Jobs and his impact on Indian CEOs

October 7th, 2011

Sitting in Cupertino, he visualized how people across the globe would alter their gadget habits and predicted what they would appreciate. That was Steve Jobs. Mass-market was a term he did not live by and we’re glad he chose quality over everything else.

Even though we may argue that India never became that “consumption market” for Apple devices, the 56-year old visionary sure made an impact that multiplied virally among the young consumers and got our globe-trotting Indian CEOs hooked to the brand.

Here are some voices that you would be glad you read.

Raj Nayak
CEO, Colors

I woke up this morning to see an email from my daughter in Los Angeles letting me know that Steve Jobs had died. My twitter was abuzz with tributes to the man who some say was the greatest visionary of our time. It occurred to me that even though I had never met the man, he influenced me and so many others in a profound way that I cannot fully express with words. Jobs, and by default, Apple revolutionized technology as we know it. From the iPod that changed the way we listen to music, to the iPad that changed the way we live our lives, his creations were the stepping stone to technological advancement. He made computers user-friendly to the point where everyone from the age of 4 can now skill fully use one making even a person like me feel tech savvy.

I don’t think there is any place one can travel on the face of the earth that has not been touched by Jobs and his work. Although Jobs was primarily known for Apple, he was also the creator of Pixar, an animation company that gave us Toy Story and Finding Nemo, movies that played a pivotal role in the lives of so many of our children. In India too, he was the icon of the educated young generation.

However, Steve Jobs will stay with me forever not because of the achievements he made in his career, but rather because of the philosophy that he preached, one that we can all learn from. His 2005 Stanford commencement speech is perhaps one of the most eloquent and meaningful speeches I have ever heard.

When addressing the question of death, he simply stated “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

“There are many people who get recognition when they are alive, only a few get recognition in death & those who do, become immortal. Steve jobs is one of them, as someone said on twitter today, he will trend forever.” I may not have known Steve Jobs, but I do know that he is one of the few great men who had the courage and conviction to follow his heart and for that he will always be an inspiration to me.


Alok Kejriwal
CEO & founder, Games2Win

I have had some amazing experiences at the Apple iStore:

Once, when I was looking for an iPhone accessory, the usual friendly ‘Blue Tee’ Apple store employee came up to me and asked me what I wanted. Before I answered, I felt a little uncomfortable – he was not looking at me while speaking but rather to the side. In the another second, a large Labrador dog brushed passed me and that’s when I realized that the employee was sight impaired and the dog was his guide. The person helped me like any other employee did and I was stunned – because this taught me that the world’s greatest tech companies puts what matters first – people

In most Apple stores, I had got used to standing quietly in queues and then approaching the counter for the product and making payments etc. In the Santa Monica store, the store assistant asked if I would like to ‘pay’. I bit confused I said ‘yes’ and gave her my credit card. She swiped it on her iPhone there and then (using Square - and then came the best part – the small invoice (which also now I only request via e-mail) printed under the table via ‘hidden’ printers. So, this store had NO ‘cashier’ counters – no real estate that had nothing to do with the product!

What I like about Apple Stores the most is their ability to surprise. Once I returned a pair of earphones whose side ‘rubber’ rim had worn off. The employee took the ear phone inside, and then returned saying ‘Sir, these are 1.6 years old – they are beyond the guarantee period but here is a new pair just because we love you.


Jaspreet Bindra
Regional Director: Retail, Entertainment & Devices: India at Microsoft

Steve Jobs was a visionary – he rewrote the rules of the music and the communication business, and helped shape the PC and technology industry to what it is today. To me personally, his biggest impact was to bring a sense of product design and aesthetics to what were considered as ‘industrial’ products. This is reflected in the almost austere simplicity he brought to technology – his products look good and work well. His famous Stanford address encouraging people to ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’ has inspired me not to be afraid to challenge the status quo, to think out of the box, and celebrate creativity and innovation.

To quote Bill Gates, “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had…for those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor.” For those who were not lucky enough to work with him to, it was an insanely great honour too.


Devita Saraf
CEO, Vu Technologies

We lived in the time of Steve Jobs. Great human beings go down history when their actions have a profound impact on the lives of the people in that era. Steve Jobs’ products, through which
he expressed his creativity and leadership, are about complex technology that have been made simple. Simplicity itself it’s a great challenge. Two weeks ago I was in a restaurant in Lower Parel where the waiters were taking the orders on an iPad. None of them seemed computer literate but the ease with which their fingers tapped away just showed the brilliance of Apple’s products. I hope that schools and colleges will be inspired by Jobs’ style of creative leadership and pass it down to their students, and say that its ok to be different. The path to succeed is not only about being the best, but also being comfortable in being different.

Thank you, Steve for your living example.


Nishant Verman
Associate at Canaan Partners India

Here’s an easy exercise. Think of a CEO who is more worried about delighting his customers than pleasing Wall Street. A leader bold enough to reinvent established markets because he truly understands what his customer wants. A founder forced out of his own company, but his passion for his ‘baby’ brought him back, and led him to greatness. I am sure there’s only one person that comes to mind – Steve Jobs.

For me, Jobs embodies the most important characteristic of a leader, founder and CEO – the almost maniacal focus and drive to rally his team around understanding and fulfilling customer needs. From my iPod to the iPad, each device is testament to Jobs’ vision to make my experiences as a consumer rich and enjoyable. Many years ago when I first heard of the iPod, I never realized how deliberate the “i” was in the branding. Today I look back and the vision is simple and clear, each promise that was made has been fulfilled. I start my day jogging with Apple, at work call using Apple, and at night browse in my bed using Apple. I am a fulfilled customer.

For India and Indian companies, Steve Jobs holds an even more important aspirational role. At a time when we are transitioning from services to products, he is our guiding light for what a customer driven process should look like. That KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) is not a bad thing. That your product can have all the bells and whistles, but not everything needs to be poking the user in the face. And of course, the importance of generating passion for your offering – can you get your customer to wait in the freezing cold overnight just to get their hands on your product?
I will miss you, Steve Jobs – as your loyal customer and ardent admirer. But you will live on forever in your products, and in the millions of products that you inspired. RIP.

Salil Bhargava
CEO, Zeebo Interactive Studios

I read about the passing of Steve Jobs on my iMac. As I think of the impact Jobs has had on me as a person, my 5-year-old daughter is doodling on the iPad and my 2½ year old son is playing angry birds on my iPhone. The beauty of his genius lies in the simplicity of the products he designed. If you can create a device that a 2½ year old to an 80 year old can use instinctively, then the people in between are merely a cake-walk.

It was his genius, which revolutionized the music industry with the iPod, and then again the gaming industry with the iPhone, iPad and the iTunes store. He gave a new lease of life to the mobile games industry and inspired a lot of us in the business to stay the course.

He was often quoted as saying, “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” I think he created a new universe. He was obsessive about product quality and built things to delight a consumer and empower actual users. The success of kids apps on the iPad made me believe that there is a huge untapped market for this space in India and led me to my current gig at Zeebo. One of the greatest joys in my career was to once be named by Mobile Entertainment magazine on a list of ’50 most influential people in mobile entertainment ’- simply because the list was topped by Steve Jobs. To my mind he was the greatest entrepreneur of our generation.

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