Steve and John Sculley, 2011

To: Steve Jobs
From: Betty Shotton
Date: October 24,2011

Dear Steve,

I’m not sure you will remember me but I wrote you a letter in August of 1985.

At the time I was thirty three and smack dab in the middle of my first start-up. I knew who you were and had followed your entrepreneurial adventure with great interest. I totally related to your uniquely 70’s quest for meaning, ranging from Buddhist retreats to getting high and defying everything conventional. I also related to your turn towards creativity and innovation; a re- direction of youthful energy that paved the way for the amazing things that you would accomplish in your lifetime.

Who would have known how things would turn out for you back in 1985? I was so incensed over your ouster from your own company that I had to let you know how much of an inspiration you were to me. Maybe you got my letter because you sure did heed my advice to get back on the horse and go for the ride of your life. You sure did!

And now as I witness perhaps your greatest transition, your departure from planet earth for realms unknown, I want to write to you again and remind you of what an inspiration you have been for me. Sorry it is a little belated but it wasn’t until I heard that you were gone that I fully realized how much I learned from you.

First and foremost I learned the power of holding out a vision and the crucial need for each and every team member to be passionately committed to the accomplishment of that vision; no exceptions.

And boy did you set an excellent example for the value of perseverance, sticking with an idea through thick and thin, doing what it took to get to the optimal outcome.

And failure… showing me that no matter how difficult it is to fail, it is an important part of the road to success .

And when I have doubted myself along the uneven path that entrepreneurs take, I remembered your humble origins and took faith in believing in my ideas and my dreams even though I wasn’t at the top of the pile or the head of the class.

Yes Steve Jobs, I hope you are reading this, my second letter in 26 years because I want to thank you for another insight; the importance of acknowledgment and gratitude. I should have written to you long before today …I should not have waited.

For those who are reading this, don’t put off saying thank you, acknowledging those who helped you along the way. Take a moment to write a note or send an email or make a call to those individuals in your life who through their example, friendship or mentorship contributed to the development of your character. Sometimes it might seem like it’s too late; too late to say thank you, too late to say I love you, too late to say you made me a better person, a better leader. But it’s never too late.

Steve Jobs, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making a huge difference in my life, for teaching me invaluable lessons and exemplifying critical attributes needed as an entrepreneur and pioneer. I wouldn’t trade my life and leadership adventures for anything and you played a big hand in their evolution.

I hope you are hearing this. I like to believe that you are getting this message.

With gratitude for your time on earth and your many contributions to the human spirit,

Betty Shotton

About LiftOff Leadership

Betty Shotton is a nationally recognized leadership author and motivational speaker. With a lifetime of experience as a CEO and Entrepreneur, she is passionate about the responsibility and opportunity that leadership has to create a magnificent future. Her audiences are inspired to seek broader perspectives and climb to higher altitudes as they face challenging and volatile business & economic climates. Her most requested presentations are A Journey to Exceptional Leadership, Defying Gravity & High Altitude Leadership. You can see her in action on YouTube ( She blogs ( and writes. "Liftoff Leadership, 10 Principles for Exceptional Leadership", her first book, sold out in 18 months. She is working on her next. Visit her website www.liftoffleadership; it is loaded with leadership resources. She welcomes your interest via FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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One Response to DEAR STEVE JOBS

  1. Les schmidt says:

    Just catching up on some reading and came across this letter. Thank you for writing it and sharing it! Thank you for leading life without fear, with passion and grace.

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