Here is something very important to remember about Steve Jobs (and probably the only part of this column that will bother him in the least): most of his business moves are still in reaction to having been fired by Apple back in 1985.
Back then Steve was a willful and profligate creator of new products but not very interested in profits. When he put himself up against John Sculley, wanting the Apple board to fire Sculley and make Jobs the CEO, what killed Jobs’ chance for the position was the board’s belief that he wouldn’t deliver the numbers. And they were correct. The Steve Jobs of 1985 was a terrible manager. The board was wrong, however, in believing that Sculley could provide an acceptable substitute for Jobs’ technology vision.
In the 22 years since that humiliation, Jobs has devoted himself to proving: 1) that he can deliver the numbers (and does he — Apple is the best-managed computer company on Earth), and; 2) that he is a better marketer than Sculley, the supposed marketing genius. The product vision part is easy. Not only does Jobs push these products out without apparent effort, he couldn’t make himself not do it if he tried. It’s an obsession. So he puts the real sweat into managing and marketing and occasionally beating up on anyone who gets too close.
And that 1999 quote from Bill Gates about Jobs: “He has to know that he can never win.”
I don’t think Steve knows that at all.
Friday, September 07, 2007
This part from an article by Robert X. Cringely deserves to be quoted in full. (LINK to article)