Picasso created The Bull in 1945, a series of 11 lithographs which are stone prints. With each successive print, a bull is simplified and abstracted. Picasso's goal was to find the spirit of the beast. Many artists have studied The Bull over the years. It is almost a master class in its own right on the artistic process.
To start the series, Picasso creates a lively and realistic brush drawing of the bull in lithographic ink. It is a fresh and spontaneous image that lays the foundations for the developments to come. Picasso used the bull as a metaphor throughout his artwork but he refused to be pinned down as to its meaning.
As Picasso recognizes the balance of form in the bull, he starts to remove and simplify some of the lines of construction that have served their function. He then encases the essential elements that remain in a taut outline.
In the final print of the series, Picasso reduces the bull to a simple outline which is so carefully considered through the progressive development of each image, that it captures the absolute essence of the creature in as concise an image as possible.
Steve Jobs used this masterpiece to train employees
At Apple, new employees are taught this philosophy. Steve Jobs was influenced by 20th-century European artists. In fact, the original Mac logo from 1984 was inspired by Picasso’s contemporary and sometimes rival, Henri Matisse.
That logo, incorrectly, is usually credited as the “Picasso logo” but the Spanish painter’s legacy is obviously still alive and well at Apple.
When Steve Jobs returned as CEO in 1997, Apple was near bankruptcy and on a streak of failed products including a gaming machine (Pippin) and a personal digital assistant (Newton).
He went on to say “The way we’re running the company, the product design, the advertising, it all comes down to this: Let’s make it simple. Really simple.”
This simple design philosophy has seen Apple dominate the entire consumer electronics market and become the most valuable company in the world. As of time of writing, Apple’s market value is in excess of $2 trillion and likely to continue rising as it embarks on new initiatives, particularly in subscriptions and privacy for its user base.
What I learnt from Steve Jobs
Much of what I’ve learnt in business leadership has been inspired by Steve Jobs. At Wealthi, our mission is to make property investing easy. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Jobs taught me that a relentless obsession with the customer and removing all forms of complexity (which he famously said was a tax on the ordinary person) is a central tenant to his personal business philosophy and reason for success at Apple.
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” - Steve Jobs
I’ve taken the same business leadership principals and applied them to my own investing. I’ve previously written about simplicity and not over complicating your investment journey.
Simplicity is important, but its a process. You can start however you like, just as Picasso did with The Bull. It doesn’t matter how you start, its the journey and constant refinement process that will lead you to a simplified path. If you’re investing journey is getting more complicated, you’re doing it wrong.
It can start complicated, but simplicity is the ultimate goal. We all need to strive to get to a point where investing gets simpler, through experience, so we can capture the essence of what we are trying to achieve.
My message to you this week is this - think about what you are trying to achieve in your business, career of investing goals. How can you make things simpler so your goals become more achievable.