23 thoughts on “Steve Jobs memo to startups”

  1. He didn’t look other side of it..”They have the ability to build a real company in short time whereas Steve took some 30 odd years to build a gigantic Apple after so many hiccups”

    1. Not so. Apple set a record in how fast it grew from nothing to joining the Fortune 500. Since then, only Google has done it faster.

  2. I didn’t know that he said this, but while it may seem true to some people; in another way it all depends on what the perceived definition of an entrepreneur is. Some people might be called a serial entrepreneur for creating a biz, cashing in and moving on while other entrepreneurs who are business creators/builders in it for the long haul might frown upon that.

    1. I think it may have to do with how he viewed a real company – looks at Apple, it keeps reinventing itself. There’s a very stark difference to Procter & Gamble and others who mostly hold on to, and keep doing things the same way.

  3. Steve was right! I know a couple of these type of guys back there in US. The product doesn’t have enough users yet, but they insisted on giving away ipads. Until now the product is a total failure.

  4. I’ve been quoting Steve Jobs quite a bit since his unfortunate recent passing. He held a sincere disdain for founders who were “in it to flip it.” I don’t blame him. But in this quote, at least taken out of any context, I think he might be allowing his antipathy of flippers to blur his obvious understanding of the purpose of a business in the first place: to solve a real problem.

    This weekend, Mark Zuckerburg gave an excellent interview at YC’s Startup School in which he urged entrepreneurs to focus on solving a real problem, and think about building a business as secondary. Jobs expressed his admiration for Mark in his biography; fans of Jobs would be well-served to watch the video (starts at minute 40): http://www.justin.tv/startupschool/b/298692604.

    Incidentally, I just wrote about the difference between building a company and solving a problem in my blog. I invite your thoughts: http://bit.ly/buildvsolve.

    1. Totally. In the early 2000s there was a critical lack of Virtual pigs and pictures of girls in tube tops making the duck face. Mark, the world is a better place because of you. You are my hero.

  5. Like it. I set up my company in 1992 and although it is thousands of times smaller than Apple, there has been satisfaction watching it grow over the years, all the while watching start-ups surface and crash as their owners get bored.

  6. I’m a long-time Apple customer and great admirer of Steve Jobs, but … just because you “flip” that doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t built something of value and solved real problems. Maybe some people don’t want to spend their lives working their asses off building a company.

    If you create something of actual worth and you get an attractive offer that lets you pursue other goals, then flip the damn thing and get on with life if that’s what you want. If you cash in on something worthless then shame on the stupid investors.

    1. Why does it have to be an absolute? Creating something of value might make you an entrepreneur. Creating something just to flip might be of marginal value.

  7. Funny, because cashing out and moving on is exactly what Jobs did initially with Apple.

  8. Just because Steve Jobs says it doesn’t mean it’s true. He’s human just like everyone else.

    The thing is, NOT every project, not every product, not every service can be grown into a full blown company. It just doesn’t work that way. Go to any store and look at all the bottles of shampoo you can choose from, all those brands belong mainly to 1 or 2 companies, Unilever and Johnson. Same with food products. If every little shirt, and every brand of crackers where its own company with it’s own marking, and distribution, and it’s own packaging plant, it’s own lawyers, it’s own administration offices, it’s own headquarters… We’d be paying triple for everything. (although we would have a lot more jobs… correction, the Chinese would have a lot more jobs…)

    Some products just can’t be monetized to support themselves so they MUST be acquired by a company that can integrate them into its own services (or product line) and compete better with other competitors doing the same.

    If nobody flipped it would screw over entrepreneurs by forcing them to commit themselves to one industry, one company, one product line their whole lives instead of being able to create companies and sell them to others who are good at maintaining companies.

    Can you really see every little product becoming its own corporation? Other times, companies like Google and facebook (who’s only difference from competitors are a few features) grow into their own massive companies. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    Starting a company, growing a company, and optimizing a company are three different things. Very rarely are there people who are good at all three. Jobs is one of them, Zuckerberg another, but they’re lottery stories. Their advice may not work for the majority of people.

    Take that Jobs!


  9. I agree – terminology wise with Steve’s quote:
    Call yr self an Innovator if you want to bring new products or services – or even invent new markets.
    An Entrepreneur if you want to build a company.
    A Financier if you want to build it, and cash out.

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