Jobs: “Focus Is About Saying No”

Before the accolades; before the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad; before it became the most valuable company in the world, Steve Jobs returned to Apple when it was at its low point. Back in 1997, the stock price was hovering below $4, and most people saw it as a lost cause. But not Steve Jobs. As we remember the man after his passing, watch what he did at Apple’s developer conference in 1997 when he sat down and just took questions for an hour from the developers in the audience.

It was during that Q&A session when he famously said, “Focus is about saying, No. And the result of that focus is going to be some really great products where the total is much greater than the sum of the parts.” (see video clip above). One of Jobs’ greatest talents was as an editor, selecting what not to include in a product. It was that ability which helped him save Apple from going off in 18 different directions and do a few things better than any other company.

Even when it looked like Apple was down for the count, Jobs never gave up. He stood up as Apple’s lone defender and knew exactly what he had to do to get it back on track. “Apple was a loser, and he was honest, laid out a grand vision, and then made it happen,” recalls Adeo Ressi of the Founder Institute. “All the great minds that I know think that this was his defining moment in Apple.” Watch the entire Q&A session below.