iOS chief Scott Forstall profiled as a 'maddeningly political' mini-Steve Jobs



  • Reply 41 of 88
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,212member
    Note to Forstall: practice your talks more and be humble, so you can eliminate the pregnant pauses; yes, we're all looking at you, but that's no excuse for the deer-in-headlights look; the iOS software is just one piece of iOS which is just one piece of the Apple pie.
  • Reply 42 of 88
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

    This won't end well. Steve got things done because it was his company. His vision. His leadership. Scott may be talented, but he is really just an employee. Tim isn't going anywhere, but who is the bigger loss.....Forstall or Ive? I think Ive will eventually tire of Forstall and leave. I think it's a problem when you can't get those two to have a meeting without Tim there. Control your ego Forstall.

    Possibly. But they are really both essential. A lot of their conflict may well come from the roles they have had. Frankly, there isn't a lot for an industrial designer to do with the iDevices ? five buttons, a speaker, a mic and a camera. The whole front is a flat surface. With a multitouch device there is little opportunity for form finding and haptic interaction. The software on the screen is the interface. Any slight changes in the form and hardware selection and placement really do need to go through the iOS leader. This has to be far more frustrating than working on the design of a Mac.

    Anyway, Steve really was a jerk in his early days. I think he matured and learned a great deal about sustainably working with people at Next and Pixar. He came back to Apple a far better leader than he was when he left. Scott probably needs similar seasoning. I'm most concerned about the taking credit for collaborative efforts and deflecting blame thing. That's the sort of thing I think Steve tempered later in his career. It's an ego issue. You need enough of an ego to expect and dare to do great things, but also a strong enough ego to bend and enable your colleagues to do great things too. Otherwise you just end up being a sociopath, like many of the typical overpaid executives out there.
  • Reply 43 of 88
    Originally Posted by rtm135 View Post

    Tim Cook's genius lies elsewhere, but it's not on the stage.

    True, but he's the best choice for now. When he is ready to move on Scott may be ready for the CEO role (but not yet.) Scott has been my long term pick for a while. Interesting to hear more about his strengths and shortcomings.
  • Reply 44 of 88
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Forstall graduated co-valedictorian from his high school, boasting a perfect 4.0 GPA. His valedictorian counterpart is now his wife, Molly.

    So his kids are going to be super mutants?
  • Reply 45 of 88
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

    That guy is spooky looking, zero charisma.

    I'll agree with you on spooky
  • Reply 46 of 88
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member

    While the article paints a picture of iPod guru Tony Fadell being crushed by Forstall's machinations during the competition to come up with the iPhone's OS, Fadell sent this note to Businessweek (now appended to the end of the article):


    “I inherited the competitive iPhone OS project from Jon Rubenstein and Steve Sakoman when they left Apple. I quickly shuttered the project after assessing that a modified Mac OS was the right platform to build the iPhone upon. It was clear that to create the best smartphone product possible, we needed to leverage the decades of technology, tools and resources invested in Mac OS while avoiding the unnecessary competition of dueling projects.”

    Which completely contradicts the story. I guess he might be trying to protect Apple, but he hasn't worked there for a while and really doesn't have much motivation for covering for Forstall (particularly if they had the kind of bad relationship depicted in the article).

    Stories that are sourced from a lot of anonymous former employees have to be taken with a grain of salt, IMO.
  • Reply 47 of 88
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

    None of those degrees prepares you to be a public speaker nor a visionary.

    Vision is a trait a person has or not. It can't really be taught or learned, only honed.

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

    Sorry, but Steve didn't technically have an Industrial Design bachelor's degree [that's all Ive hass] but he had nearly 30 years of design work.

    Nope. Not really. He did have a great understanding of and sensitivity for design though. Which is why he has been so successful for 30 years at the executive level of a design centric companies (not so much actual *design* though, but definitely some.) Johnny Ive has been lucky. Being a designer/design manager for Steve Jobs at Apple has probably been the best, most productive and enjoyable design job ever.

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

    The man designed the NeXT Computer Manufacturing fully automated robotics assembly plant.

    Great mythology, but I not very likely. I'm sure he was key to the process though.

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

    He designed the Magneto Optical Disc holder on the NeXTStation that worked with Canon drives. Canon didn't manage it.

    Possibly, but really I think overall, you confuse heading up a design effort or managing design with being a designer. They really are two different things, although they do both require design thinking.

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

    He was intricate in designing how the NeXTStation, NeXT Printer and the Cube was designed. The same with every Apple product since coming back.

    "intricate" ?

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

    He didn't do the final drafting and of course didn't put his P.E. stamp of approval on the wire harness, IC boards, Heat dissipation solutions, etc., but every part was redesigned if it didn't meet his critical eye for design.

    In other words, he was a user of design services, like many executives. He was definitely the most sophisticated and design savvy CEO in the business. An aficionado and very experienced and knowledgable user of design. It just so happens he also used engineering, software, marketing and manufacturing in the same way. Most CEO's are just good at managing one thing, usually money or people.
  • Reply 48 of 88
    When I think of CW I think of the Deer Hunter
  • Reply 49 of 88
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,430member
    I had no idea that Forstall was from Washington.

    I'm glad he's an A-hole. That's the way things get done.
  • Reply 50 of 88
    NO WAY! The only person that could follow into jobs footsteps (with a lot of training) is JONATHAN IVE. and guess what: looking at all the patents, he must have been involved behind th scenes quite strong. Ive is the new jobs!
  • Reply 51 of 88
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    I imagine it's all politics once you reach the upper echelons. The surprising thing to me is people at that level who are down on all the product details.

    And I don't think he looks spooky at all. In the Apple product videos he sometimes looks a little mad-scientisty, but in keynotes he looks perfectly normal.
  • Reply 52 of 88
    iansilviansilv Posts: 283member
    Someone above asked if Scott Forstall is a visionary, like Steve Jobs- yes- the guy created the f'ing app store- I would say that is a visionary action.

    "Maddeningly political!?!?" That's the intellectual way for the guy who sucks to vent his frustration at the guy who likely pointed out the fact that he sucks.

    Look, I just do not buy this democratic mentalliity that gets applied to Apple's leadership. Guys like Jobs, Cook, Forstall, Ives, Mansfield, Schiller- they do what they do because they are brilliant, and if you work for them, you are lucky, as you don't have to worry about the company you work for going under... The egotistical ones are the ones who are mad they are not being listened to when really, they should shut up.

    RIM, on the other hand, is SOL because they do not have leadership and the people who are supposed to lead... Suck.
  • Reply 53 of 88
    oc4theooc4theo Posts: 294member
    I never met this guy, but I like his style.

    Someone got to be in charge, and he is. He is a go getter. Apple needs him now more than he needs Apple.

    And Apple better keep him, or he might start his own company. Managers need to be knowledgeable about the product they manage. This guy knows his products and runs them well.

    We are looking at a future CEO of Apple Inc.
  • Reply 54 of 88
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,758member
    Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

    Unfortunately, most of corporate America is like that...

    Why "unfortunately"?
  • Reply 55 of 88
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,758member
    Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Kubrick View Post

    I can't deny that I was a little disgusted by the fact that he was not only co-valedictorian but he married the other co-valedictorian. Give me a break.

    Feeling inadequate in comparison?

    Why should it matter?

    What are we, back in Jr. High?
  • Reply 56 of 88
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,758member
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post

    Stories that are sourced from a lot of anonymous former employees have to be taken with a grain of salt, IMO.

    More like a salt lick

    I could complain we are becoming a tabloid society - but really we always have been - just look at old newspapers. One of the more disgusting traits of humanity, really.
  • Reply 57 of 88
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Kubrick View Post

    I can't deny that I was a little disgusted by the fact that he was not only co-valedictorian but he married the other co-valedictorian. Give me a break.

    What about the Prom King & Queen marrying each other? That's also cringe-worthy.

    Now, I was pipped in a number of classes by my high school valedictorian but she was a decent enough person. I managed to top "IT" class because the top programmer-geek-dude was too busy making his own 3D engine (remember, this is mid-90s) to bother with assignments. As for somehow getting into "advanced" Maths I got burned pretty bad in that one by the (other?) "nerds".

    Nerds, geeks, cheerleaders, jocks, emos, musos, and everyone in-between, it's not so much what they were part of but what they were like as a person, and what they became after that. As Steve says, you can only connect the dots looking backwards.

    My prom "date" was a cute but hardcore religious fanatic. I've learned much since then... She had her heart in the right place, but her fanaticism was somewhat scary upon reflection in my later years.
  • Reply 58 of 88
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

    I imagine it's all politics once you reach the upper echelons. The surprising thing to me is people at that level who are down on all the product details.

    And I don't think he looks spooky at all. In the Apple product videos he sometimes looks a little mad-scientisty, but in keynotes he looks perfectly normal.

    The difference is that iOS has both the polish and curation characteristic of Jobs. If this is also largely due to Forstall, that's a good thing. Politics is always a dirty game but those who can squeeze in some actual product management are worthwhile. Scott might be an a-hole to some or many but at least he doesn't seem to be any kind of typical Dilbert manager.
  • Reply 59 of 88
    Interesting. While we give Steve credit for all kinds of things (which, IMHO, is correct), mourn his loss (I do, too), admire how he managed the "public" part of his own final departure in the most appropriate way imaginable (I think he did, taking the right steps at the right time), why don't we give hime some credits and trust his ability to assemble talent to carry on the torch? Besides the obvious capabilities of Scott and some of the other people in Apple's management team, to me it doesn't look like Steve was one of those people that only "use" other's skills to just look better themselves. He helped all those guys to gain strength, be more public than they would typically be, yet still reserved enough to not become a media figure instead of doing actual work, went on to be high on his own standards of work ethics as a role model to the others and brought together a world class team.

    He knew quite well that he himself could not easily be replaced by a single person, and he also knew that there's no actual need to do that, and not even trying actually reduces dependency on a single human being (whose time would naturally be limited, too) and that's what he seems to have carried out as one of the final duties to the company and customers. A lot has been said about Apple's "lack" of a succession plan; my personal opinion is that those statements are as bad as they could be - there's probably no company in a better shape than this one (anybody know any other name @Oracle at all, besides Larry? Or *any* name @ Sony? Or ....) - at Apple, we probably know about 10 other names, because they *are* indeed visible.

    The only thing left to be proven is whether that "vision" part can also come out of a team instead of a genius person; I think the answer is yes, if the team is build on common DNA, gets along in some way or the other, and enables the creative energy to float. I personally think that, at this time and at this company, currently that's clearly the case and, while I'll too miss Steve's personal presence around all this, looking forward to see the results of it!

    I'll have my 4S in the mail today, and I'm excited as hell. :-)

    Cheers from Germany,

  • Reply 60 of 88
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

    Good lord, I didn't slag Jobs in any way. But you just had to find a reason to be all up in arms.

    Man, some of you are so defensive about Jobs and Apple, as if defending the man and the company would confer their greatness on you.

    This is so cute.

    I just pointed out your statement was incorrect and cited several examples. Then again, if you asked Ive how he perceived Jobs and his design credentials from what you said he'd call you a fool and tell you you know nothing about industrial design in the Computing Industry.

    Unlike any other CEO in recent history, Jobs was the only one who envisioned markets and devices for those markets.

    Steve could have amassed several degrees over his life, if he wanted to do so. You won't get one person at NeXT, PIXAR or Apple in Engineering and Design to support your comments about design and Steve Jobs. They'd laugh at you.

    I find it truly ironic that Bill Gates who has his name on 32 patents is often referred to as Chief Software Architect. The guy hasn't touched crap for decades and people still perpetuate the myth that he was some world class developer/architect.

    Jobs has his name on 312 currently and you mock him for not being a designer or having any background in it. You bet I'll call you out on such a myopic comment.

    Gates primarily has one skill: Business. The man would have been thrown in jail today with the crap he pulled. He screwed over more people in the IT industry and he admits it. He admits freely that the crap they pulled at Microsoft then would be illegal today.
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