What Steve Jobs Taught Me About Real Estate Investing
Steve Jobs was a unique genius who transformed the world because he believed he could. He has been called the modern day Thomas Edison, the Beethoven of business, and the most prolific visionary since Henry Ford. He has left us with so much more than incredible technology.
I never met him. I never saw him in person. I never spoke to him on the phone. Yet, I respected the man and his genius, and I am deeply saddened by the loss. Steve Jobs changed the world, because he was crazy enough to believe he could. The reality is that even if you have never owned an Apple product, Steve Jobs has impacted your life. Here are some real estate investment lessons I learned from Steve Jobs:
1. Think Different "Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…the ones who see things differently--they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things--they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Lesson: The wealthiest people never followed and maintained the status quo. They thought differently and acquired real estate by taking risks.
2. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish "Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it."
Lesson: People first, then money. It is always about people and relationships. Money will follow.
3. Lead from the Front "You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new."
4. Strive for Perfection "When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You'll know it's there, so you're going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through."
Lesson: Most wealthy people take care of the details. The little things do matter when analysing a real estate investment.
5. Love What You Do "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."
Lesson: Love what you do and the money will follow.
6. Put Passion First He followed his heart and let the operational details fall into place.
7. Never Limit Your Imagination He always imagined the ideal solution or product and never cut corners or watered down his most potent ideas due to setbacks or fear.
Lesson: Be creative about financing your real estate investment. If you don't have the money, joint venture. Trade your time for money.
8. Pursue Greatness Over Money Jobs didn’t chase the mighty dollar. Rather, he focused on making the biggest possible impact and the money followed.
Lesson: Be the best real estate investor you can be. Share your successes and failures.
9. Demand Excellence Critics complain of his exacting style and “unrealistic” demands. There’s a natural gravitational force of mediocrity, and sometimes it takes an aggressive stance to rise above the sea of sameness.
10. Challenge Conventional Wisdom When there were norms, he lived to shatter them. Nearly every step of his success can be traced to inspired thinking that stuck his finger in the eye of the complacent incumbents.
Lesson: Be original. Don't look for investment properties where everybody else is looking.
11. Simplify Enough said.
Lesson: Less is more.
12. Ignore the Naysayers If he listened to the “sound advice” of others, we’d never even know his name. He never let the fear of others interfere with his own trajectory.
13. Persist While today he sits victorious, there were many times he nearly lost it all. There were dark days at Apple, Pixar, and even in his personal life. Where others throw in the towel, Steve stared into the abyss and never accepted defeat.
Lesson: If your offer is not accepted...pursue another opportunity. BUT, take action and make that offer.
14. Never Pigeonhole Steve wasn’t a “computer executive.” He was a visionary change agent and could not be constrained. He realized his calling was far beyond any categorical label.
Lesson: Don't underestimate the potential of smaller real estate markets. They may not be sexy, but many have positive cash flow
15. Push Beyond What You Think is Possible When Steve heard “that can’t be done,” it only emboldened his resolve. He constantly drove himself and others to reach new heights.
Lesson: if you are confident that real estate will help you achiev your financial goals, work hard to make it possible.
Steve famously said he wanted to “put a ding in the universe.” You have done that, my friend, and so much more. The impact you’ve made is immeasurable, and has inspired a generation to “think different.” Thank you for taking the path less travelled, for conquering the never-been-done, and for leading with purpose. Thank you for changing the world.