That was Steve Jobs’ famous line at the end of a conference or product launch. It became his “coda.” And I thought it was appropriate today after my post about him yesterday. Because upon reflecting on last month and my reading projects, it occurred to me that I started the month with “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz. But then, somehow, I got inspired to read the Jobs biography again and sorta put “The Magic of Thinking Big” aside. That was not my intention. I had intended to read “Magic” in the mornings, and “Jobs” at night before bed. But “Jobs” was so fascinating that soon I was reading it both morning AND night and anytime in between that I could squeeze in.
But I digress.
What occurred to me was that both books are somewhat related. “The Magic of Thinking Big” is about thinking big. And “Steve Jobs” is about a guy who was a big thinker! Isn’t that weird? When I picked up “Steve Jobs”, that correlation never crossed my mind.
But Steve Jobs was truly one of the biggest thinkers of our era. How else can you explain the iPod, iTunes store, iPhone and iPad?
Daniel Lyons, a writer for Newsweek, nailed it when he wrote this after the launch of the iPad: “My first thought, as I watched Jobs run through his demo, was that it seemed like no big deal. It’s a bigger version of the iPod Touch, right? Then I got a chance to use an iPad, and it hit me: I want one.” He continued with this realization: “[Jobs] has an uncanny ability to cook up gadgets that we didn’t know we needed, but then suddenly can’t live without.” (From Steve Jobs, p.496)
One of the best examples of Steve Jobs thinking big and forcing others to think big and, by extension achieving big, was when they were creating the iPhone. Jobs wanted a glass display screen, not just plastic or plexiglass. He met with the CEO of Corning Glass, Wendell Weeks, who told him about a glass that Corning had developed in the 1960’s that was incredibly strong. They called it “gorilla glass”, but they could never find a market for it so they quit making it. Once he explained the chemical process of making it to Jobs and the resulting product, Jobs said he wanted as much as they could make. Weeks said they don’t make it and couldn’t make it because none of their plants were set up to make it. Jobs told him they could do it. Weeks tried to explain that just saying that was so didn’t change the fact that there were several engineering hurdles and other challenges to overcome.
Jobs “stared at Weeks unblinking. ‘Yes, you can do it,’ he said. ‘Get your mind around it. You can do it.’ As Weeks retold this story, he shook his head in astonishment. ‘We did it in under six months,’ he said. ‘We produced a glass that had never been made. We put our best scientists and engineers on it, and we just made it work.'” (Jobs, p.472)
Sometimes, the difference between success and failure is just a matter of flipping the belief switch in our minds. Going from thinking small to thinking big. Getting our mind around it and making it work.
Give it a shot. What have you got to lose?
For your advantage,