Failogue: Steve Jobs was Fired from Apple

Steve Jobs is a household name, known to everyone as the co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc. until his death in 2011.

But in 1985, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple and regarded as a public failure. He considered running away from Silicon Valley, ashamed by the fact that he had been outed from his own company. Instead, he moved forward, starting two companies, NeXT and Pixar.

Pixar grew into the greatest animation studio in the world and eventually sold to Disney for $7.6B. NeXT was purchased by Apple for $427, and bringing Steve Jobs back to the company he co-founded.

From his 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University:

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Can you imagine a world without Toy Story and Finding Nemo? Can you imagine one without iTunes?

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Read more about Steve Jobs and his failures at the Harvard Business Review and pick up a copy of his official biography by Walter Isaacson

Also, watch Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address here:

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Failogue is a series that brings you stories of failure. Failure from those that showed up. Failure from those that took risks. Failure from those that persevered.

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