The Legacy Of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976, with Jobs playing the part of strategic visionary and businessman, while Wozniak serving as the engineering expert who translated the vision into products. Neither brought any experience running a company into the Apple venture. Mike Markkula, one of Apple’s earliest investors and sources of business expertise, addressed this by bringing in his friend Michael Scott as Apple’s first CEO. Markkula himself became CEO in 1981 after Scott’s departure.

In 1983, Jobs himself recruited John Sculley from PepsiCo for Apple’s next CEO, even though he already saw himself as the right person for the job. It was clear that Apple’s board wasn’t confident in Jobs’s ability to lead. His reputation for managerial callousness and obsession with detail was well known and considered a liability for the CEO’s office.

By 1985, the power struggle came to a head. Jobs had led the initial development of the Lisa, the first computer with a graphical user interface (GUI). While a technical marvel, it was not a commercial success. His follow-up project, the Macintosh, had better sales, but nowhere near enough to shake IBM’s control of the PC market. It was the beginning of the end. Sculley, acting on direction from the Apple board, tried to limit Jobs’s efforts to launch expensive products in untested markets. After a failed boardroom coup attempt by Jobs, he resigned and founded NeXT.

Featured Sponsors:


NeXT’s trajectory followed a similar pattern as Apple: technically impressive products—delivered late, priced beyond what most consumers could pay—failed to find market traction. In its first post-Jobs era, Apple saw remarkable success. The Mac offered color and the first PowerBook laptop was released. But there were flops as well and a costly strategic error in microprocessor technology that kept the price point of Macs out of reach for many potential customers.

Gil Amelio became CEO in 1996 and it was his idea to acquire NeXT and its NeXTSTEP operating system. The move returned Jobs to Apple as an advisor. It would also be Amelio’s undoing. The next year, an anonymous party sold 1.5 million Apple shares in a single transaction. As a result, Apple shares fell to a 12-year low. In the next weeks, Jobs convinced the board to fire Amelio and make him interim CEO. Jobs later confessed that he was the anonymous seller of the Apple stock.

By August 1997, Jobs brought in a new board and mended business fences with long-time rival Bill Gates. Microsoft announced a $150 million investment in Apple at the Macworld conference. In 1998, Apple introduced the iMac, its all-in-one computer, reinforcing the company’s turnaround. In 2000, Apple officially dropped the “interim” from Steve Jobs’ title of CEO. Steve Jobs said, ”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. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Featured Sponsors:

In his exclusive biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson writes about the man and the inevitable and often difficult intersection of personality and inventive success.

Let’s look at some of the traits Walter Isaacson considered the keys to Job’s success:

Focus: Jobs returned to Apple with something to prove, and he would prove it by focusing on the core business as he understood it. Apple’s product line was a mishmash of computers, gaming consoles, cameras, and printers. Jobs dumped products, slashed R&D projects from 50 to 10, and laid off over 2,000 employees. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” Jobs said. “That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.” Instead of making more products, he focused Apple on making only four computers, one for highly specific market segments. By getting Apple to focus on making just four computers, he saved the company.

Simplify: When designing the iPod interface, Jobs looked at every angle to reduce extraneous click for decisions that users shouldn’t have to make. One proposed navigation screen required users to specify if they wanted to search by song, album, or artist. “Why do we need that screen?” Jobs demanded. The designers realized they didn’t. As a result, the device does what a human brain will do: search all artificial categories (Is it a song? Is it an artist?) for any matches to the keywords supplied to it.

Take Responsibility End to End: Jobs was a controlling person, and while that made him dig in on decisions that were questionable, it also brought order to what could have been a disjointed product experience. He envisioned an Apple ecosystem that allowed for an intuitive, integrated user experience with connected Apple devices. This was not a matter of making an elegant product; it was about making the suite of products that worked together to create an experience greater than any single component.

Featured Sponsors:

When Behind, Leapfrog: No company, regardless of its innovative leadership, will always be first with a new idea. The trick is to know when you’re behind and then use that position to catapult ahead. In Jobs’s own assessment, he missed the first wave of digital music technology by being blind to user behavior. The original iMac was geared to managing photos and video, but not music. Competitor PCs provided the avenue for downloading and swapping music and then burning personal CDs. The iMac’s slot drive couldn’t burn CDs. He could have simply upgraded the the iMac’s CD drive, but instead he created an integrated system (again, end-to-end ownership) that transformed the music industry. The resulting combination of iTunes, the iTunes Store, and the iPod allowed users to buy, share, manage, store, and play music better than they could with other devices.

According to Google, Steve Jobs is still the most interesting tech CEO. Steve Jobs may be gone, but clearly he’s not forgotten. The mythology around the man is so strong that even five years after his death he still dominates online discussion, more popular than Apple CEO, Tim Cook; the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk; Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg; and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Steve Jobs said it best in 1995: “Of all the inventions of humans, the computer is going to rank near or at the top as history unfolds and we look back. It is the most awesome tool that we have ever invented. I feel incredibly lucky to be at exactly the right place in Silicon Valley, at exactly the right time, historically, where this invention has taken form.”

This article cannot begin to explore the life of Steve Jobs in detail, but I hope it will give you a snapshot and encourage you to read ”Steve Jobs,” by Walter Isaacson, the official biography published in 2011.

About The Author

Roger Gudobba

Roger Gudobba is passionate about the importance of quality data and its role in improving the mortgage process. He is an industry thought leader and chief executive officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association. Roger has over 30 years of mortgage experience and an active participant in the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) for 17 years. He was a Mortgage Banking Technology All-Star in 2005. He was the recipient of Mortgage Technology Magazine’s Steve Fraser Visionary Award in 2004 and the Lasting Impact Award in 2008. Roger can be reached at

Success = Vision Experience & KnowHow

The late great Steve Jobs was nothing if not a visionary. With the introduction of the original Apple PC in 1984 to Macbooks, the iPod and likely his most transformational invention, the iPhone, Jobs and his core crew of technologists forever changed the global computing landscape delivering innovation that leapfrogged competitors’ imaginations. So how does someone garner so much clarity of vision and how do they translate that vision into tangible benefit?

Despite potentially stating the insanely obvious, I contend that technology innovators garner vision from decades of experience and translate concepts to reality by surrounding themselves with like minded, highly talented “do-ers” who are driven to deliver game changing results.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

One of Steve Jobs’ key tenets was always, “Don’t beat the competition at their game; Redefine the Game.” In the 1990s, Jobs gained valuable experience with both the technology and usability of smaller mobile computing devices with the launch of his “Newton.” While this product failed to capture mindshare, Jobs did capture valuable experience, biding his time until technologies matured. In the early 2000’s he launched the iPod, mastering core data synchronization functionality; and a few years later in 2007 he announced the iPhone whose time had finally come. Based on prior experience and technical knowhow, Steve could clearly envision a world of handhelds enabling real-time infotainment rather than mere person-to-person conversations. The rest is history.

I believe the mortgage landscape is on the precipice of similar upheaval and firms who have the Vision, Experience and Knowhow to deliver will similarly redefine the game. So, who will these firms be? What will they deliver? and How can we recognize them? If we follow the Steve Jobs formula they may have the following profile:

Their Vision

To win the precious few new borrowers in today’s lower margin, stricter regulatory environment, lenders need a Transformational Digital Origination Platform. This platform should be designed with flexible modules that work together seamlessly or can “plug in” as independent components to “jumpstart” a specific piece of outdated functionality. The multi-channel solution will connect all parties to the transaction, automate product eligibility, pricing and fees, use workflow to dramatically improve productivity, enforce upfront compliance through data validation and calculations, and significantly lower costs and maintenance headaches all while helping lenders maximize customer satisfaction.

Featured Sponsors:

[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

Their Experience

These firms will be comprised of mortgage veterans with a track record of innovation and success working with the most demanding lenders to deliver highly scalable solutions that dramatically improved business processes and outcomes. They have the DNA to see solutions to problems before others see the problem exists.

Their KnowHow

At their core, these firms solve puzzles. They are unable to rest on their laurels and they thrive on leveraging the latest proven tools to bypass prior limitations. They maximize the use of Cloud-Based technologies, Web Frameworks, Open Standards and proven Mobile solutions to deliver an integrated digital platform that mirrors their vision for the industry.

In 2008, Steve Jobs’ iPhone vision became reality with 11.7 million units sold. In 2014 that number grew 1600%. He and his teams transformed the way we all interact with information and each other. Similarly, it feels like the time is right for mortgage technology solutions to redefine the way our industry operates, sending it on a new growth trajectory.

About The Author


Rob Strickland is Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Blue Sage Solutions, a provider of next generation integrated digital CRM, Loan Fulfillment and Mobile platforms, designed to deliver superior customer service, intelligent loan manufacturing, and regulatory compliance. He can be reached at

If Jobs Was A Builder

Even several years after his death, the name Steve Jobs draws a crowd. To be specific, an overflow crowd at Urban Land Institute’s fall meeting last month in Chicago, where the topic was what kind of bold innovations the legendary Apple founder would be undertaking had he been a residential developer.

“There has been very little true innovation over the last 50 years” in how homes are designed and built, said moderator Beth Callender of Greenhaus, a marketing and branding ad agency in San Diego, who asked the audience to shout out what changes Jobs might champion.

One yelled out something about disposable houses, another spoke about taking building regulations out of the hands of local politicians and allowing them to be written on a more coherent regional or state-wide basis.

“Our industry has largely been stuck” in the middle of the Bell Curve, said panelist Brett Herrington, president of Kukui’ula Development, which is building 1,000-acre master planned community on the southern coast of Kauai in Hawaii. “The biggest thing that’s happened is that housing has gotten bigger at about the same inflation-adjusted price per square foot.”

Consequently, Herrington postulized, Jobs would tinker with how space is used, and design a product salespeople would be proud to show and demonstrate for would-be buyers. “There’s a huge opportunity for the brightest minds in the business to come together and dare each other to do something different,” he said.

Builder-developer Randall Lewis tended to agree, maintaining that the housing sector “doesn’t do a good job building brand loyalty.” Jobs knew his customers better than they knew themselves, Lewis reminded, suggesting that as a builder, Jobs would “enhance the customer experience.”

Houses “should be more than just shelter,” said Lewis, who believes Jobs would have made his houses smarter than the competition. The California builder also thinks the Apple designer would be offering “more great looking houses at more price points” to attract the greatest number of buyers.

Nothing that Jobs married a couple of industries, another participant, Morad Fareed, co-founder of Delos Living, a New York-based real estate development company which is pioneering a new standard for healthy buildings, saw a “natural merger” of housing and wellness.. Builders should integrate medicine into their products to help prevent disease, improve energy levels and lengthen occupants’ life spans, he said.

“Why stop at building just houses?” asked Fareed, whose firm has married science and architecture, reshaping how homes are built to place well-being and personal sustainability at the heart of design and construction decisions.

Herrington, who spent some years at Disney’s award-winning Celebration development in Orlando, said Jobs would have insisted on more intelligent design and more efficient use of space – walls that can pivot out of the way, rooms that can be moved based on the season.

“It’s not about putting more gizmos in houses,” he said, maintaining that “by and large, residential architecture is vary sad.” Jobs’ houses, he said, “wouldn’t look like tacky little places. It would be about groupings, living spaces in the context of the way people live. There wouldn’t be rooms, it would be flexible space, private and shared. ”

Asked what innovations seems inevitable, Lewis suggested that energy would become more important. Energy is “not going to cost less,:” he said. “It’s no longer about what we are doing to our climate, it’s about what our climate is doing to us.”

The California builder also sees the end of hardwire telephone lines, and possibly even the demise of the television set. TV sets “are no longer the center of entertainment” they used to be, he said, suggesting that even flat-screen sets “are on the edge of completely disappearing” because people are relying more and more on laptops and hand-held devices.

In a sort of “Back to the Future” idea, Herrington said the community of the future would have more core-like areas that bring together houses and employment. “Whether its some great revelation or just natural forces,” he offered, “builders will find more ways to bring things back together again the way the used to be.”

About The Author


Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing and mortgage markets for more years then he cares to remember, starting as real estate editor at the long defunct Washington Daily News and Washington Star newspapers and finishing with a three-decade stint with National Mortgage News. His weekly column, The Housing Scene, is syndicated to newspapers throughout the country.

Video Insights: Charting A Path To Success

*Charting A Path To Success*
**Industry Insiders Speak Out**

***In this edition of the PROGRESS in Lending Association Video Newscast, it’s all about helping lenders grow their business. First, Straight Talkers Roger Gudobba and Kelly Purcell chat about how lenders can take a page from Steve Jobs to ensure success. Following that, Brian Bates at Wilson & Muir Bank & Trust Co. discusses how his company has grown their online channel and increased pullthrough using a new LOS. Also, Michael Hammond of NexLevel details how you can develop the most compelling call to action through using the Internet and e-mail to the fullest. Watch all this and more.