In 2006 Appleâs revenues were $19 billion.
The iPod alone was $7.7 billion of that, it had 90% of the personal music-player market.
Things were looking good.
So why did Steve Jobs wake up in a sweat?
Why did he start writing numbers down, making phone calls, rushing into work the next day arranging meetings and cancelling projects?
Why did Steve Jobs think he had to avert a crisis?
Well precisely because things were looking good.
The previous day, Steve Jobs had seen the new Nokia mobile phone.
No big deal, just another mobile phone: It had the usual range of trivial features.
One of the gimmicks was you could download six tunes onto it.
Not very useful, no one cared.
But something at the back of Steveâs mind nagged away at him.
And he woke up in the middle of the night thinking âIf they can download six tunes what happens if they can download sixty tunes? Or six hundred tunes? Thatâs the end of the iPod – thatâs fifty percent of our business gone – Itâll be too late to worry then, we wonât have a company.â
And he started writing down numbers, doing calculations, and as far as he could see there was only one answer.
So he started making phone calls, organising meetings and cancelling projects.
The next morning he got his people together and he said âWeâre getting into the phone businessâ.
Naturally they thought he was crazy, he was being paranoid.
But he explained they had no choice.
Either they ate Nokiaâs lunch, or Nokia would eat theirs.
So in 2007 Apple launched the iPhone.
By 2009 the iPod still made up $8 billion of their revenue, but the iPhone was nearly $7 billion.
By 2013 the iPod had dropped to $2.3 billion of revenue, but the iPhone had grown to $91 billion.
Apple is now the worldâs largest smart phone manufacturer.
Nokia, who Steve Jobs was scared stiff of, barely exists anymore.
Mainly because he was frightened and they werenât.
He knew that fear is the most valuable tool an entrepreneur can have.
Fear will give you an edge on the competition.
Recently I was reading that fear is one of the great strengths of species that evolve.
Suppose you canât tell the shape of a bear from a rock.
If you always assume the shape is a rock most times you will be right, and youâll lead a more relaxed life.
Right until the time youâre wrong and it actually is a bear.
Then you die a painful death.
But suppose you always assume that shape is a bear, and you run.
Most times you will be wrong, because it actually is a rock.
But the one time it really is a bear, youâll survive.
So species that respect and cultivate fear are the ones that survive.
They learn to make fear their unfair advantage.
They are more aware, more attentive, and have an edge over the competition.
Like Steve Jobs, they know fear is their friend.