center