Steve Jobs’ Creativity Secret: connect the dots

As much as Steve Jobs’ genius will be probably be elevated from demigod status to full-blown Jesus status over the next millennium, one thing is for sure: the guy knew how to create products and compelling messages to accompany them.

The Apple brand isn’t just a product line: it’s a statement. Owning something with an Apple logo puts you in a certain group of people. The cool group.

Jobs created a culture and a company centered around innovation and perpetual “newness”.

What if you want to start a company, but you’re just not the “idea” type? Most would-be entrepreneurs are worried that they couldn’t come up with a creative idea to save their lives.

So are some people just destined to be creative while others are doomed to a life of drudgery?

Steve didn’t seem to think so:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

Steve Jobs, Wired, February, 1995

As I’ve long said, being a jack of all trades IS a true mastery. It’s great to have a passion. But when that passion becomes so focused that you put blinders on to other experiences, creativity is inevitably stifled. Solutions and innovation come from synthesis. We must use our vast experiences to create products that people want in their lives.


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Daniel DiPiazza

Daniel is the founder and CEO of Rich20Something. A millennial business mastermind, he has successfully started three consecutive freelance businesses and scaled them to over $100K in revenue with zero startup capital. His work is regularly featured in Time Magazine, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fox News, and Yahoo! Business. His debut book, Rich20Something, publishes on May 2, 2017.