Entrepreneurs

Steve Jobs: These are 2 essential ingredients for success

The late Steve Jobs, Apple founder and former CEO, introduces the iPhone at a conference in 2007.
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The late Steve Jobs, Apple founder and former CEO, introduces the iPhone at a conference in 2007.

Steve Jobs is an entrepreneurial legend. He famously started Apple in a garage with co-founder Steve Wozniak in 1976 after dropping out of college. The tech company has a market capitalization of $870 billion.

Jobs, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 when he was 56 years old, was revered for his vision in making computer technology elegant and consumer friendly. His legacy includes the Mac computer, the iPod, iPhone and iPad. He was also infamously caustic and was forced out of the company he founded when he clashed with the management. He returned to the company in 1997 to once again lead the business he birthed.

According to Jobs, two things are required to build a successful company: passion and people. Jobs said so in an interview he did with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in 2007.

"People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you're doing and it's totally true," the Apple CEO said. "And the reason is because [building something of value is] so hard that if you don't, any rational person would give up.

"It's really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don't love it, if you're not having fun doing it ... you're going to give up. And that's what happens to most people, actually," Jobs said.

It's one of the greatest sources of motivation, he said.

"If you don't love it, if you're not having fun doing it, you don't really love it, you're going to give up." -Steve Jobs, Former CEO of Apple

"If you really look at the ones that ended up, you know, being 'successful' in the eyes of society," said Jobs, "oftentimes, it's the ones [who] were successful [that] loved what they did so they could persevere, you know, when it got really tough.

"And the ones that didn't love it quit because they're sane, right? Who would want to put up with this stuff if you don't love it?" Jobs said of building a successful company.

It takes "a lot of hard work," said Jobs, so if you don't love what you're doing, "you're going to fail. So you've got to ... have passion."

For Jobs, the other component to building a successful business is your ability to attract and retain the best team members.

"You've got to be a really good talent scout because no matter how smart you are, you need a team of great people," said Jobs. "You've got to figure out how to size people up fairly quickly, make decisions without knowing people too well and hire them and see how you do and refine your intuition ... because you need great people around you," he said.

Gates agreed. When he was launching Microsoft, he wasn't chasing money, he said. (Perhaps ironic considering Gates is now worth almost $90 billion, according to Forbes, and is one of the richest people in the world.)

"The excitement wasn't really seeing the economic value. You know, even when we wrote down at Microsoft in 1975, 'a computer on every desk and in every home,' we didn't realize, oh, we'll have to be a big company," said Gates.

"The idea of being at the forefront and seeing new things and things we wanted to do and being able to bring in different people who were fun to work with .... I think it's a lot about the people and the passion."