Friday, 16 October 2009

Steve Jobs




In the last month I have found myself more and more interested in the whole Steve Jobs thing. By “"Steve Jobs thing” I mean the management model used. It rages against the normal protocolic (is that a word? If not, then its © me) systems of management. I read and hear reports that he is a nice guy, friendly, supportive and a people person. I also read reports that he is a megalomaniac, control freak, thief of other people’s ideas, tyrannical bully.


Whatever he is, what he does works. He has a great team behind him and I can only assume that he instils loyalty. Either that it is a form of Stockholm syndrome, like when the kidnapped people start to empathise and side with their captors. The Apple seminars are like a motivational rally. He is supposed to have an aura about him, which is known at Apple as a reality distortion field. Basically he has charisma. Nearly all of the powerful people you meet, or the ones perceived to have power, will have that. I don’t think or believe that they have it. I think we create it through our apprehension or interest.

The basic tenets of the Steve Jobs business model are strange, but they are effective. Some of them look out of place, or questionable. Nevertheless, they work.

Get Busy.
Face hard decisions Head On!
Don’t get emotional.
Be firm.
Get Informed – don’t guess.
Reach out for help.
Focus means saying NO.
Stay focused.
Focus on what you are good at; Delegate everything else.
Be a despot.
Generate alternatives and then pick the best.
Design pixel by pixel.
Simplify.
Don’t be afraid to start from scratch.
Avoid the Osborne effect.
Don’t shit on your own doorstep.
When it comes to ideas, anything is game.
Don’t listen to your customers.
Find an easy way to present new ideas.
Don’t compromise.
Design is it's function, not just looks, sound and touch.
Thrash it out.
Include everyone.
Partner with ‘A’ players, fire Bozos.
Seek out the highest quality.
Invest in people.
Work in small teams.
Don’t listen to “yes” men.
Engage in intellectual combat.
It's OK to be an asshole as long as you are passionate about it.
Find passion.
Use the carrot and the stick to get great work.
Put boot to ass to get things done.
Celebrate accomplishments with unusual flair.
Insist on what seems impossible.
Become a great intimidator.
Be a part time ingratiator.
Work people hard and yourself harder.
Don’t lose sight of the customer.
Study the market and the industry first.
Don’t consciously think of innovation.
Concentrate of products.
Remember that motives make a difference.
Steal.
Connect.
Study.
Be flexible.
Burn the boats.
If you miss the boat, make sure you catch it.
Look for big changes in the world that can be used to your advantage.
Set a deadline.
Don’t worry where the ideas come from.
Don’t worry where the tech comes from.
Leverage your expertise
Trust your process.
Don’t be afraid of trial and error.
Embrace the team.

As you can see, there are a few rules here that make you think, ‘WTF?’ but these are the basic rules of Steve Jobs’ management/ business style.

Whether or not we agree with them, they work for him. Mention Apple and you see Steve Jobs. Mention iPod and you think of Apple and then Steve Jobs. His seminars for Apple are like a self help guru spouting technobabble. Apple is fast becoming, or has become, the company everyone would like to work for instead of Google, or if Google were not recruiting. I read that Jobs has had some organ replacement procedure after a tumour on his pancreas. He is now back at work and I wish him well, though I doubt he is reading this. Jobs is a buddhist, interested in Zen who hardly drinks and doesn't smoke. His background involves hallucinatory drugs so he has tried it, didn’t like it. Or if he did, he realised that drugs and running a major corporation doesn't mix. I read he has a passion for pineapple Pizza.

The thing I like and respect about Steve Jobs is that he appears to be a kick-ass, take no bullshit, kinda guy. Remember. He started Apple, got downsized (which is French for getting F*%ked and then sacked) and then came back on his own terms and now runs it. Ya gotta admire that...
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