Steve Jobs has been hailed as a creative crusader, a technology pioneer and an entrepreneurial wizard. He’s known for insanely great products that are both functional and elegant and are at the forefront of commercial innovation.

As co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. and later CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, the iconoclastic business leader and entrepreneurial icon has almost single-handedly transformed the way we compute, communicate, play music and view video.

He’s adept at foreseeing and setting trends. His strategy of focusing on the most profitable customers and coming up with new, exciting things to sell them has made Apple Inc. a formidable success.

But at the same time, much has been made of Jobs’ mercurial and demanding personality.

He is both admired and criticized for his charismatic salesmanship and for his volatile management style. His unique blend of fiery temper and chill temperament is embedded in virtually all of Apple’s products: think iMacs, iBooks, iPods and the new iPad.

Are there lessons from Steve Jobs’ experience that can be applied to your business? Here are a few:

  • Stop at nothing to ensure excellence.
  • Make a full-on, no-holds-barred commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Know your customers and give them what they want.
  • Don’t be afraid to buck conventional wisdom.
  • Let go of things that aren’t working or aren’t central to your vision.
  • Never compromise on quality.

For that matter, never compromise on style, functionality, innovation or presentation either. Above all, don’t be afraid to blaze a trail. As Steve Jobs has shown, that trail just may lead to greatness.

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