"Little Strokes Fell Great Oaks"

The quote above is from Ben Franklin. It's one of my favorites, and something I repeat to my children on a regular basis (they're probably tired of hearing it).

To me, the point of this quote is that you have to trust the process: it takes time and consistent day-to-day effort and practice to accomplish great things. And that's true whether you're trying to learn an instrument or a new language or whether you're trying to create an innovative new product. You have to keep chopping away to accomplish something great -- often something you or others thought was impossible.

I think this attitude is a big part of Apple's culture and success. Everyone talks about how Steve Jobs asked for the impossible and created a "reality distortion field" to convince people to achieve it, but maybe Jobs recognized that seemingly impossible things can be achieved through time, little strokes, and persistence. 

Just like people quit guitar or quit a new language because the goal is difficult to achieve and requires lots of time and little strokes, I suspect many companies quit when pursuing seemingly impossible innovations. Apple focuses and commits for the long haul, and that often leads to breakthroughs that less committed companies fail to achieve.

So this post is for my children, as is this link to the transcript from Steve Jobs's 2005 commencement speech to Stanford's graduating class.

The author owns stock shares of Apple.