How to Use Criticism Like Steve Jobs

By May 14, 2018 December 2nd, 2021 03. Intellectual Dimension


Just Like Steve Jobs

Hi, Doug Andrew here.

Recently I was published in “The Mission” under, and I was talking about how to use criticism like Steve Jobs. Now, I’m not particularly a fan of Steve Jobs as a person and his personal life, but we can learn an incredible amount from his life and what he took a lifetime to learn. 

And it wasn’t until probably the last seven years that he came back to Apple and he actually learned how to take his criticism as his best R&D—research and development—for his next major breakthrough.

So, let me give you some examples.


Steve Jobs didn’t invent the MP3 player or the cellphone. He just made a better mousetrap. And so let’s use the iPod, for example. When he first came out with the iPod, he told his daughter, “You know what? Someday, you’re going to have a thousand songs in your pocket.” 

Well, he was able to do that with MP3 technology. He didn’t have to invent the MP3 player, he just used that as a device to put songs from various musical artists onto that iPod, for 99 cents a tune with iTunes.

Now, the music industry was scarcity-minded, and they didn’t like that. For years, they thought the only way we make money is when people buy 10 or 12 or 14 songs on a full album or a CD. “Get away from here, Mr. Jobs! We can’t make money at 99 cents a download.” 

Now they love him. Now the songs, I think, are $1.29 or whatever. Now there are tons of different tunes that we can download on that iPod.


But this is what he learned, when people first got that, they began to criticize. 

“That’s a little bit bulky and too big. I’m a jogger.” 

Instead of taking offense, “Oh, I got it wrong,” he came out with the Nano, and then people said, “I could strap that on arm, but I wish I could just clip that on my running shorts.”

Thank you! So he comes out with the [Shuffle] clip. 

I own all of them, and I’m a Microsoft guy. Now, that was taking criticism, and it was his R&D for his next breakthrough. When he came out with the iPad, critics said, “Oh, who needs a tablet? I mean, we’ve got laptops, we’ve got PDAs. Who wants a tablet?”

Actually, in the Old Testament in the Bible, in Isaiah, Chapter 3, I’ve read for years that in the last days there will be people who will be caught up with their changeable suits and apparel, their clothes and their nose jewels and their earrings, and their trinkets and their tablets. 

I never sorta figured, “What does that mean?” Well, I travel all over the country, and at airports and so forth, I see people all looking at their tablets.

So, Jobs came out with the idea. He had critics, but he still introduced it. And when people said, “That’s a little bit too bulky for my purse,” thank you! And so he came out with the iPad mini. We have all of them. Our grandkids in our living room when we gather on Sundays after dinner, there’s probably 13 or 14 iPads being dominated by the grandchildren. 

Now, when he came out with technology for the phone, he didn’t invent the cellphone. He said, “I’m going to make a platform.” And now we have something like 1.3 million apps. He didn’t have to develop the apps. He created the smart phone.

[DOUG TELLS THE STORY … of his granddaughter finding a rotary phone in the attic. Mystified, she asked how it worked, and was disenchanted to learn it didn’t do anything else but make phone calls.]

See, Steve Jobs learned how to take the criticism, and that was his next major breakthrough. When we don’t take offense, and we have constructive criticism, we need to learn from that, and it’s usually the actual raw material for our next breakthrough in life.  



– It’s normal to resist and even rebuff criticism.

– If we can instead use criticism as a catalyst for improvement, we can achieve significant breakthroughs, just as Steve Jobs did with major game-changers like the iPod, iPad, and iPhone.

Leave a Reply