How was Jay Elliot changed by Steve Jobs?

A conversation with Jay Elliot, the former Sr. V.P. at Apple, must eventually swing to the enigmatic Steve Jobs.

I didn’t ask about Steve. Jay just began talking. He spoke as if his years at Apple were the most exciting years of his life. That’s saying a lot for a forward looking entrepreneur that’s been at IBM, Intel, and interacted with the A-team of global leaders and organizations.

Jay Elliot: Steve Jobs was 25 years old when I went from Intel to Apple. He was the most mature 25 yr. old I ever met. I never worked with anyone so motivational and inspirational. When I worked at Apple, I couldn’t wait to get to work.

LF: What did you learn from Steve?

JE: I took away many lessons. One lesson that Steve taught me is, “You are your own person.”

Jay went on to say that he couldn’t work for anyone after Apple. He had to follow his own dream; be his own person.

JE: I learned supreme passion for users from Steve. He expressed passion for users by satisfying himself. Everything Steve Jobs creates enhances his own experience. Steve does what he loves. I learned to satisfy myself.

Jay’s comments open the tension between passion for users/customers and passion to please yourself. Perhaps you can reconcile the tension by saying; you are your own best customer.

JE: “The more what you do … matches with your deepest core as a person, the more you are going to care about it and take the great pains to demand the perfection that every product deserves. … The number-one sign of product passion is whether you yourself are an avid user.” Jay Elliot, The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for New Generation.

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This is pt. 4 of my conversation with Jay Elliot. Jay is an entrepreneur and author of, “The Steve Jobs Way: ileadership for a new Generation.” Due to be released March 8, 2011

Pt. 1: Plan execution: From an Apple Sr. V.P.

Pt. 2: Great Leaders aren’t Emotional

Pt. 3: A Sliver of Light

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Jay explains how Steve Jobs impacted his own thinking and behaviors. How are you impacting those around you?