Former Apple CEO John Sculley says he never fired co-founder Steve Jobs

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  • Reply 81 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tjwal View Post


    I believe that networked computers have had exactly the same impact as the printing press. The printing press made books available to a much wider audience. It took 3 to 4 centuries before books became available to everyone.



    Now it is more than books, Networked computers make video, audio, the performing arts, scientific papers etc. etc. that is available to everyone. It is available instantly, is searchable, and at a cost that is an order of magnitude less than printed material. It has taken only a couple of decades to accomplish this.



    Jobs' greatest contribution to all of this was his vision of everyone having a computer. It was his vision of a computer for everyone that started the PC revolution. Without the PC networked computers would probably just belong to Universities and the Military.



    I understand what you are saying, but I think the analogy is approximate at best, hardly exact. Information is available on computers to people have access to computers. A very large percentage of the planet's population still has little or no access to computers and a great many of those have no access to the internet. Some day, very probably, but not now.



    At this point I am saying it's too early to make a judgement about what the impacts of this technology will be, let alone whether they will rival the cultural importance of printing. As you say, it took centuries for printed materials to saturate the world culture. We can look back and evaluate the impacts this had. What we cannot do with any bit of certainty is to look forward.



    I won't address the Steve Jobs argument, since it has nothing to do with the point I am making (and I don't see the relevance).



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    1) Printing existed before the printing press.



    2) The wheel is essential to every printing press I've seen. Gears are wheels.



    3) You can learn from computers. Inarguably you can learn more from computers than from the printed word due to the many ways in which information can be presented, including being able to interact and get direct feedback, like in this conversation I'm having with someone I've chatted with for years on this site yet no very little about. I don't even know what country you live in.





    I honestly don't see how any one can be compared to the other in any real sense as they all build each other.



    edit: Yet another way to look at it would be from it's future utility. While I don't think it will go away the printing press is certainly obsolecing due to networked computers which are still increasing. We have bathroom scales that are networked! Until we can talk to each other with our minds I think networked computers will continue, while the printing press seems to be less used each year.



    Now take wheel. Certainly used less as digital technology moves to less moving parts, but still used, at least for the cooling fan of this powered technology. We also haw more and more automobiles which are a plethora of wheels, not just on the ones on the ground. Yet I can see how even the wheel in automobiles could become less used as we move to engines with less moving parts, something we have the digital age to thank for.



    I think you might be missing the point of what I was saying, particularly my comparison to the wheel. Printing existed before the printing press, but on a much, much smaller scale. If you read into this I think you will find that the printing press is credited as the driving force behind ending the Middle Ages and sparking the Renaissance. Now it happens that the Renaissance was perhaps the single greatest inflection point in human history. Our human culture as we know it today was essentially created during this period. It would not have been possible without the ability to mass produce sharable knowledge.



    Are we on the edge of something similarly important today? Perhaps. The argument in favor is interesting, but in the end, pure guesswork.
  • Reply 82 of 122
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Are we on the edge of something similarly important today? Perhaps. The argument in favor is interesting, but in the end, pure guesswork.



    I disagree with your conclusion. If you think the printing press is the most important invention we've discussed there is no quantifiable evidence to say your wrong. I think the wheel is far more important to the world and I'm right from my own PoV. If we hadn't discovered the wheel then we wouldn't have geometry, just like if you didn't understand electricity you won't have the transistor. Mot important is simply not relevant as they are all important to altering how we interact. Bottom line is that we know that the digital age, computer,and Steve Jobs have contributed greatly to the world. Do future generations have to be talking about them in order for their contributions to be valid? Absolutely not. In fact I bet there are pinnacle inventions and people that have shaped this world in ways that we never will consider.



    PS: Check out James Burke's Connections series. If you aren't already familiar with them I think you'll enjoy them.
  • Reply 83 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I disagree with your conclusion. If you think the printing press is the most important invention we've discussed there is no quantifiable evidence to say your wrong. I think the wheel is far more important to the world and I'm right from my own PoV. If we hadn't discovered the wheel then we wouldn't have geometry, just like if you didn't understand electricity you won't have the transistor. Mot important is simply not relevant as they are all important to altering how we interact. Bottom line is that we know that the digital age, computer,and Steve Jobs have contributed greatly to the world. Do future generations have to be talking about them in order for their contributions to be valid? Absolutely not. In fact I bet there are pinnacle inventions and people that have shaped this world in ways that we never will consider.



    PS: Check out James Burke's Connections series. If you aren't already familiar with them I think you'll enjoy them.



    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. These are debatable matters. But I think the part you perhaps haven't fully appreciated is the nature of evaluating the importance of historical events. We can debate the importance of past events once we can examine the record of the changes they've caused. This gives us knowledge and perspective as a basis for argument. But judging the importance of today's events on the future is another kettle of fish entirely. That's futurism, or science fiction. Got nothing against either, but they aren't history.



    I remember the Burke series only vaguely. That was on a many years ago, wasn't it?
  • Reply 84 of 122
    You guys are pretty far afield from the topic,"History, according to Walter Mitty".
  • Reply 85 of 122
    I'm the last person to not appreciate a Walter Mitty reference, but I'm sorry, I don't get the connection.
  • Reply 86 of 122
    Sculley is just talking semantics, but in the end it is effectively the same thing. The words are different but the result is the same.
  • Reply 87 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    I'm the last person to not appreciate a Walter Mitty reference, but I'm sorry, I don't get the connection.





    IMO, the thread should be called "History, according to Walter Mitty". He is spinning his actions in past events.
  • Reply 88 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ktappe View Post


    OK, so he wasn't officially "fired". But he was demoted, humiliated, and stripped of power to see his visions of the future realized. That's as close to fired as one can get and I don't think any of us can blame him for walking and taking any co-visionaries with him. He was simply too good at what he did not to find a path forward.



    I got that as well.



    Both Sculley and Jobs are being honest here. But from Jobs point of view, it was a lack of respect from the board.



    Sculley on the other hand, looked at this as if he was doing the stockholder's business -- and went to the board. Which I think was wrong -- he didn't respect enough the man who brought him on. Maybe a lot of people would THINK that a company is about the stock -- but I don't think anyone would be calling Sculley to get his help saving a company again.



    The ultimate "bad guy" here was the board of directors however -- they shot him in the back and expected that since it wasn't a fatal wound, everything could be fine. Wow.
  • Reply 89 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    IMO, the thread should be called "History, according to Walter Mitty". He is spinning his actions in past events.



    In the story to which you refer, the protagonist imagined a complete fantasy life for himself as an escape from the dull and drab one he was living in reality. Whether you agree with Scully's recollections of events (and I doubt you have any good reason to do otherwise), he was the actual CEO of Apple. A very thin analogy at best.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post


    I got that as well.



    Both Sculley and Jobs are being honest here. But from Jobs point of view, it was a lack of respect from the board.



    Sculley on the other hand, looked at this as if he was doing the stockholder's business -- and went to the board. Which I think was wrong -- he didn't respect enough the man who brought him on. Maybe a lot of people would THINK that a company is about the stock -- but I don't think anyone would be calling Sculley to get his help saving a company again.



    The ultimate "bad guy" here was the board of directors however -- they shot him in the back and expected that since it wasn't a fatal wound, everything could be fine. Wow.



    I agree with the your conclusion. From everything I've heard over the years, the board deserves a lot of blame for Apple's lack of direction during this period. But I think we also can't overlook the culture of chaos that Steve Jobs created at the company. It wasn't survivable. The remarkable thing was how much Steve v.2 differed from Steve v.1. During his exile he learned something about how to run a company. In the end, you can't really blame anyone, everything having worked out so incredibly well.
  • Reply 90 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    He was intelligent and thoughtful, but he still almost killed Apple. During his tenure (and after, until Jobs returned), Apple had a number of serious problems:



    - during the early part of Sculley's tenure, they released very few machines in the Mac line: Jobs left in October of 1985, so let's not blame Sculley for 1986. But in 1987, Apple released only an updated version of the Apple IIe and three Macs: a II, II/40MBHD and an SE. In 1988, they released a very slightly enhanced version of the IIc, called the IIc+, which was the very last model in the Apple II line and three new variations on the Mac: a Mac II 40MB with 4MB of memory, an SE with a hard disk and the IIx. In 1989, four more insubstantial variations: SE30, IIcx, IIci and another SE variant. Etc.



    - One of the supposed big bone of contentions between Sculley and Jobs was that Jobs wanted to de-emphasize the Apple II line in favor of the Mac. But even under Sculley, the Apple II line only lasted another year.



    - In 1993, Sculley's last year, Apple released an incredibly confusing lineup of 26 desktop Macs across five product lines (Mac, LC, Centris, Quadra, Performa) and 6 laptops. This was a huge marketing mistake as the product line was so confusing, even informed consumers had no idea what to buy and what the differences were. It was also Apple's "grey box" era where most of the computers comprised of clunky looking odd shapes.



    - Sculley initiated the development of a next-gen operating system, but could never get the team to pull it off, although Sculley's replacements (Spindler, et al) were no better and it wasn't until Apple purchased NeXT that they were able to accomplish OS X. But during this period, Apple kept changing their approach to the next OS, which severely alienated developers and program producers and turned them away from the Mac.



    -The Newton was developed under Sculley's tenure. And we all know what a great device that was.



    - By the time Steve returned in July of 1997, Apple's finances were in such distress that the company was close to going under. Sculley can't take all the blame because he left four years earlier, but he certainly was part of the problem.



    So while most historians of the era praise Jobs for recognizing that he needed an outside, experienced executive to run Apple, they criticized him (in retrospect) for hiring the wrong person and making the hiring decision based upon personality.



    As for Sculley, Condé Nast Portfolio ranked Sculley as the 14th worst American CEO of all time. I've met executives like Sculley and they do very well when companies pretty much run themselves and have strong executive teams who actually manage the company, so they can simply act as the figurehead. They don't do well when they have to take an active role and/or when companies have severe strategic problems.



    While Scully made mistakes, as Jobs himself did. He did correct the biggest mistake Jobs made, which was refusing to deliver an expandable Mac. No matter what you say, without that product, and I remember very well its introduction, the Mac would have been finished, and probably, so would Apple have been.



    The reason why Apple came out with so many models was that it was criticized as having too few models to compete with the vast number of PC products, in many physical and pricing categories, and so Apple complied. Then, years later, Apple was criticized as having too many models. Sometimes, you just can't win!



    But don't forget that Jobs himself came out with products that bombed, even after he came back. remember the Cube?
  • Reply 91 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post


    I work in the corporate world and what he says is half true, people get "moved around" all the time.



    What he does not mention is that some moves are disguised firings, even though the person is not actually terminated. This is common practice in upper management. The message comes precisely in the form Sculley sent it: the executive is removed from their role, perhaps given some token role with a big name. It's done this way because the overt firing of major executives is an embarrassment to the organization and it looks bad on their CV. Companies (in other words, other executives) give those fired this way the valuable ability to say that they left on their own.



    Most executives thus marginalized will leave quietly within a few months, ideally to a job elsewhere. This may have been what Sculley expected, but Jobs was no corporate soldier. He was self-made and full of ideas. He understood he had no future at Apple, and not being one to waste time he left and went to form NeXT.



    Sculley is a liar because he understands corporate language perfectly and knows full well what he did to Jobs. Now that this is a liability to him, he uses a technicality to try weasel away from it.



    His revenue and market share stats are of little meaning, since the company had huge momentum and no credible competition in the GUI OS space till Windows 3.0 showed up in 1990. It was then that the lack of innovation and vision under Sculley was gradually exposed, and the 90's proceeded to be a big bag of hurt for Apple till Jobs returned.



    No, he's not a liar. Whatever you have to hay, facts are still facts. When he was accused of actually having fired Jobs, it wasn't true. Company founders are often incompetent at running to company they founded. jobs was no exception. His age projected itself before him. And in many companies, the founder remains on the board, or is even eventually given the relatively harmless position of Chair, while they have no formal duties. The founder is not like some other lower level executive.
  • Reply 92 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    You've argued yourself right out of your own premise with this statement, by thinking so much from within your own frame of reference. The printing press was one of the most important factors leading to the end of the Dark Ages and the sparking of the Renaissance, very probably the single most important leap in the history of human culture. The internet-connected computer has a long way to go before it can be shown to have equal importance.



    The other thing that ended the in appropriately named "Dark Ages" was the collapse of the Byzantium Empire. The scholars fled from there to Europe, and introduced the learning that Europeans lacked. Major event.
  • Reply 93 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


    Shockingly bounded vision exhibited here by yourself, Dr. M., though I agree about the Renaissance.



    Simple logic should let you see that each connected computer is not only a printing press but a library that encompasses, or will encompass, all the world's printed materials. Then add sound and picture and moving picture. Then add instant search and indexing. Do I need to go on?



    The computer is to the printed book as the printed book is to the hand-lettered papyrus scroll. To think otherwise is perhaps to betray a sentimental over-attachment to a venerable ancestral technology?



    We can use another Renaissance, since we're still saddled with the main Creation myths that belonged to the Dark Ages. I think Steve Jobs had a new Enlightenment in mind when he talked about changing the world.



    Ps. I'm not one to short sell the effects of the Gutenberg revolution. The book and other forms of print created individualism, authorship, readership, democracy 2.0, along with the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, and the scientific revolution. But we ain't seen nothing yet. The next revolution, based on having essentially all the world's knowledge past and present in your pocket, could be called the Jobsian revolution in times to come. That's why I think comparisons with Walt Disney, Edison or Ford are too slight and cheap toward what Jobs accomplished.



    You simply can't attribute all of this to Jobs. You really can't! Even though he made major contributions, they all they were. He didn't invent the first 4004, 8008, and 8080 chips that lead to other companies producing microcomputer chips which led to the Altair 8080 and others, before App,e came on the scene. He also didn't invent the Internet, we have the department of defense to thank for that. He didn't invent Pagemaker, or the laser printer, or the 3.5" floppy, or the CD, etc.



    He did take advantage of some of that before others did. In doing so, he made plenty of mistakes along the way.



    The thing with Jobs, was that he had the smarts and determinations to correct most of his mistakes, and to hire brilliant people around him to do what he couldn't.



    But, let's not elevate him to a status he didn't have. In the end, that really just demeans what he did do.
  • Reply 94 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


    To me it is screamingly obvious that a machine that "contains" a billion or so dynamically searchable pieces or volumes of information and/or knowledge, in the hands of hundreds of millions at all times of the day is going to be a quantum leap in both our intellect and sensorium as a species.



    Maybe we should try to imagine what is beyond science, which I agree was a very big deal among many other big deals produced by print.



    How about global cultural ecumenicalism? World virtual exploration? World social nirvana? The revival of the archaic nature "religions" (they weren't really religions; Robert Graves called them "festal systems")? The end of the Indo-European system of dominance by conquest? The demotion of the Indo-European "Abrahamic" god? The thirteen-moon calendar?



    I leave it to your imagination how we build on the galaxy of changes wrought by Gutenberg. I take it you've read the work of the sage of Toronto, Marshall McLuhan. He has a lot to say about the creation of the global village created by electronic media.



    I just would like to see the Jobsian contribution framed in a serious way. It's being missed by a wide margin. Almost dismissed, and it's basic media theory



    I do believe that the Internet, which is, in itself, building upon personal computer systems, is more important than even the computers running upon it. Yes, this is already making major changes in the way we work, play, and shop. We may even get to the point where, in a story I read decades ago, before the personal computer was invented, we never need to leave our home. I hope that doesn't happen.



    But, as we are already seeing, governments around the world can, and are, limiting what their people can see, read, and present on the internet. The idea that the Internet will pervade the world's society equally, and totally change everything, is perhaps naive. Maybe in the further future, that could happen, but then, there is no way to reliably predict more than a decade ahead, and that's fraught with problems.



    Right now, the computer, and the Internet is allowing us to do what we've always done, but more easily, and effectively. For now, I think we should leave it to that.
  • Reply 95 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I'm not following. I see you made comments about whether the computer age was more important than the printing press, but Woodlink's comments are about Steve Jobs contributions not having any known or measurable level of social contributions.



    I can't agree or disagree about the level of important significance something has affected the world but the printing press v computer can easily be argued if you take either side. Taking a position opposite of yours the computer got us to the moon, put giant machines in orbit, and all sorts of other things that connected us to the rest of the world. It's taken what the printing press could do and then made it easier and faster than it ever could been. The point is that it allowed for the automation of the written word (and ideas), which is why you choose this over writing in general, but the computer and internet allow for all this, too, just better and easier.



    Ah! We can so easily confuse things. The printing press made a major difference, because it changed so very many things. Almost no one read back then. Everything was in people's memory, such as it is. Printing brought the price of information way down, so that those who could never afford to buy a handwritten book could buy one of these. And they were still expensive. Still, while a handwritten book might have had a circulation in single digits, or at best dozens (except for religious works, of course), the earliest printed books had a circulation in the hundreds, and then the low thousands. This was a major change, though it seems laughable now.



    The computer has expanded this, from the ubiquitous nature of modern books and magazines, to instant information. This is great, along with the long range communication we find on forums, where people from all around the world participate.



    But space travel isn't a good example. Even though my background is scientific, and even though I'm a dreamer about this, with over 3,000 science fiction novels in my library. I have to admit, that so far, and of the near future, at least, space travel is a bust. Not the best example. And we got to the moon with primitive mainframes and expensive mini- computers. Not a personal computer in sight.
  • Reply 96 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I would say digital age over networked computers. That is what sparked everything. It's what led to the transistor and microchip that allowed for these machines to be in our homes and connected to each other.



    I wonder how many computers I interact per day. I mean, how many do my computing devices interact with when I do basic tasks like using my phone, doing a google search, reading a Wikipedia page (which includes all that have attributed to the page), and even participating on this forum.



    What you ask is hard because the printing press allowed for printed materials about the digital age, so do you count the foundational invention as higher or the newer one if it led to a lot more rapid changes in many more ways?



    Admittedly I know very little about the printing press. I don't know if it causes a huge change in metal alloys being created for the press. If it sparked new paper and ink creation, etc. Yet with the digital age I know of many other areas of technology that were directly affected by it in ways that have changed this world forever. We can sequence DNA!



    If you want specifically go with networked computers over the digital age because we're going with printing press over writing then I present to artificial satellites. We have giant clocks in space (GPS) that can tell us where we are in long., lat., and height above sea level in seconds. We have others with cameras and sensors that read the earth to detect changes. The idea that we can get images from a camera high above Earth and send them to your TV is impressive and has changed the world.



    The metal alloy's developed, as well as the inks were inconsequential. What mattered was that information became much more widely available. It changed the way people thought, and that is always the biggest contribution anything can ever make.



    Before the printing press, almost everything written in Europe was about religion. There were few things other than that around, other than some texts about crafts from some well known people, such as artists, and jewelers. Printing allowed much more to be written, and distributed. It effectively ended the monopoly on written works that the religious authorities had. This was about as major a revolution as society anywhere ever had. You just can't imagine, without studying the era, how this changed things.



    I'm not going to belittle what connected computing has done, because it may prove to be just as major. But computing, in general, is more than that. This will be debated forever.
  • Reply 97 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    1) Printing existed before the printing press.



    2) The wheel is essential to every printing press I've seen. Gears are wheels.



    3) You can learn from computers. Inarguably you can learn more from computers than from the printed word due to the many ways in which information can be presented, including being able to interact and get direct feedback, like in this conversation I'm having with someone I've chatted with for years on this site yet no very little about. I don't even know what country you live in.





    I honestly don't see how any one can be compared to the other in any real sense as they all build each other.



    edit: Yet another way to look at it would be from it's future utility. While I don't think it will go away the printing press is certainly obsolecing due to networked computers which are still increasing. We have bathroom scales that are networked! Until we can talk to each other with our minds I think networked computers will continue, while the printing press seems to be less used each year.



    Now take wheel. Certainly used less as digital technology moves to less moving parts, but still used, at least for the cooling fan of this powered technology. We also haw more and more automobiles which are a plethora of wheels, not just on the ones on the ground. Yet I can see how even the wheel in automobiles could become less used as we move to engines with less moving parts, something we have the digital age to thank for.



    Sol, you're really pushing it here. Printing was around before the press, but it wasn't what you apparently think it was. Each letter has hand carved out of wood, a very laborious process. And what was normally done was to carve an entire page up. There was no was to print large volumes. At any rate, the printing press is correctly given the weight in history it deserves. Nothing can diminish the effect it had. Without it, we wouldn't have computers today.



    The original printing presses didn't use gears or wheels. They used big screws. Later on, they used gears to speed up the process of opening and closing the press. But gears back then weren't gears as we think of them today. They were made of wood, and didn't look anything like gears as invented some time after. But I don't know what this has to do with anything.



    When the only way you can learn anything is to apprentice with a master from when you're a small boy (girls needn't apply), learning is going to be limited to a very small few. And since that very small few can barely read enough to do very simple math for accounting, which itself was very simple for most people who needed to do that, and most people didn't, and to learn a few words associated with your craft, most people didn't know much of anything.



    Printing changed everything. And you should really get off your horse about this and acknowledge it.
  • Reply 98 of 122
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    But space travel isn't a good example. Even though my background is scientific, and even though I'm a dreamer about this, with over 3,000 science fiction novels in my library. I have to admit, that so far, and of the near future, at least, space travel is a bust. Not the best example. And we got to the moon with primitive mainframes and expensive mini- computers. Not a personal computer in sight.



    You're also discounting all the artificial satellites that we use every single day? None of that is possible without computers.
  • Reply 99 of 122
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Printing changed everything. And you should really get off your horse about this and acknowledge it.



    Not on a horse. Have acknowledged it. I've also acknowledged how other inventions build upon other inventions which makes saying the wheel is an inferior invention to printing a foolish stance. I clearly stated that don't hold any one of these inventions to be better or worse than the other. I also stated that the computer age has changed the world though I keep getting told "This will be debated forever." when the proof is all around us.
  • Reply 100 of 122
    Why I tend to not post on these forums anymore....



    Endless 'debates' between the usual suspects as to who is more correct about (usually) something vaguely related to the news story...



    The comic geek from the Simpsons dutifully hammering away on the keyboard to express his indignation comes to mind....
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