How Steve Jobs Saved Apple with Focus and How You Can Save Yourself

Apple was a mess before Steve Jobs returned in 1997.

Steve had "one neat trick" to right the ship. I call it absolute focus. He started saying no. A lot.

Saying No

Focusing is about saying no. And you've got to say, "no no no." And when you say no, you piss off people...

It's never fun to say no, but many of us reflexively say yes too often. Our commitments start to overrun our time and energy levels. Overwhelm beckons.

Often these are our own side projects that we want to explore. We convince ourselves they don't count because they will be fun. Meanwhile, the number of projects was say yes to only grows.

Lousy Management

Apple suffered for several years from lousy engineering management. ... There were engineers going off in 18 different directions. Doing arguably interesting things in each one of them. Good engineers. Lousy management.

Do you have lousy self-management? When we allow ourselves to go in 18 different directions without checking our energy tolerance levels, we fail to properly manage our own ability to focus.

Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

And the result of that focus is gonna be some really great products, where the total is much greater than the sum of the parts.

Do you want your total to be greater than the sum of the work you put in?

You have to let things go.

Choose to say no to the interesting projects that aren't bringing the focus you desperately need.