Erik Qualman at ClickZ posted an article a while back entitled, “Steve Jobs: 10 Lessons in Leadership.” It’s a quick read and I highly recommend the post, whether you love Steve Jobs or hate him (or fall somewhere in between), there are some interesting concepts that will really make you think.
Now, it’s much easier to Monday-morning-QB Steve’s success after the fact, but since that’s all we have to go on, it’s not a bad place to start.
What the post by Erik fails to mention was that Jobs was not perfect. There were many failed products at Apple. The post points out that Jobs cancelled many products and that was okay, but do you think those failures tormented him? Perhaps… they may have also served as great motivators. After all, aren’t we supposed to learn from our mistakes?
Interestingly, people often forget to talk about Apple’s greatest mistake – the fact that it did not license its computing technology during the great home computer race in the 80’s. Instead, it kept the technology close to the vest and that allowed the PC market (dominated by IBM) to capture something upwards of 90%. Imagine if Apple had gone the other way? Where would we be today? Perhaps Apple would have had more innovative products or perhaps there would be no PC?
Regardless of the magnitude of that failed business decision one can argue it helped keep Apple products wholesome to Job’s vision without being muddled by inferior third parties. I would argue that while PCs got cheaper over the past 20 years, many of them got crappier too. After all, I am a firm believer of “you get what you pay for” in life.
I got my first iPod around 2003 or thereabouts, and am currently on my third one… I recently acquired an iPad for work, and after pleading incessantly with me, I purchased an iPhone 4 for my wonderful wife. I can tell you this, when I am awake, I have an Apple device with me nearly 100% of the time. My wife has yet to let go of the iPhone since December. I can’t really think of any other brand of technology that has become such a crutch in my household.