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This Advice From Steve Jobs Is Only 5 Words, But It Teaches a Master Class in How to Build a Great Business

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The year was 1984. It was shortly before Steve Jobs left Apple and several years before Jobs would go on to conduct one of the biggest turnarounds in business history, bringing Apple from the brink of bankruptcy to become one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Jobs was giving an interview to Michael Moritz, who at the time was a reporter covering Silicon Valley. In the interview, Jobs argued that the key to his success, what truly set him apart, wasn’t a superior design sense, or any other special gift.

“Things get more refined as you make mistakes and do them,” Jobs told Moritz. “So I’ve had a chance to make a lot of mistakes. Your aesthetics get better as you make mistakes.”

“But a real big thing is, the way I’ve always felt is, that if you’re going to make something, it doesn’t take any more energy–and rarely does it take more money–to make it really great,” continued Jobs. “All it takes is a little more time. Not that much more. And a willingness to do so: a willingness to persevere until it’s really great.”

There’s a great message in perseverance for anyone trying to build a better product or business. But it all starts with five key words from Jobs:

“Make a lot of mistakes.”

Jobs’s “make a lot of mistakes” philosophy is emotionally intelligent because it allows you to shift your mindset. It takes the process of making mistakes, which most view as negative, and reframes it as an integral key to making your business or product better.

Let’s break down a story from Apple’s history that illustrates the value of this advice, and see how you can apply it as you build your own business. (If you enjoy this story and lesson, consider signing up for my free seven-day course, which uses similar stories and scientific research that teaches you how to build emotional intelligence.)

How to get better: Make a lot of mistakes

Fast forward to 2001, and Jobs had already begun Apple’s turnaround. However, the company faced an unexpected dilemma.

The iPod had just been released and became an overnight sensation. Designers and executives at Apple were understandably thrilled, but they also knew they needed to keep innovating–fast.

Why? Because the next logical step was to place MP3 players inside cell phones. It was only a matter of time before a major phone manufacturer figured out how to do it, which would make the revolutionary iPod obsolete.

And herein lay the problem…

Apple didn’t make cell phones.

To avoid losing their market share, designers quickly got to work on the first prototype of an Apple cell phone. Tony Fadell, one of the original designers, described it as “an iPod with a phone module…if you wanted to dial a number, it was like using a rotary dial.”

His conclusion? “It sucked.”

Jobs scrapped the entire project and went back to the drawing board. He pulled up plans from 1993’s Apple Newton–the company’s first attempt at a touchscreen device (and one of its biggest flops of all time.) But a decade had passed, technology had advanced, and touchscreen research had improved. Jobs took one look at the plans and said, “Maybe this is the phone.”

And the rest is history.

Stories like these illustrate the value in Jobs’s philosophy: Apple’s success hasn’t been based on getting everything right the first time. In fact, critics say that the company doesn’t actually innovate. After all, the Mac wasn’t the first computer, the iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone, and the iPad wasn’t the first tablet.

However, Apple has built a reputation for “getting things right.” They find creative ways to take design, functionality, and user experience to the next level and give the public products they adore.

So, how do you apply this lesson to your business?

Let’s say you want to build an online course, or an app, or some other product. Start by studying your competitors, and identifying what problems or gaps their product has. How can you fill those gaps? Use that question to guide your process.

As you do that, you may be tempted to wait until your product is perfect before launch, or to beta test forever using a small test group. You shouldn’t. No matter how much you research, test, and iterate it won’t be perfect. Remember, the Newton was a total failure…and even the iPhone didn’t come close to iPhone two, or three…or ten.

Instead, make things as good as you can, and ship. Use user feedback (and your own good sense) to help you identify what needs to be improved. Then, improve. And keep improving. Continue to revise your product, again and again, then…

Persevere until it’s great.

Above all, remember: Mistakes are part of the journey. The more mistakes you make, the more chances you have to refine and improve.

All you need is a little more time, and the desire to see it through. Because if you can persevere, the result will be nothing short of greatness.

This article was originally published in the original United States edition of Inc. or on inc.com and is the copyright property of Mansueto Ventures LLC, which reserves all rights.

Arts and Culture

Why would Americans rather drive their car for days than take the train?

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In the USA, taking a train is more complicated than flying or driving. Train stations are in shady neighborhoods where you don’t want to walk or park your car. In Europe and Asia, the stations are in the center and you can hop on the Metro train from the main train station.

Further, in the USA, freight rail takes the right-of-way, so your train may be delayed 12 hours or so. It’s not convenient. It’s more of an ‘experience’ to take the train than a convenience.

 

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The story of a London woman who lay dead unnoticed for two years

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Joyce Vincent was a 38-year-old woman from London with a family and friends. It over two years for people to realize she had died.

Joyce Vincent’s apartment that is on the messy side with piles of unopened mail by the door and a sink full of dishes. There’s a glow from the television playing BBC1 and a pile of wrapped Christmas presents waiting to be sent out.

This was the state of the apartment that belonged to Joyce Vincent when officials from a north London housing association entered it. Vincent was there too. However, she was almost entirely unidentifiable. Her body was mostly decomposed, as she had been dead for just over two years.

Joyce lived in London in a bedsit, a type of social housing in the United Kingdom. The officials who came to her apartment on January 5, 2006 were there to repossess it due to unpaid rent. Though, it’s estimated that she died sometime in December of 2003.

Neighbors didn’t really know her, thus didn’t really notice her absence. The only detectable thing was a bad smell, which they attributed to garbage bins below the apartment.

Joyce was found on the floor, clutching a shopping bag. Because her remains were mostly skeletal, she was only able to be identified through dental records. It also had been too long to determine a cause of death, though police suggested she died of natural causes after a criminal investigation ruled out any foul play. Joyce reportedly had asthma and it’s been speculated that she may have had an attack.

With a cause of death essentially placed, only one question remained: how could someone be dead for two years and no one take notice?

Not that anyone deserves to die and go unnoticed for several years, but it was particularly strange that nobody seemed to know Joyce Vincent had passed away. She was 38 years old, she worked for most of her life, she had family and friends, and wasn’t known to be on drugs or in any legal trouble.

Carol Morley, a filmmaker who read about Joyce in the news, was so perplexed by the story that she decided to make a documentary title Dreams of a Life on it. In doing so, she tracked down people like ex-boyfriends and old colleagues of Joyce who could possibly shed some light on her mysterious death.

Martin Lister had dated Joyce Vincent for three years and kept in touch with her sporadically until 2002. He only learned of her death when he saw Morley’s ad for people connected to Joyce. The revelation shocked him as he told Morely that she was a hard worker who had great jobs.

Lister was also surprised that she had been living in public housing.

“You look back and think, I wish I’d asked more, wish I’d understood more,” he told Morley.

As more people came forward and more details emerged, it seemed that Joyce’s life was shrouded in mystery.

She had worked for the big accounting firm Ernst & Young until she quit in 2001 without giving a reason. Colleagues recalled conflicting stories about her departure. Some said she was traveling with a group of 20 people, others said she had been headhunted for another job.

An article from the Glasgow Herald reported that friends categorised her as someone “who walked out of jobs if she clashed with a colleague, and who moved from one flat to the next all over London. She didn’t answer the phone to her sister and didn’t appear to have her own circle of friends, instead relying on the company of relative strangers who came with the package of a new boyfriend, a colleague, or flatmate.”

It was also revealed that Joyce spent time between her departure from the firm and her death in a home for refugees of domestic violence.

As for family, she was the youngest of five sisters but the only one living in the U.K. Her father worked as a carpenter and her mother died when she was just a child.

Joyce had apparently isolated herself from her family in the years before her death, presumably because of the man she had chosen to date.

While the amount of time that went by after Joyce Vincent’s death continues to be baffling, it’s become clear that the life she seemed to lead didn’t always match up with what was happening beneath the surface.

It’s an ironic and coincidental tale. In the age of social media, where everyone is so connected, the idea that a seemingly average person could remain dead for over two years without anyone raising a question sounds crazy. But at the same time, just as people have a tendency to post their best selves on social media, it’s possible Joyce Vincent did this in real life. Nobody knows what happens behind closed doors.

Joyce Vincent’s story is as sad as it is strange. People like Martin Lister who knew her and found out about her death wished that they’d had stayed in contact and checked in with her more often. It serves as a reminder that person-to-person communication still has its place and is important.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has stopped dribbling but Messi hasn’t. Here’s why.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, over the years, has made many changes to his approach towards games in recent years and is more of prolific goalscorer.

The Portuguese even admitted he no longer walks onto the pitch wanting to dribble past everyone.

The former Juventus and Real Madrid man was once regarded as one of the fastest players in the world but as age has caught up with him, he is no longer the pacy winger the world witnessed in his early Madrid and Manchester United days.

Ronaldo has a different mentality to Messi. Ronaldo is described by teammates and coaches as borderline insane in how obsessed he is with winning and scoring.

As a result of playing in the UK where skill is less regarded, some natural talent, as well as this abnormal obsession with personal success, we ended up with a player who became a goal-scoring machine. He doesn’t have time to dribble. You can see that efficiency is at the heart of all of his movement and play.

Ronaldo was magnificent in his first season or two. He was skillful. He was magnificent. And probably the most skillful European player ever at that age. Other notable players in that category are Bergkamp, Henry, Figo, Mbappe.

However, with Ferguson as a guide and teammates who only cared about winning, his ‘new style’ made him an automatic choice in the starting team and within a year or two best player in the EPL.

So his dribbling stopped in England. If he does now it’s just to make a small space to shoot or score.

Messi is just a different kettle of fish. He is a South American (skill is highly rated there) and was raised in best academy for producing skillful players in Europe. Therefore his game has a somewhat European efficiency but he retained the South American style.

On a body mechanics level, he is a left footer which makes the angle he dribbles at harder to defend, he is tiny, insanely quick and very strong. Therefore his skill works more or less all the time. He hasn’t ‘needed’ to adapt his game to have success. That’s why he is somewhat one dimensional but for Barcelona with such other great players around he is an immortal.

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