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Steve Jobs: Redefining The CEO 224

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the more-like-ring-master dept.
conq writes "BusinessWeek has a nice piece on how Steve Jobs is redefining the job of being a CEO. From the story: 'Just over a decade ago, Steve Jobs was considered washed-up, a has-been whose singular achievement was co-founding Apple Computer back in the 1970s. Now, given the astounding success of Apple and Pixar, he's setting a new bar for how to manage a Digital Age corporation.'"
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Steve Jobs: Redefining The CEO

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  • by CyricZ (887944) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:14PM (#14588106)
    Indeed, one of the facts of life is that everyone gets topped by somebody who is better, or by somebody who will take it to the next level. That is why I am very intrigued to see who will do that to Jobs. He has already set the bar pretty high, and whoever comes along afterwards will really have to do something spectacular to be noticed, and to earn their name.

    • by CyricZ (887944) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:17PM (#14588123)
      Come to think of it, it could even be he who tops himself! Imagine that! It is not often that one is so great that they are able to reach a level of unparalleled stardom, only to turn around and trump themselves!

      The only way I think it would be possible for him to raise the bar higher would be to sing "It's Raining Men" on stage at the next Macworld Conference.

    • Indeed, one of the facts of life is that everyone gets topped by somebody who is better, or by somebody who will take it to the next level.

      Yeah [softlab.ntua.gr].

    • by cgenman (325138) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @01:35PM (#14588441) Homepage
      Indeed, one of the facts of life is that everyone gets topped by somebody who is better, or by somebody who will take it to the next level.

      Or the next somebody who is roughly as good as you are, once your legend starts getting torn down.

      Remember, Jobs was huge before he was torn down as being a has-been, before being built up again to who he is now. His legend will fade... We like to tear down our heroes.

    • by Deanasc (201050) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @01:48PM (#14588491) Homepage Journal
      I don't think anyone is going to top Steve Jobs. I think that like Henry Ford there will be imitators and skillful managers who stand out. Men like Malcolm Bricklin, John Delorean and Lee Iaccoca will be forgotten long before history forgets the man who changed the face of the earth with standardized parts and the moving assembly line.

      Jobs will definately surpass Bill Gates in the history books simply because his story is so much more dramatic. Found the first personal computer company that goes beyond the simple needs of the hobbyist, get fired by the guy he hired to manage the business, start a competing business that goes nowhere, start another business that breathes new life into a 100 year old art form, get begged to come back to the company that fired you, see both businesses take off beyond all possible dreams. What did Bill Gates do? Bluff his way into buying an operating system early in the game and copy copy copy then leverage market position to unfairly damage new comers and competitors. Don't get me wrong, Bill Gates had a great idea at the right time but I doubt he'd be anything more then a footnote if he had to do it twice in his life.

      • Gates had an insight which was denied to Jobs. His insight was that to realise the potential of his company, he needed at least one thing to be open. Since the software was not going to be open, becuase he was going to charge for that by the seat, that meant that the hardware had to be open. That was the one thing he could not supply the world with. He needed others to help do that, and he didn't need to manage them as they did it. To see that, took genius of a different order.

        Jobs on the other hand was
        • Bill Gates had nothing to do with the open platform of the IBM PC. That was purely by accident. IBM had failed to maintain control over the market place when they lost the reverse engineering lawsuit with Compaq. Up until then competing computers like the Kaypro ran CPM instead of DOS, a competing operating system. Had IBM maintained a strangle hold on the PC compatible market the story would be completely different.
      • I think its totally unfair to Bill Gates. Bill Gates is like Roy Kroc [wikipedia.org] he invented a model of how the computer business should work.

        1) He moved hard into PCs early
        2) He licensed freely and openly
        3) He didn't use copy protection but rather went for a moral and legal attacks on piracy
        4) He almost tried to be the cheapest software in his quality class, and started price wars as a core business technique
        5) He aimed his products at non hobbiests and non professionals having a vision of "a computer on every
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Balmer is going to fucking bury him! (chair goes whizzing past)
  • A new bar? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nuclear Elephant (700938) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:15PM (#14588113) Homepage
    he's setting a new bar for how to manage a Digital Age corporation

    literally [apple.com].
  • by merger (235225) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:21PM (#14588130)
    Business Week also has a podcast [businessweek.com] where they talk with the author of the story to provide a litte more depth. It was a fairly entertaining discussion where they discuss a little of the history of how it all came about and the relationship between Steve Jobs and Disney.
  • This is a "piece"? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gamigad (932350) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:23PM (#14588145)
    Sorry, but somehow I expect a link to a story when I hear the word "piece". You know, with more than perhaps 200 words, especially given the subject.

    This is just a short, non-interesting slideshow.

    No news here - move along.
  • by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:26PM (#14588153) Homepage Journal
    TFA is only 7 paragraphs long (with 7 pictures), but this sums it up for me:
    "Other CEOs may focus on finance or sales. Jobs spends most of his time trying to come up with the next blockbuster product."

    He's not there for the money, he's there to change the world. Well, at least, he succeeds in making us believe he's not after the money... Of course, MacOS X is not open source (yet?!), he's running a corporation after all!

    I remember his quote: "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me"
    I don't think a majority of CEO can honestly say this nowadays.
    • Humm.. wanted to find the source of the quote, before being asked. Looked on Jobs' entry on wikiquote [wikiquote.org] and haven't found it. I must say wikiquote isn't very exhaustive on Jobs' account.
    • by Jasin Natael (14968) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:58PM (#14588281)

      He's a founder. Look what happened when John Sculley came in in the early 90's. We got the Newton, which I liked, and still like, a lot. But we also got to see the American MBA in action.

      The type of accounting and business strategy that for-hire CEO's and CFO's are trained with tells them that everything is about increasing shareholder value in the short-to-mid term (ie, no more than 2-5 years). They are unconcerned with providing value to employees or customers, unless doing so will assist them with goal #1. Even if they think they are working for the long-term success of the company, all the tools they have to put things in perspective are centered around the short-term stock value.

      When Jobs came back to Apple, it was like he was the spurned father called to the hospital when his child was morbidly ill or injured. This company is his baby, and he wants to see it succeed in the long term. He wants products that his customers will slowly come to believe they can't live without, not some flash-in-the-pan fad with the latest buzzwords attached.

      A lot of Silicon Valley CEO's are founders and have this fatherly instinct. They don't get press because they weren't ousted and then called back to fix things. Neither do the CEO's who weren't called back as their companies went to the chopping block.

      If you oust the original founders of the company, it's almost always a death sentence. Apple's board was right to call Jobs back to the helm. But don't think it's something special about Jobs. It's what any company founder should do, and what most would do, because they actually believe in what they're doing.

      Jasin Natael
      • But don't think it's something special about Jobs. It's what any company founder should do, and what most would do, because they actually believe in what they're doing.

        I think you've hit the nail on the head, though maybe even more literally than you realize. Jobs is a CEO who has a passion for what he does. He, unlike so many of todays CEO's, managers, and even business/corporation owners, truly thinks to himself, "we have the best thing since sliced bread"; the only difference between Jobs and all

        • Of course, it also doesn't mean that a Jaguar is better than a Ford!

          Jaguars are Fords :o)
        • Your Ford comment may signify more than you know. Ford, in the light of recent losses and reduced market share, needed to do something. So. Did they than announce that they were going to produce the most fuel efficient vehicles in every class, or usher in the hydrogen economy, or even concentrate on making the best damn trucks in the world? No.

          Their solution? To announce that every Ford worker that drives a non-Ford product now has to park in the outermost parking lot, thus providing an "incentive" for th

      • "If you oust the original founders of the company, it's almost always a death sentence. Apple's board was right to call Jobs back to the helm. But don't think it's something special about Jobs. It's what any company founder should do, and what most would do, because they actually believe in what they're doing."

        So all you have to do is keep the founders at the helm and they will be as successful as Steve Jobs has been?
    • by IAAP (937607) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @01:09PM (#14588331)
      should be.

      Most CEOs are just middle managers who got promoted to the top spot; either from within or were hired from another company. But the thing is, what makes a good middle manager (attention to detail, thinking about finances, day to day stuff) is exactly what makes a poor CEO. To be a great CEO, you need to think about strategy, where your market is going, where there is new markets, ner tech, etc... - Which is exactly what Jobs does. Saying he's "trying to come up with the next blockbuster product." is over-simplifying what he does.

      It's sad that corps have this mentality that you have to work your way up through the ranks before becoming a CEO. But the problem is, what gets you promoted on the lower levels actually hurts you as a CEO. (There's a reason why the average CEO job lasts less then 2 years - they fired.) If Jobs were concentrating an each department's finances and other details, he would have missed the boat on these new products.

      Gates on the other hand, is not a visionary. He is a follower (which can pay off big), but look at MS's strategy: throw money at anything new. Apple on the other hand creates something new.

      I think my point is made and I don't want to turn /. into a MBA class! :-(

    • Very much true. You see, research is expensive, and often doesn't pay out. Thus, CEO's and boards that are looking simply at the bottom line tend to cut research. They also cut products that are making profits, but 'not enough'.

      But if you're not looking to stay ahead, then somebody will pass you by. Just look at Japanese auto industry compared to the American one. Heck, Sony and the IPod.

      Cutting 'low profit' services can also harm you, as it erodes options and 'brand loyalty'. If I can't get the servi
  • Disney (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chromatic Aberration (926933) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:26PM (#14588155)
    I can't believe that the board of directors of Disney is going to include Jobs. Ten years ago I would have said, "When they pry it from Michael Eisner's cold, dead hands." So maybe it's a good thing that people are sitting up and noticing CEOs who aren't just businessmen with suits and a book by Jack Welch.
    • by jcr (53032)
      Ten years ago I would have said, "When they pry it from Michael Eisner's cold, dead hands."

      Ten years ago, Disney had no prospect of being liberated from Eisner. He'd done an amazing job of packing the board of directors with his supporters.

      Then again, twenty years ago, who thought the Berlin Wall would come down?

      -jcr
  • by Faust7 (314817) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:32PM (#14588170) Homepage
    Jobs' insistence on controlling all aspects of a product -- from hardware and software to the service that comes with them -- is the new blueprint.

    To be sure, Apple is a unique presence in the world of digital media, but the slideshow picture they put alongside this caption was that of an iMac. As far as computers go, total control of the platform is not a new idea. It is, in fact, the oldest one. That type of solution stretches back as far as the room-sized big iron of the '60s and before, but it was most publicly visible, I think, during the '80s, when several companies were vying for dominance of the personal computer market. Commodore, Atari, Apple, IBM - they all had their own little universes where you bought their hardware, ran their OS, and dealt with their disk format. Each company dreamed of taking over with its own end-to-end solution, but that didn't happen. It can be argued that the market is simply too large for any one company to hope for dominance of that kind.
    • You've totally missed the parent post's point. It's not unique that Apple has total control of the platform. It's unique that the CEO does. Jobs is not just being a business manager, giving general guidance to the product development groups. He's directly involved in choosing specifications, features, and even physical designs. If you can believe even a third of what's published about him in mainstream sources, he makes decisions about things which could be considered very small details. For example, when t
  • Steve Jobs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by greyrose111 (945171) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:33PM (#14588182)
    Steve Jobs is certainly a mastermind. There's no doubt that he's good at what he does. But the question is, where is he heading? For a long time now, there have been multiple sides to his maneuvering. One theory is that he trying to directly challenge Microsoft. Supporting evidence would be his switch to Intel processors, his continued development of iWork (many think Apple is working on a competitor to Excel), Apple's closed business model and their careful manipulation of the media world. However, to truly become a power player in the computer market they need to seriously drop prices. Another argument might be that Jobs is trying to take over the next big frotier, the TV. Although hundreds of companies have released DVRS and media center PC's, none (except Tivo, which has a monthly charge) have made a product cheap enough and easy enough to make it truly mainstream. Many think it likely that the Mac mini will be converted to a media center Mac based on front row. And then there's the iPod, which by itself has opportunity to explode into a dozen other markets. Many people see Apple entering the cell phone market. Other's see them becoming the single driving force in the upcoming explosion of mobile TV. Still others view the iPod as taking music one step further releasing iPod boom boxes and stereos (this type of speculation is still on the same level however as the Apple TV we kept hearing about). The next year will be the defining era of Apple, will they remain the iPod and high end PC maker, or will they come into the market in ways no one could have forseen in the past?
    • Re:Steve Jobs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jbolden (176878)
      You mention TV. The hot profitable area in TV right now is at the high end and very high end. Nobody is making much money in the >$500 TV market. The PC market may be the same where all the money is made on 5-10% of the sales while the bulk of PCs are sold at fully loaded cost.

      Steve Jobs is not Bill Gates or Michael Dell. If the battle is about price he loses.
  • by Councilor Hart (673770) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:40PM (#14588206)
    Unbelievable, 7 pages to smear out text that could fit easily on a single page. It takes longer to load one such page than to read it.
    It's scaring readers away. I am not waiting for your page to load, and I am not clicking multiple times to read a single article.
    And while I am at it. Since the invention of tabs, will everyone please stop using links that insist on opening in a new window. I have one window, perhaps two with multiple tabs. And new links are opened in their own tab. But, noooo, sites still insist links are opened in a new window.
    Want to keep me as a return visitor? STOP ANNOYING ME. Stop dictating how I can access your data, if you want me to see it.
    • So your complaint was that this vacious, airheaded, personality-obsessed article was presented in a particularly airheaded, vacious, design-over-substance way?

      Heh :)

      I thought the entire premise of the article was crap. It reminds me of the Wired "Ten Important Personalities Who Have Something Or Other To Do With A Technology We're Hyping Right Now" type thing (you know the sort? It always includes:

      1. a professor from MIT who invents knew uses for the prefix "Cyber" a lot (Probably Negroponte)
      2. a "hip"
      • It's called the "media" because it's mediocre.

        This is why I stick to trade papers like EE Times. It's mostly about technology, and I've rarely seen them report on something that didn't eventually ship (even if it took a couple of years).

        -jcr

      • Yep, the article is utter crap. That is why I went nuts this time. I can to a certain degree tolerate 2 page articles (but please don't do this anyway) if it's decent, but this crappy piece in 7 parts broke the camel's back.
        If it the article is broken up into too many partes, I just open the print version. Usually it's devoted of ads. So I someone thought they could shove more ads through our throats by splitting it up: it aint working
      • The word you're looking for is vacuous, not vacious.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2006 @12:42PM (#14588215)
    A focused, strong willed individual in a leadership role almost always excels over rule by committee. You can see it at Apple. You can see it with Linux. You can see it with industrial companies like Old World Industries [findarticles.com].

    Entertainments companies in particular are hurt by focus groups and rule by committee. Disney turned out a better product when Walt was still around. Turner Entertainment faired much better under Ted, than under Time Warner/AOL.

    • Apple is just as suit-driven as any other big company. One of my old customers manufactured parts used in various Macs (this was a company bigger than Apple by a factor of ten at least.) They had numerous meetings with Apple's people regarding ways to help the manufacturing process, improve production rates, etc. Now, there were a number of free-thinking people that would show up at these meetings, but as soon as they tried to show any initiative some suit would look at his watch and shut them down. At the
  • The real question is whether Jobs will become CEO of Disney/Pixar. If he does, he'll probably have to give up Apple, and move to LA. Running Disney is a full time job.
    • He doesn't need to. All the Disney movie department needs (after firing all their staff and replacing them with Pixar, as they already have) is a hit movie every year or so. Pixar has been doing that for about a decade. I don't think this will take up significantly more of Steve Jobs time in the long run than when he was just running Pixar and Apple.
      • There's far more to Disney than the studio and the theme parks. Disney owns the ABC television network, ESPN, and a few minor networks like Lifetime. They own not only the Disney film brands (Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood, and Caravan), but Miramax. They own several record labels, several book publishers, about thirty hotels, and Infoseek.

        Running all that stuff is a full time job, and the current management doesn't do that good a job of it.

    • by jcr (53032)
      Why would he? Disney's a smaller company than Apple now, and it doesn't have nearly the growth prospects.

      -jcr
    • Do you mean will Jobs be CEO of Disney/Pixar/Apple? This makes complete sense. Think about it. Apple is setting themself up to be the premeir media distribution company. Also they will soon be in every living room. I give it 1 year and these apple will merge with Pixney. I can't wait to see Pixney World!
  • by Starker_Kull (896770) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @01:13PM (#14588343)
    It seems the main thing that distinguishes Jobs, according to the slideshow, is that he knows his companies' products to the point where he is unafraid to get involved with them at any level from suppliers of suppliers to design to marketing. In other words, he thoroughly knows his business.

    A CEO who thoroughly knows his business redefines what a CEO is? This merely highlights the disease that has infected much of corporate America, namely that you don't have to know shit about your business or product, all you have to know is how to manage people, whatever that means.

    This is about as effective as the idea that you don't have to know jack about math, or physics, or history in order to teach them; all you have to be is a good teacher, whatever the hell that means.

    News Flash: Intelligence, experience, knowledge and motivation are far more important in running a company than an MBA. Steve Jobs illustrates this. News at 11.
    • by thermopile (571680) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @06:05PM (#14589900) Homepage
      I'd say, "Mod Parent Up", but it's already at +5. Cheers nonetheless.

      Another shining example of where solid, technical management has proven to be spectacularly successful: Admiral Hyman G. Rickover. He is single-handedly responsible for building the United States Nuclear Navy, and he did it by getting his hands dirty, looking for and finding the devil in the details, and sweating the small stuff. (okay, I admit, there was a strong cadre of very smart engineers and scientists behind him, but they would never have been so successful without him) In 1982, he gave a great speech [govleaders.org] about how to do a job right, and how to manage it properly.

      He eschewed fancy management techiniques, deriding them as smoke and mirrors. Simply requiring his subordinates to understand their jobs and holding them responsible, for everything.

      Rickover could never make it today; he was too much of an irascible fellow. I don't think anyone enjoyed working for him WHILE they were working for him. But, then again, couldn't the same be said of Steve Jobs 1? By that I mean the head of Apple Computer from 1976 to 1984. What of those stories where people would get on an elevator with him and be fired by the time the elevator stopped? Or throwing engineers against the wall for falling asleep in front of their computers at 11 pm?

      Teh Jobs has come a long way, and has found another management "front" that allows him to be head of a successful company again. Kudos to him.

      Also keep in mind that Steve Jobs *almost died* from some form of pancreatic cancer a year ago.

  • Art (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wytcld (179112) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @01:34PM (#14588433) Homepage
    Jobs is an artist selling art supplies. For most of their history Macs have enjoyed their greatest success as tools for graphic designers. Design always has required a single, personal vision to succeed. Those great looking toasters and clocks and cars that industry turned out in the middle of the 20th century weren't designed by committee. There were rather a handful of recognized top designers, some of whom spanned everything from streamlined steam locomotives to soap wrappers.

    So Jobs has been an industrial designer producing tools mostly used by graphic designers, who of course are sensitive to good industrial design. That's worked. More recently he's gone into the music/fashion accessories business - also one which melds easily with design, and also one where to top lines always come from a single designer's vision rather than committee. And with Pixar, as the good-looking but shallow-on-info slide show says, he knew enough about "creatives" to keep the teams small and together.

    None of this should be taken to imply that Jobs' success illustrates the right approach for industries in which design is not properly the central focus. For instance, Carter was famously a micro-managing president. Look how that worked out. The Soviet economy was micro-managed from the top (and they even started out as a culture with some very good designers). Results? Nada. The hard-earned lesson that micro-managing is bad still applies across most of the spectrum. Jobs is just fortunate to be in one of the few niches where the generalization fails.
    • Jobs is just fortunate to be in one of the few niches where the generalization fails.

      You make it sound like it is just a fluke that Jobs is doing what he's doing right now. Everything that Jobs has done seem to point to the idea that Job knows very well what he is good at and, unlike other businessmen less smart or smarter than him, focuses his attention at only things he wants to be focused on. Witness the way upon returning to the company, he ditched some of Apple's product lines and there way no indi

    • Micromanagers (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 7Prime (871679)

      For instance, Carter was famously a micro-managing president. Look how that worked out. The Soviet economy was micro-managed from the top (and they even started out as a culture with some very good designers). Results? Nada.

      The two examples of which you spoke aren't very fair, to say the least. Carter didn't fail as a president because he tried to micromanage (in fact, that's one thing I really appreciate about him), he failed because he did not find his legs in Washington, and couldn't communicate with

      • Yeah right, nobody had any fear of the Communist global revolution until Stalin entered the picture. Dream on. 6m+ people died under Lenin's misrule. The only person he looks good in comparison to is Stalin.

        As for Trotsky, he was the one who transformed the Red Army from a ragtag bunch into an efficient fighting machine with the same top down structure as any other modern army. He had special units created to gun down people ("the workers", remember them?) retreating. The only reason people have sympathy fo
  • Margaret Whitman's company (Ebay) is bigger
    Larry Ellison (Oracle) has been around longer (without leaving the company at least)
    Eric Schmidt's company (Google) gets an article on Slashdot every few hours
    Steve Balmer's company (Microsoft) sells more Operating Systems

    I guess to Jobs credit he founded a very successful company, then left and it tanked and came back and it became a great company again, but I just don't think that there's no question about him being number one as this article has implied.
    • by Mistah Blue (519779) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @02:08PM (#14588564)
      How much PROFIT are those companies making? Cash is King in my book. A CEO should be judged on PROFIT, not revenue, how big is yacht is, etc. At some point in time, the market will realize a highly profitable company is worth owning and that will be reflected in the stock price.
    • Steve has been able to apply his midas touch to more than a single business. The number of CEO's that came claim that has to be a pretty short list. I'm pleased that he will be able to help Iger at Disney, though I always felt that his rightful throne awaits at Sony.
    • $16B+ in revenues annually. That's 4x eBay's current revenue and 3.5x Google's current revenue.

      eBay's market cap is slightly higher at the moment, and Google's is in the stratosphere (does it really deserve to be valued more than IBM??)

      Having said that, eBay and Google are more profitable, and Google is growing revenue faster. Apple's current 60%+ quarterly growth needs a new hit product to sustain.
  • by Jeff1946 (944062)
    I recall reading a story about the development of the IPOD. Several times Jobs looked at the prototype and said, "Change it, I don't like this feature." Because he controlled Apple this could happen even if it caused the schedule to slip and cost $$$. When you are right this is great. On the other hand Henry Ford stuck with the Model T too long, because he misread the consumer's needs.

    Jobs certainly has the ability to judge what will make something become a unique product. Wonder if he will have the
  • hero worship (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rage Maxis (24353) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @01:57PM (#14588533) Homepage
    why are people so obsessed with rewarding single people with success of organizations?

    Why is it steve jobs that is responsible for all the success of apple?

    why was it hitler that was responsible for nazi germany?

    Why do humans always have to make everything about one person?

    This is retarded. Companies are people and teams. Not people. Countries are people. Not presidents. Parties. Committees. As soon as people stop making decisions this way maybe we'll start making some progress.
    • Role Models. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @02:22PM (#14588638)
      why are people so obsessed with rewarding single people with success of organizations?

      Because most people in their lives simply manage to get to work on time, do as they are instructed, and pay their taxes. This behavior pattern does not inspire much of anything to the casual on-looker.

      Having a "vision" isn't uncommon. Uncommon, however, is the person who is brave and strong and skilled enough to go about realizing it.

      Many people strive to be so capable, and thus they look up to those who have managed it. Role models are what they are for this reason, or so I think.


      -FL

    • How naive are you? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jamrock (863246)

      "why are people so obsessed with rewarding single people with success of organizations? Why is it steve jobs that is responsible for all the success of apple? why was it hitler that was responsible for nazi germany? Why do humans always have to make everything about one person? This is retarded. Companies are people and teams. Not people. Countries are people. Not presidents. Parties. Committees. As soon as people stop making decisions this way maybe we'll start making some progress."

      Here's a news f

      • you have to watch the recent "booze cruise" episode of The Office:

        Michael: "Leader - Ship. The word "ship" is hidden in the word "leadership." As its derivation. So, if this office is in fact a ship, as its leader, I am the Captain."

        (puts Captain's hat on)

        "But ... we're all in the same boat. Teamwork! Now, on this ship which is the office, what is the sales department? Anyone?"

        Daryl: "How about the sales department is the sails?"

        Michael: "Yes, Daryl. the sales department makes sales. Good. Let me just exp

    • why are people so obsessed with rewarding single people with success of organizations?

      Perhaps it's because organizations almost invariably distribute rewards in proportion to responsibility. Higher positions within companies are almost always associated with greater accountability for success and failure. The official fiction is that the lower ranks are always working as hard as possible, and that the actual value of the work is determined by the decisions of the higher-ups. Hence, the success or failure
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @02:07PM (#14588561)
    "Do you want to sell sugar water or do you want to change the world?"

    You don't come up with cool sayings like that unless you're right into it. (Or unless you have a great PR department, which I don't believe was the case).

    My impression of Jobs is that he's simply entertaining his mania. --He sees possible futures where technology becomes an idealized, humanity-altering version of itself, and he's simply trying to realize this vision by following and then occupying what seem to him the obvious and inevitable steps.

    Is he angling to go head-to-head with Microsoft? I doubt it. Guys like Jobs find reward and adrenalin rushes, etc., through realizing creative vision. Competition and the dark 'joy' of destroying competitors, and the 'joy' of collecting all the money in the world pale in comparison. Jobs is entirely capable of 'losing' to Gates, because winning and losing are of little importance when one's goal is merely to shape and advance. (Even if shaping and advancing mean being a control-freak, which is typical for people like Jobs. Nobody else can see it right or therefore do it right, so why muck about depending on others?)

    Time for a little more metaphysical etymology. . .

    "Gates" - Not quite the same as a door; doors can be opened and closed by regular individuals. A gate implies a door which is watched and controlled by somebody else, one which is designed to limit and control the flow of that which enters and exits. Bill exerts control over the flow of information.

    "Jobs" - Tasks which need doing. Steve follows the work toward his peculiar vision, and then does it, no matter how ludicrous it may appear.

    --His moves will at first seem irrational to the sharks, (and frustrated board members), because he likes to invest and play rather than invest and reap. But then when the circumstances are right and creativity blossoms, he suddenly seems like a genius.

    My only trouble is that he's embraced the idea that people don't like to think outside certain boundaries and want to be coddled, which may well be true. This bothers me, because while he's out there changing the world, I have to live in it. --And I do not like to be coddled or to have somebody else do my thinking for me.

    Candy-coated buttons piss me off. Complexity does not scare me.


    -FL

    • Time for a little more metaphysical etymology. . . "Gates" - Not quite the same as a door; doors can be opened and closed by regular individuals. A gate implies a door which is watched and controlled by somebody else, one which is designed to limit and control the flow of that which enters and exits. Bill exerts control over the flow of information. "Jobs" - Tasks which need doing. Steve follows the work toward his peculiar vision, and then does it, no matter how ludicrous it may appear.

      Where can the r

    • Candy-coated buttons piss me off. Complexity does not scare me.

      Unnecessary complexity in a UI bothers me especially if what is exposed is all that there is. With OS X, the UI is simple and elegant and lets you get the job done. It is designed (or at least UAT) by a CEO, for CEO's and the average Joe.

      This makes it easy to use for everybody with a limited amount of learning. The people with the most trouble adjusting are switchers from windows which I can attest to being a switcher myself.

      In OSX, the po

  • I'd like to see Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs in some kind of TV trivia game show for charity.
    Here's the twist: Bill would have to answer questions about Apple, and Steve would have to answer questions about Microsoft. They are both keen competitors, I think many would be surpised at how much they knew about each other's business. And to avoid bruised egos, both charities would "win" with a large prize at the end. Wouldn't that be cool?
  • Man, has to be the biggest thing I ever saw, swallowing up sober journals like BusinessWeek.
    The metoo's are clustered around adoringly because he hasn't said BOOGA WOOGA this week...
  • by guidryp (702488) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @02:41PM (#14588737)
    The biggest factor that I see is recognition of top talent. This is essentially the same thing I see Google doing.

    "Jobs has believed that small teams of top talent will outperform better-funded big ones. He has used the same approach at Pixar, where creative chief John Lasseter has led the way in creating blockbusters like Toy Story and Finding Nemo. Jobs also outsources far more selectively than his rivals. He'd rather have all his creatives working together than save a few bucks by outsourcing such work overseas."

    I work designing telecom software and I see the opposite. Software personal here are hired and managed like cattle. They throw bodies at problems and the cheaper the bodies, the better(we are currently ramping India and China labs while downsizing Texas labs). They create a process that is aimed at the lowest common denominator and that is the result it has, lowest common denominator performance.

    If you want to be the best, you hire the best and remove obstacles from their path, and demand their best.

    I have occasionally had the priviledege to work in an environment that empowered the talented employees and encouraged them to do great things. It is amazing. But those days are gone now.

    Some have an almost accusatory tone when referring to Jobs micromanaging. I think of it as taking a direct interest in the quality and showing it. Encouraging his people to do great things.

    I would rather be encouraged by a perfectionist wanting great things, than the mindless hordes of management graduates with decks of powerpoint slides and MS project plans indicating when every piece is projected to be done by the headcount. Mindlessly they shuffle bodies around when reality doesn't line up to projections.

    Building leading technology will always be a least partially like producing great art. It will be the domain of creative driven talent, not commodity bodies monitored in MS project plan.

  • I have been trying to get his autograph for 15 years. Now I think he's risen to a level that it will be impossible. There is going to be a big hole in my autographs of people that wear turtlenecks every day.
  • During the Internet boom, we thought that computer companies would become fair places to work. Post-boom, we think that blogs & transparency will take over the world. But Jobs fires whole departments from Apple when there's a leak in some insanely trivial product announcement. The place is a dictatorship. Some of their products are ok, especially compared to products from other dictatorships. But I hardly think the Slashdot crowd, impressed by technical achievements & the promise of digital liberati
  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @04:23PM (#14589348)
    I think it was very savvy of Jobs to buy the computer graphics division of LucasFilm to create Pixar, but it's John Lasseter who made Pixar what it is today.

    One could argue that a large part of Pixar's success has been Job's willingness to stay out of day-to-day operations and concentrate on the business side.
  • by dustpuppy (5260) on Saturday January 28, 2006 @10:05PM (#14591173) Homepage
    In my opinion, the CEO role is more about being a leader, not a manager (that's what your underlings are for). Steve Jobs is leading. He's showing vision and implementing it.

    Most CEO's these days are nothing more than managers - they worry about the bottom line, their idea of raising profits is limited to cost cutting, and basically spend their time looking back at the last quarters results (to see where they can cut more costs) than looking forward.

    So no, I don't think Steve Jobs is 'redefining' the CEO role - I think he's merely showing up how crap most CEOs actually are.
  • focus, focus, focus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by randyjg2 (772752)
    I knew Jobs back in the early days (and again, several times later in his career.) His one real obvious talent was the ability to focus, stay focused, and keep the people around him also focused on the task at hand.

    For some reason, that always seems to disappoint people. They wanted some sort of magic, focusing on any bright shiny slogan or technology associated with the current project. People expect CEO's to put on a great show, it is practically a job definition (no pun intended) these days.

    Most CEO's ar
  • Really?

    There have been a number of articles and interviews over the years stating that he has temper tantrums at his employees. I saw one video interview where he admitted it and said he did not have a problem with it as his people knew they were good.

    He has accomplished a lot as a CEO, but other CEOs have had similar accomplishments to his and they have done so while behaving like adults.

  • "he's setting a new bar for how to manage a Digital Age corporation."

    he's setting a new bar for promoting a Digital Age corporation.

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