Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It boils down to People, Passion, Product & Performance.

Another book on my reading list has been completed.
This was Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
One of the best books I've read in the last few years, not only because of the fascinating aspects of Jobs, but the depth and perspective. I highly recommend this book. Here are four of the key excerpts that I gravitate towards and will take with me from this book:
  1. ...drive for profits came at the expense of gaining market share. "Macintosh lost to Microsoft because Sculley insisted on milking all the profits he could get rather than improving the product and making it affordable." As a result, the profits eventually disappeared.
  2. Jobs and Clow agreed that Apple was one of the great brands of the world, probably in the top five based on emotional appeal, but they needed to remind folks what was distinctive about it. So they wanted a brand image campaign, not a set of advertisements featuring products. It was designed to celebrate not what the computers could do, but what creative people could do with computers. "This wasn't about processor speed or memory," Jobs recalled. "It was about creativity." It was directed not only at potential customers, but at Apple's own employees: "We at Apple had forgotten who we were. One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are. That was the genesis of that campaign."
  3.  My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. Everything else was secondary. Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that was what allowed you to make great products. But the products, not the profits, were the motivation. Sculley flipped these priorities to where the goal was to make money. It's a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything: the people you hire, who gets promoted, what you discuss in meetings.
  4. I have my own theory about why decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they're the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company.

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