Would Steve Jobs Consider You a Bozo?

The world is filled with admirers of Steve Jobs, and rightfully so. The man was an incredible visionary, innovator, speaker, businessman, leader, and communicator. His impact has left little untouched.  One overlooked talent though, was his use of simple language to convey his passion for a product or service. How many times did we hear him say, “insanely great, phenomenal, awesome, revolutionary, amazing, and of course magical?

His word choice was in sync with his passion for minimalism in design and the simple elegance of his presentation. Uncomplicated. Straightforward. Direct. Powerful. The advertisements, stores, packaging, and even his dress embodied this motif.

He chose simple words, but words powerful in their connotations. They were chosen with care. They were delivered with passion. They told a story.

My favorite term Jobs used was when he called someone or their idea a Bozo.

Bozo was a term Steve would use to describe someone that just didn’t get it. A bozo to him was someone that was more interested in the bureaucracy of business rather than innovation. A bozo was someone that was ineffective and someone that wasn’t authentic. A bozo was someone who focused on what wasn’t important. Basically a bozo was anyone Steve didn’t respect.

I recently read an article though about his use of the term bozo at NeXt. According to NeXt employees, you could go from bozo to genius in months if you eventually got it and performed. (Better yet, outperformed.) And I am sure you could probably drop back down again too.

Many think Steve burned bridges, but I don’t think that is the case at all.  Sure, he was competitive and occasionally became upset, but I still remember the shock I had, and later conceded to the brilliance of his move, when he partnered Apple with Microsoft. When you consider all of the deals he made with the record industry, artists, television companies, and publishers, you realize he built far more bridges than he ever burned.

Steve Jobs had standards, incredibly high ones, for himself, his staff, and the corporations he created.  The results speak for themselves. Bozos either don’t have standards or they break them.  Bozos lack vision or don’t follow it. Bozos place business over delivering a quality service or product.

Don’t want Steve Jobs to think you are a bozo? Do the following:

  • Be original. Don’t steal the work others. Create. Don’t copy. March to the beat of your own drum.
  • Set high standards and hold others to high standards.
  • Be prouder of what you didn’t do, than what you did.
  • Have a vision. Focus on it and chase it down.
  • Understand and emphasize the relationship between product/service and the client.
  • Know the story behind why you do what you do.
  • Do what you love.
  • Give more than you take.

These are just my observations of a man I never met, but a man who impacted my life more than most of those whom I have.

I will work hard not to be a bozo.

Kelly Croy is a chalk artist and professional speaker.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

including corporations, schools, churches, conferences,

and anywhere people come together to be entertained and inspired.

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.