As I've been watching and reading over all of the news stories and tributes to Steve Jobs, I notice that they're missing one of the biggest insights to Jobs' success.
While every story makes mention of Jobs returning, very few of them acknowledge just how close to death Apple was when he returned. What of the most important lessons I learned in business cam from watching Jobs turn around the company.
How did Jobs do it? He cut to the core. He took 22 products that were in Apple's go-to-market pipeline and cut them down to 4, 2 consumer products and 2 business products. He knew this would result in Apple becoming (temporarily) a smaller company. He told Wall Street, customers and employees:
"Apple will get bigger, first by getting smaller. We will cut to our core, we will focus on our core, and we will forever grow from our core."
For nearly 15 years, Apple did just that and the result was transforming a company worth $5 billion (and nearly bankrupt) to the most valuable company in the world, valued at $350 billion. A 70x result!
To me, Steve Jobs will also stand for the power of three critical elements: