Isaacson’s biography displays some of the traits that made Jobs such a successful businessman. He could have immense personal charm, when he wanted to. As Steve Wozniak said, “Steve could call up people he didn’t know and make them do things.” That ability, to get on the phone and talk someone else into do something that isn’t in her interests, is what I consider the most important skill in business.
Jobs was also incredibly opinionated about his products, and his opinions were usually right. He was a compulsive micro-manager who almost always got his way, and the result is the world of personal computing we see around us, from touchscreen phones to the rounded windows in desktop operating systems.
What you don’t see is any of the conventional management mumbo-jumbo that big-company CEOs spout to justify their fortunes—nothing about focusing on people, mentoring, creating a supportive work environment, giving people freedom but making them accountable, leading by following, etc. As I’ve said before, Steve Jobs violated just about every rule of generic company management. He succeeded because he had great product instincts, he was incredibly convincing, he was inspiring enough to get some great people to work for him, and he was a little bit crazy. In other words, he was the farthest thing you could find from the generic corporate executives who rule most of the business world.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
No Mumbo Jumbo from Steve Jobs
James Kwak just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, and reached this conclusion: