The phrase “a failure is a man who blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience” by Elbert Hubbard lingers in many minds as far as finding its implication is concerned. Just like many other quotes associated with Hubbard, it remains immortal due to its relevance over time, beyond many generations in the past and even in the future. This quote in particular, has become synonymous with lives of people.
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The essence of the above phrase lies on the fact that a failure is not a failure until one learns from it to avoid failure in the future. It, therefore, implies that we should learn from our mistakes and strive to look at past inefficiencies so that we are able to mitigate any repeat in the future. The author acknowledges that it is in human nature to ‘fall’ but be caution, to learn from the past mistakes and to benefit in building a formidable future as a result of the experience gained from the past.
In this regard, this essay seeks to link between the phrase by this great American philosopher and the life and times of the great entrepreneur, Steve Jobs. Spector (1985) interrogates the inadequacies that Jobs faced in his life and how he took them positively trying to improve his lifestyle and his commitment towards making a positive contribution to the society. (Stross, 1993)
Throughout his life he was able to face hurdles which were some kind of a stepping stone towards success, manifested through the empire and legacy that he built with the aim of improving the life standard of this generation and the generations to come. The adoption of the above phrase enabled Steve Jobs to be immortal even with his passing on.
Steve Jobs was born in an ordinary family and led an ordinary life, nonetheless, he managed to climb the ladder of life by doing ordinary things in an ordinary way. In such a simple way he became one of the most celebrated people of all times in the electronics field. (Young, 1988)
He lived with his parents (adopted) and was frequently engaged in working on electronics with his father who taught him determination and resilience, requisite virtues for success. He practiced diligence and innovative approach in his work as far as creativity was concerned. His elementary school life was not flowery as he had difficulty to communicate with his peers and occasionally had to bribed his elementary school teacher because of his studying (Butcher,1987).
In spite the challenges Steve Jobs encountered in elementary school, he was able to forge ahead not loosing focus in life and not giving up his interests. The quote by Hubbard applied in his life to the latter. His life in high school entailed spending free time at computer related work.
He would go to Hewlett-Packard, where he encountered a valuable friendship with Steve Wozniak, a computer wizard. They blended well and had mutual friendship that was close to admiration. Time after high school was full of intrigues as he dropped from Reed College after attending for only half a year.
The rest of the year he inconsistently attended creative lessons only to find something interesting in typography. Determination was a virtue he would not have identified both his interests and his talent with. He did not look at the challenges he was facing at school but fought hard for a place in life. Being in constant search for spiritual fulfillment, he visited India where he used psychedelic drugs and later rejoined his friend Wozniak to cofound what is today a brand name Apple (Alison, 1996).
They started it on a humble background by selling Jobs’ vehicle (Volkswagen bus), while a friend of his patted with his calculator. Challenges and hardships they experienced couldn’t stop their desire to succeed in life. In spite of the turbulent tides, they fought and did their best to remain focused building a worldwide venture. Notwithstanding his unique school life, Jobs offered a complementary hand to his friend and they became business partners.
The two friends, Wozniak and Jobs, introduced a new edge to the computer world by diverging a new approach in the industry. They used a different technological approach that was focused on production of relatively smaller components that were affordable and competitive in the market (Levy, 1994). Their models were easy to use in comparison with the products the market offered at that moment. There initial model was Apple1.
It made a fortune and brought a lot of rewards. Within three-year-time they were working harder to introduce another product Apple11. Their income increased by over seven hundred percent. Within one decade of their existence in the market, they had made a brand name that was the best in the world of computers.
The phrase, “a failure is a man who blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience” by Hubbard is applicable here. They have used their chance and improved the first Apple model rather than neglected it. In a spun of three years they had used their previous experience to make Apple11. This enabled Steve Jobs and his colleague to bank seven hundred folds much.
Apple as a company had misdoings especially on the subsequent models. That resulted in reducing sale rates of the product. Some of them were even recalled due to the consumer complaints. Other brands like IBM gave them a run for their money. In middle 80s they introduced the Macintosh approach that did little to edge out IBM, a key competitor, from the market. Then the board developed squabbles with Steve Jobs forcing his resignation in the year 1985.
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Just like our guiding quote has it, he did not tire, he started another firm by the name NeXT, Inc instead. That followed with acquisition of an Imation company with a subsequent great deal of resilience and determination putting forth focus to excel (Wozniak, Jobs, 2006). He renamed it Pixar Studios.
Steve Jobs did not major on the challenges that had become of his former work place. He came back and managed to make a formidable force to reckon with the animation world. His new venture was successful but could not permeate the American market forcing it to merge with Apple where Steve Jobs got back his leadership role (CEO) back (Duncan, 2004).
Banking on lessons of the past failures, Steve Jobs reinvented Apple by use of innovative ways bringing some changes to the management. They were able to meet the customer demands by working different models that came with a stylish touch. Today Apple is a brand name that has cut a niche in the American market and the world at large.
This has seen its competitors struggling to match its revolutionary products that are hard to match especially due to customer loyalty (Bently, 2011). They have created i-Phones that cannot be matched in the market, this is not to forget the i-Pods and programs like i-Tunes that is amongst the leading American music gadgets. The success attributed to the Founder and CEO, Steve Jobs has made the company earn an accolade as the most respected company in the world.
This is fundamental because of the shape focus that Steve Jobs managed to put not being discouraged by past failures but forging on with an attempt geared towards improving those failures so that success was reached. The company became so successful to the point of having no debt liability, something not very easy to attain in the business world. (Linzmayer, 2004)
Steve Jobs’ personal life is also a manifestation of improvement of the past mistakes. Starting with his days at the elementary school where he had difficulties coping with the school system to the extent of taking bribes so as to read. (O’Grady, 2008) That reflected on the challenges he experienced.
And looking at his days at high school, it’s seen that his weakness in following school curriculum was evident. (Harper, 2011) He struggled to remain successful in the school setup and he struggled to be successful in life. His health life especially on his last days depicts him as a person who did not want to face reality because he postponed a surgery to remove cancer. He instead opted for other types of medication. He later accepted to undergo the surgery and that was another success. (Simon, 2005)
It is self evident that the quote, “a failure is a man who blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience” is relevant and applicable in analysis of the life and times of Steve Jobs. His path was a life of ups and downs and he did very little to make history and touch the lives of many people.
He was born and adopted, the fact he learned when he was 27 years old. He became positive in life and lived peacefully and happily with his foster parents. He went to school and had some challenges in schooling starting with elementary level where he had problems coping with curriculum and making friends.
This followed high school years where he frequently dropped on and off from school until such a time that he identified an area, typography, his interests were concentrated at. In starting the Apple Company, he encountered financial challenges that made him sell his valuable vehicle. To him attaining his dream overshadowed all other challenges. This was followed with being locked out of Apple as the CEO (Bilton, 2011).
He did not take the challenges negatively, instead of that he went and built another company that excelled in all respects to an extent of merging with the Disney and later becoming the greatest share holder. (Bob, 2007) His successful venture enabled him return to Apple and continue being the CEO on a position he held until his demise. Truly his path was a life well lived, he rectified his mistakes to improve his future life.
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