Do You Want To Sell Sugar Water or Change The World?

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Steve Jobs was always connected with great work

Steve Jobs was always connected with great work.

He had little tolerance for people who did not strive for excellence.

I have been reading and enjoying Ken Segall’s new book, “Think Simple: How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity.”

Ken, worked for Steve and Apple.

In the book he gives two accounts of the mind of Steve Jobs at work.

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

This is what Steve Jobs asked Pepsi executive John Sculley to lure him to Apple.

On another occasion Steve needed to hire a new VP of Marketing and interviewed IBM’s Stephen Sonnenfeld.

When Sonnenfeld told him what he did at IBM, Job replied,

“Anyone can throw money at things, what are they doing that’s really good for the world?”

Then he added, “you haven’t been associated with any great work during your career?”

The interview gloriously ended by Jobs saying, “Yeah I have a problem with the work, but that’s not what really concerns me. What I can’t accept is that you were able to do this for many years and still get up in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror.”

Needless to say Sonnenfeld was not hired.

Jobs unbending approach to excellence really inspires me.

We need people who are passionate about great work, so great that through it, they will change the world for the better.

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”