Better Society: In recession you have less excuse to start a company

I know a lot of people procrastinate and come up with excuses why they can’t start a new company. In this article at Fast Company it gives you reasons why it is a good idea to start during this period:

If you don’t believe me, take it from Fred Smith, who founded FedEx in 1973, at the start of a two-year recession. Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft in 1975, when the country was still suffering from stagflation and flat GDP. Ted Turner started CNN in 1980, during the first slide in what was to become known as a ‘double dip’ recession; Steve Jobs rejuvenated Apple in the midst of the dot-com bust.

Entrepreneurs like these, who launch when no one else seems to have the guts, do reap advantages. In a recession, you can hire better people, and pay them less, than you could during a boom. Even if you’re not yet in a position to hire full-time staff, you probably have a lot more negotiating power with freelancers and vendors now than you’ve had in a long time. Rent is cheaper too, whether you’re working out of your apartment, buying time in a commercial kitchen, or renting office space.

[We’re in a recession. Time to start a company >>]

How big an impact Steve Jobs have been on me

Being both a software engineer, technology commentator and user experience enthusiast, Steve Jobs to me have been nothing short of inspiring.

Great Systems Integrator

What stands out first and fore most was that whether it is an MP3 player, personal computer or a phone, he does not watch watch his competitors or what the consumer wants, he creates a Blue Ocean and provides consumer the answer what really works for them or how it should work for them.

Let me just say that I have used my fair share of smartphones since the palm, windows CE days and I have never encounter a device that is just so right in every way, whether it is the navigation, the focus on smooth scrolling the detail to what mainstream needs. There are not geeky integration into their product just because that is the current technological advancement.

The amazing thing is that the industry should have know this because its so intuitive yet they don’t provide for us but this man did and for that we really have to thank him for how he push the industry to be so consumer centric.

Great User Experience

Before Apple really went mainstream with the MAC OSX, IPOD and IPhone, Human Computer Interaction was not high on the industry agenda. Sure it is a good to have but the focus is on functionality and more functionality.

Steve showed that great user experience can command a premium, enhance their brand, create a following and be a competitive advantage.

To see how much emphasis he placed on details to provide that great user experience take a look at what Google’s Vic Gundotra, the current nemisis of iPhone have to say about Jobs:

One Sunday morning, January 6th, 2008 I was attending religious services when my cell phone vibrated. As discreetly as possible, I checked the phone and noticed that my phone said "Caller ID unknown". I choose to ignore.

After services, as I was walking to my car with my family, I checked my cell phone messages. The message left was from Steve Jobs. "Vic, can you call me at home? I have something urgent to discuss" it said.

Before I even reached my car, I called Steve Jobs back. I was responsible for all mobile applications at Google, and in that role, had regular dealings with Steve. It was one of the perks of the job.

"Hey Steve – this is Vic", I said. "I’m sorry I didn’t answer your call earlier. I was in religious services, and the caller ID said unknown, so I didn’t pick up".

Steve laughed. He said, "Vic, unless the Caller ID said ‘GOD’, you should never pick up during services".

I laughed nervously. After all, while it was customary for Steve to call during the week upset about something, it was unusual for him to call me on Sunday and ask me to call his home. I wondered what was so important?

"So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I’ve already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow" said Steve.

"I’ve been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I’m not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn’t have the right yellow gradient. It’s just wrong and I’m going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?"

Of course this was okay with me. A few minutes later on that Sunday I received an email from Steve with the subject "Icon Ambulance". The email directed me to work with Greg Christie to fix the icon.

Since I was 11 years old and fell in love with an Apple II, I have dozens of stories to tell about Apple products. They have been a part of my life for decades. Even when I worked for 15 years for Bill Gates at Microsoft, I had a huge admiration for Steve and what Apple had produced.

But in the end, when I think about leadership, passion and attention to detail, I think back to the call I received from Steve Jobs on a Sunday morning in January. It was a lesson I’ll never forget. CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow. On a Sunday.

To one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever met, my prayers and hopes are with you Steve.

Great Disruptor

He created one of the most disruptive company in history. The music industry doesn’t know how to make sense of the music piracy scene and he created a device people would use and distribute music through it. That probably save the industry.

He make the retail market and phone manufacturers sit up and be serious (after they all say he is going to fail) about how the industry will change with their product offering.

How have Steve Jobs influence you?