In an on-stage interview, Steve captures the role of passion in driving a successful business. He says that you’ve got to love what you’re doing; otherwise, you couldn’t sustain the effort. “Without passion, any rational person would give up.” He reflects on the need for having fun, so that the journey is rewarding. Passion and drive are important, and when I worked at Apple, one aspect of the company did seem like a huge G&T campus for technically and artistically inclined adults. Passion really was in the air, and part of that was due to smart hiring (another aspect that Steve addresses) and part of that was smart culture design.
When you watch the video, be sure to keep in mind that there is a lot that goes on in a successful business that isn’t fun and exciting, but is really important. At Apple I saw this in the rigor of the product roadmap planning sessions and marketing launches. As I work with CEOs now, I find it in the ways that teams can implement strategies and plans at a consistently high level. These are the aspects of leading a business at any stage and size that involve structures and systems that keep the business (and the employee’s passion) moving forward in a productive direction. In other words, passion is essential, but it’s not the whole story.