Inside Steve's Brain by Leander Kahney
According to Kahney, Jobs created wars, forced people to take sides, sold them expensive in-group-identifying products, and used the proceeds to create more opportunities to upsell his troops.
Most management advice for the last twenty-five years has focused on issues like empathy and compassion. Advice books encourage building teamwork through kindness and understanding. There’s been very little written about scaring the pants off employees to improve results.
A senior HR executive from Sun once described for Upside magazine an interview with Jobs. She’d already endured more than ten weeks of interviews with senior Apple executives before reaching Jobs. Immediately, Jobs put her on the spot: “He told me my background wasn’t suitable for the position. Sun is a good place, he said, but ‘Sun is no Apple.’ He said he would have eliminated me as a candidate from the start.” Jobs asked the woman if she had any questions, so she queried him about corporate strategy. Jobs dismissed the question: “We’re only disclosing our strategy on a ‘need-to-know’ basis,” he told her. So she asked him why he wanted an HR executive. Big mistake. Jobs replied, “I’ve never met one of you who didn’t suck. I’ve never known an HR person who had anything but a mediocre mentality.” Then he took a telephone call, and the woman left a wreck.8 If she had stuck up for herself, she would have fared much better.
Over at Pixar, he had just signed a $2 million sales order with Hewlett-Packard, one of Apple’s rivals, he said. The Apple rep had been competing for the contract, but lost out. “He called this woman out in front of everyone,” Eigerman recalled. But the saleswoman stood up for herself. She started yelling back. “I was very impressed with her,” Eigerman said. “She was furious. She defended herself but he would not hear her out. He told her to sit down. The saleswoman is still at Apple, and she is doing very well.
“In our business, one person can’t do anything anymore. You create a team of people around you.”
The killing of the Newton was widely considered an act of vengeance on Sculley, who had ousted Jobs from Apple in the late 1980s. The Newton was Sculley’s baby, and here was Jobs knifing it to get revenge. After all, the Newton division had just turned its first profit and was about to be spun off into a separate company. A whole new industry for handhelds was springing up, which would soon come to be dominated by the Palm Pilot.
According to authors Polly LaBarre and William C. Taylor, who profiled Pixar for their book Mavericks at Work, the culture of Pixar is the opposite of that in Hollywood, which is based on hiring moviemakers under contract.
Several weeks before launch, Apple’s PR department sends the new gadget under strict nondisclosure agreements to three of the most influential technology product reviewers: Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal, David Pogue at the New York Times, and Edward Baig at USA Today. It’s always the same three reviewers, because these three have proven track records of making or breaking products. A bad review can doom a device, but a good one can make it a blockbuster. Mossberg, Pogue, and Baig prepare their reviews for publication on the product’s launch date. Meanwhile, Apple’s PR department contacts the national news and business magazines, offering a behind-the-scenes “making of ” peek at the product. This “making of ” is usually anything but—most details are withheld—however, it’s better than nothing and the magazines always take Jobs up on it. The reporter hangs out at Apple for a few days and is fed a few details about the product’s backstory for their piece. Putting Jobs’s face on the cover moves magazines on the newsstands. Jobs plays off old rivalries. He pits Time against Newsweek and Fortune against Forbes. The magazine that promises the most extensive coverage gets the exclusive.
In the old days, the information flowed so fast out of Apple that the legendary trade publication MacWeek was known as MacLeek.
The “Think Different” campaign was criticized for using noncommercial figures, people who patently didn’t believe in commercial culture. It even included committed nonmaterial ists like Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, who actively opposed commercialism. These figures would never endorse a product in a commercial—and here Apple was using them to endorse products. A lot of critics couldn’t believe Apple’s chutzpah and thought the company had stepped over the line.
Sculley described how Jobs would celebrate the team’s accomplishments with “unusual flair.” He uncorked bottles of champagne to mark milestones, and frequently treated the team to educational trips to museums or exhibits.
On his last day, Jobs called him from his office across campus. “Steve was charming to the end,” Hoddie said. “He said good luck. It wasn’t, ‘fuck you.’ Of course, there’s a degree of calculation in everything he does.”
monkey can always find reason in chaos.
dell sweeps what aapl cant keep
Jobs loves to boast that Apple runs a tighter ship than Dell. “We beat Dell on operational metrics every quarter,” he told Rolling Stone. “We are absolutely as good of a manufacturer as Dell. Our logistics are as good as Dell’s. Our online store is better than Dell’s.”9 However, it should be noted that Apple sells half as many computers as Dell and has a much simpler product matrix.
magnetic power adapters for several years for the same reason—to prevent boiling water from being thrown across the kitchen if a child snags the power cord.
Jobs often took staff on tours of museums and to special exhibits to educate them about design or architecture.
During one meeting, the group exhaustively evaluated three types of lighting just to make sure multicolored iMacs would shine as they do in glossy print ads, according to Business 2.0 magazine. “Every little element in the store is designed to these very details,” Johnson said.36 In October 2000, after several months of work, the prototype store was nearly ready when Johnson had a revelation. He realized that the store didn’t reflect Apple’s digital hub philosophy, which put the computer at the heart of the digital lifestyle.
The retail stores demonstrate Apple’s innovation at work. Unlike the doomed Power Mac Cube, the stores were designed with the customer experience firmly in mind.