Lesson From Steve Jobs: The Power of Inspiration

"In the last year of his life, he studies a book of paintings by Mark Rothko, an artist he hadn't known about before, thinking of what could inspire people on the walls of a future Apple campus." -Mona Simpson,

Most people probably recall the last words of Steve Jobs-"oh wow, oh wow, oh wow"-as revealed in his sister Mona Simpson's moving eulogy this week. The words have sparked a debate over what Jobs may have meant.

But there's another piece of the eulogy (hint: read the quote above) that turns the microscope inward and asks something of the reader, specifically CIOs. Even as Jobs embodied the spirit of innovation that inspired countless Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, he constantly looked for new ways to inspire his own staff.

Inspiration is the oil that greases the work; without it, the engine burns out and the whole enterprise comes to a sudden stop. Yet inspiration does not come easy.


Both CIOs and Jobs share a difficult task: finding ways to inspire engineers and technicians, a special breed of worker not prone to be emotionally moved by a piece of art.