How to Make Profits: Lessons from Steve Jobs and Apple

In 2010, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone4 at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Hard-wired into each of us is the simple truth that if we come together with the intent to give to one another, everyone gives and everyone receives. If we come together to take, no one gives and no one receives.

Want to make money? Make people happy. Help them enjoy. Give them products and services that create fulfillment and satisfaction. Give them smiles.

Here’s a great example: Steve Jobs and Apple.

It wasn’t even ten years ago that the iPod came out, offering more songs, more choices, and better quality. Thanks to Apple’s ingenuity, billions of people around the globe listen to the music of their choice at a level of clarity, tone, and richness available to only the most elite 100 years ago.

Apple conceived of a product that applied existing technology in an unprecedented way. It gave people something they’d never had before that suddenly they couldn’t live without.

Apple doesn’t fight for market share—it creates new markets. And what drives Steve Jobs to do this is not a lust for wealth but a desire to make a difference. As he said in the Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. . . . Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful . . . that’s what matters to me.     . . . I want to put a ding in the universe.”

The driving force behind the most successful product designer in history is making a difference in the lives of others. That force has produced the number one technology company in the world, and in July, Apple passed Google to become the most widely recognized brand in the world.

In many ways, the iPhone is an even better example. It’s been out just over four years, and in the second quarter of this year it moved into the number one spot, outselling Nokia in dollar volume. The iPhone, so elegant in look and feel, has become far more than a device. For many, it has become an item of personal lust.

Besides creating a classy looking and remarkable piece of hardware, Apple has made it easy for software engineers to develop iPhone applications. With this opportunity for virtually unlimited creative expression, Apple not only opened the floodgates to endless uses of its product, but also spawned a whole new industry in which others can make creative contributions to the collective happiness of life on earth. These application builders thrive on “out-wowing” one another, not to mention customers. (In less than four years, over 425,000 applications have been written for the iPhone.)

Great businesses are great because they provide great products and services that improve the quality of life for their customers, as well as their employees. Have you ever gone to an Apple store? Check out the expressions on the faces of the “Geniuses” (Apple’s technical staff) who man it. Their job is to teach guests how to use the “toys,” which include iPods, iPhones, computers, and iPads. Everybody is smiling.

Apple’s success may be unique, but its lessons are universal. We’re all here to give. As I said earlier, it’s hardwired into all of us to be givers. Profit is the by-product of fulfillment. No matter what your business, make it your business to be of value to others.

There are a lot of people who make money from our economy who really aren’t adding to the quality of life. They aren’t doing anything that benefits others or provides fulfillment. They’re just trying to make money.

Despite what Rush Limbaugh may claim, the primary purpose of a business is not to make a profit. The purpose of business is to bring fulfillment, to provide a service or product that brings satisfaction and happiness to others. “Profit is the by-product of fulfillment,” says my favorite teacher. To make money without adding value to the collective happiness is to be a thief.

As Ben Franklin asked in his famous almanac, “The noblest question in the  world is ‘What Good may I do in it?’ ” Make sure you and your business are participating.

Michael Blitz has been a consultant specializing in leadership and world-class customer service for over 25 years. Contact him at,

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