Jobs on "marathon" meetings, successors, and iPods saving Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A new interview with Apple chief Steve Jobs reveals some of the company's more extraordinary practices, including weekly reviews of the entire business. It also confirms Jobs' approach to a successor and the crucial role of the iPod in Apple's turnaround.



In his discussion with Fortune, Jobs notes that top staff at the company meet every Monday to review the company's entire direction for the past week -- a practice not often seen at other companies, but one which the company co-founder says is essential to coordinating the larger company strategy and fostering independence among the others.



"When you hire really good people you have to give them a piece of the business and let them run with it," he says. "I want [them] making as good or better decisions than I would. So the way to do that is to have them know everything, not just in their part of the business, but in every part of the business."



The technique explains Jobs' confidence in finding a replacement should he ever leave. Echoing his remarks made on Tuesday at the annual shareholders' meeting, Jobs observes that there are multiple prime candidates for the top spot, particularly chief operating officer Tim Cook. Senior officials at Apple are reportedly skilled enough that there would be little risk. "Some people say, 'Oh, God, if [he] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble," Jobs adds jokingly. "But there are really capable people at Apple."



He also uses this approach as justification for his at times legendary reputation for harsh criticism. Pushing employees to their limits improves them beyond what they thought possible of themselves, he says.



The executive takes further pride in the company's ability to say "no" to common business tactics. Consulants have never been brought in to verify the company's own behavior, just those of competitors. Apple has likewise repeatedly turned down some ideas, even seemingly viable ones, for the sake of maintaining its concentration on just a few key product lines.



Of those lines, the iPod may well have proved the most critical. While the Mac has always been the company's backbone, Jobs admits that the iPod proved virtually essential to rescuing the company from its reputation as a niche-only computer manufacturer. The runaway success of the music player helped validate the company's approach, both to itself and to others. Inside the company, the iPod was a "great shot in the arm" to a company used to never picking up more than 5 percent marketshare.



More importantly, he states, it broke the complacence of the market towards options beyond Windows. As people became aware of Apple once again, it gave the company an opportunity to expand and set itself up as a viable competitor to Microsoft and Windows-based PC builders.



"People have finally started to realize that they don't have to put up with Windows - that there is an alternative," he explains. "I think nobody really thought about it that way before."
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    patsfan83patsfan83 Posts: 156member
    "And we only have about 600 movies so far ingested on iTunes, but we'll have thousands later this year."



    Let's hope so.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Well if you ask me (you know you did) it looks like Apple is getting some very good press. Frankly they have at least a few practices that the rest of corporate American could learn a bit from. Especially the corporate wide meetings on a weekly basis.



    In some ways I do like the fact that Apple keeps its product lines focused. It is good for Apple and I actually think reduces waste. However I'm also frustrated that Apple seems to ignore consumer demand which I believe is hurting them considerably.



    By this I mean such things as FM radio in the iPods, a serious effort at Newton 2, a serious run at a consumer grade expandable desktop Mac and other long running wants and needs. In some cases the exclusion of features seems like an attempt to simply irritate their customers.



    One example is the reference to FM radio above which can be had for an extremely low price as some networking chips have the feature built in. So we are not talking about a huge increase in cost to offer the consumer a bit of extra capacity. Even something like AIR could have leveraged an FM Radio. Same thing goes for a low cost expandable Mac. I'm not knocking the Mac Pro as it is really just the nuts for certain segments of society, but likewise there is a similar segment that needs a lower cost expandable platform. I look at the MINI as an example of abandon ware from Apple, a good idea in many ways that has simply failed to keep up with technology.



    So in a nut shell while it is good to see these positive stories coming out, I do wish that the press would fire something other than soft balls at Apple over their product development practices. Even a simply inquiry about why the MINI doesn't get any respect from Apple would at the very least stimulate a bit of thought at Apple.



    Dave
  • Reply 3 of 38
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    By this I mean such things as FM radio in the iPods, [...] In some cases the exclusion of features seems like an attempt to simply irritate their customers.



    Or more rather an attempt at increasing their margins:

    'You want an FM radio in your iPod? Just buy these special headphones with a built-in remote, and your iPod will have an FM radio built-in.'



    (May I ask you native speakers about the correctness of 'an FM radio' vs. 'a FM radio?)
  • Reply 4 of 38
    bjkbjk Posts: 34member
    It's pronounced 'eff emm' radio, so 'an' would be appropriate.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post


    Or more rather an attempt at increasing their margins:

    'You want an FM radio in your iPod? Just buy these special headphones with a built-in remote, and your iPod will have an FM radio built-in.'



    (May I ask you native speakers about the correctness of 'an FM radio' vs. 'a FM radio?)



    spoken as "an EFF EMM Radio" so an rather than "a EFF EMM radio"



    an being used in front of vowel sounds and I'm an english speaker,







    so don't none of yoos go conterrdcikting me!
  • Reply 6 of 38
    jbh0001jbh0001 Posts: 80member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post


    (May I ask you native speakers about the correctness of 'an FM radio' vs. 'a FM radio?)



    Well, at the risk of being a prescriptive grammarian, "an FM radio" is the most accepted usage (at least in the U.S.), though I doubt most people would take notice of "a FM radio." A is correct if you are going to expand the initials (e.g. a frequency modulation radio). An is correct because words that begin with a vowel use "an" over "a" when needed; and verbally, one is saying "an eff emm radio" not "a eff emm radio."



    (Ay, bee, see, dee, ee, eff, jee, aytch, eye, jay, kay, ell, emm, en, owe, pee, cue, are, ess, tee, you, vee, double-you, ecks, why, zee.)
  • Reply 7 of 38
    bjkbjk Posts: 34member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jbh0001 View Post


    double you, ecks, why, zee.)



    It's a good thing you fixed the comma after 'double you' before Mr. H got ahold of you!



    Talk about a prescriptive grammarian... sheesh
  • Reply 8 of 38
    rhowarthrhowarth Posts: 144member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jbh0001 View Post


    (Ay, bee, see, dee, ee, eff, jee, aytch, eye, jay, kay, ell, emm, en, owe, pee, cue, are, ess, tee, you, vee, double-you, ecks, why, zee.)



    zed not zee
  • Reply 9 of 38
    bigdaddypbigdaddyp Posts: 811member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rhowarth View Post


    zed not zee



    I bet you misspell center as well.
  • Reply 10 of 38
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "When you hire really good people you have to give them a piece of the business and let them run with it," he says. "I want [them] making as good or better decisions than I would. So the way to do that is to have them know everything, not just in their part of the business, but in every part of the business."



    The technique explains Jobs' confidence in finding a replacement should he ever leave. Echoing his remarks made on Tuesday at the annual shareholders' meeting, Jobs observes that there are multiple prime candidates for the top spot, particularly chief operating officer Tim Cook. Senior officials at Apple are reportedly skilled enough that there would be little risk. "Some people say, 'Oh, God, if [he] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble," Jobs adds jokingly. "But there are really capable people at Apple."



    Maybe at certain keynote events or other highly visible media events, SJ should start sharing more of the 'spotlight' with more of these "capable people" to see who has charisma, otherwise known as the "Obama Factor" (defined as - full of empty platitudes but when listening to, you'll feel good). This is what Apple is going to need to replace once Steve is gone.



    The last time SJ shared the Keynote was with Phil Shiller, among others, although a nice guy and capable at what he does I'm sure, Phil didn't cut it as a keynote speaker IMHO. He was too nervous sounding but, maybe that will wear off with time, but the "replacement face of Apple" will need the ability to make the audience feel comfortable when listening, be able to speak with exuberance, speak authoritatively with regards to the aspect that whatever product or service it is, the masses are going to want, throw in a little humor every now and then and when the keynote is over, the audience leaves, rather content, knowing good things are coming their way and can't wait until the next keynote.



    I could be wrong but just my observation.
  • Reply 11 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Well if you ask me (you know you did) it looks like Apple is getting some very good press. Frankly they have at least a few practices that the rest of corporate American could learn a bit from. Especially the corporate wide meetings on a weekly basis.



    In some ways I do like the fact that Apple keeps its product lines focused. It is good for Apple and I actually think reduces waste. However I'm also frustrated that Apple seems to ignore consumer demand which I believe is hurting them considerably.



    By this I mean such things as FM radio in the iPods, a serious effort at Newton 2, a serious run at a consumer grade expandable desktop Mac and other long running wants and needs. In some cases the exclusion of features seems like an attempt to simply irritate their customers.



    One example is the reference to FM radio above which can be had for an extremely low price as some networking chips have the feature built in. So we are not talking about a huge increase in cost to offer the consumer a bit of extra capacity. Even something like AIR could have leveraged an FM Radio. Same thing goes for a low cost expandable Mac. I'm not knocking the Mac Pro as it is really just the nuts for certain segments of society, but likewise there is a similar segment that needs a lower cost expandable platform. I look at the MINI as an example of abandon ware from Apple, a good idea in many ways that has simply failed to keep up with technology.



    So in a nut shell while it is good to see these positive stories coming out, I do wish that the press would fire something other than soft balls at Apple over their product development practices. Even a simply inquiry about why the MINI doesn't get any respect from Apple would at the very least stimulate a bit of thought at Apple.



    Dave



    I think people forget too much.



    Remember what the world looked like BEFORE the mini came out.

    All the Apple computers were very expensize in comparison.

    Nothing Apple sold could compete with what the windows users were going to use to replace the machines they were throwing out at upgrade time.



    The Mini was a simple loss-leader product designed to, for the first time, reuse the mouse-monitor-and-keyboard of your existing computer.

    A cheap way for Apple to put many new people into a MAC for the first time.

    A lot of people bought it and used old mice and monitors in the closet.



    To look at it today, and not remember what it was designed to do from a marketing position, misses the point.



    It is one of the little things Apple did that was a BIG thing in gaining market share.

    Not because of the numbers of people that bought it, but the high percentage of Windows users that bought it and got their first taste of a safe world.



    Apple comes out with new upgrades to the existing line of computers.

    But the Mini and the MBA are examples of products that may not have a wide product line future but have a high conversion factor with the customers buying it.



    Bravo Apple........
  • Reply 12 of 38
    megazokmegazok Posts: 5member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Well if you ask me (you know you did) it looks like Apple is getting some very good press. Frankly they have at least a few practices that the rest of corporate American could learn a bit from. Especially the corporate wide meetings on a weekly basis.



    In some ways I do like the fact that Apple keeps its product lines focused. It is good for Apple and I actually think reduces waste. However I'm also frustrated that Apple seems to ignore consumer demand which I believe is hurting them considerably.



    By this I mean such things as FM radio in the iPods, a serious effort at Newton 2, a serious run at a consumer grade expandable desktop Mac and other long running wants and needs. In some cases the exclusion of features seems like an attempt to simply irritate their customers.



    One example is the reference to FM radio above which can be had for an extremely low price as some networking chips have the feature built in. So we are not talking about a huge increase in cost to offer the consumer a bit of extra capacity. Even something like AIR could have leveraged an FM Radio. Same thing goes for a low cost expandable Mac. I'm not knocking the Mac Pro as it is really just the nuts for certain segments of society, but likewise there is a similar segment that needs a lower cost expandable platform. I look at the MINI as an example of abandon ware from Apple, a good idea in many ways that has simply failed to keep up with technology.



    So in a nut shell while it is good to see these positive stories coming out, I do wish that the press would fire something other than soft balls at Apple over their product development practices. Even a simply inquiry about why the MINI doesn't get any respect from Apple would at the very least stimulate a bit of thought at Apple.



    Dave



    I can't fathom why anyone would want an FM radio at all, let alone on a device that contains one's entire music collection. If you want a radio, go to Radioshack.
  • Reply 13 of 38
    delfoniqdelfoniq Posts: 95member
    Wrong thread, meant to post there



    http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...threadid=85058
  • Reply 14 of 38
    visualzonevisualzone Posts: 291member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    I bet you misspell center as well.



    In Canada, we pronounce the last letter of the alphabet as zed. Btw, did you mean centre?
  • Reply 15 of 38
    delfoniqdelfoniq Posts: 95member
    Same in the UK. You guys have similar postal codes to the British, right? And of course similar weather!



    In the US, they only know how to pronounce "money". Everything else is very low priority
  • Reply 16 of 38
    visualzonevisualzone Posts: 291member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Delfoniq View Post


    Same in the UK. You guys have similar postal codes to the British, right? And of course similar weather!



    In the US, they only know how to pronounce "money". Everything else is very low priority



    Postal codes? Yup. Weather? Just look at the west coast. Heh Heh Heh!! As for money, well, I've always been a big Pink Floyd fan.
  • Reply 17 of 38
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by VisualZone View Post


    Postal codes? Yup. Weather? Just look at the west coast. Heh Heh Heh!! As for money, well, I've always been a big Pink Floyd fan.



    Me too!



    I live in the US and in formal writing I typically use English(British) spellings such as: favourite, colour, humour, ectectect



    But I just did it to piss teachers off at first as a kid on spelling tests, then it became natural

  • Reply 18 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post


    Or more rather an attempt at increasing their margins:

    'You want an FM radio in your iPod? Just buy these special headphones with a built-in remote, and your iPod will have an FM radio built-in.'



    (May I ask you native speakers about the correctness of 'an FM radio' vs. 'a FM radio?)



    Either way is correct. Technically, it would be "a FM radio" because it only becomes "an" when it precedes a vowel. but an fm radio is often used because it is a vowel sound, so it is generally accepted. Basically, anyone who gives you a hard time one way or the other is just being an ass.



    And it would be foolish to put an FM radio in the ipod. It is a minority of people who want an FM radio in an ipod...if it was in high demand, the zune would have eaten up a much bigger portion of the marketshare than it did.



    And the fact is, FM radio is slowly going the way of the buffalo. If the ipod was going to include radio, it would be xm/sirius. There's no sense in putting money into including a feature based around a medium that is approaching obsolesence
  • Reply 19 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by halfyearsun View Post


    Either way is correct. Technically, it would be "a FM radio" because it only becomes "an" when it precedes a vowel. but an fm radio is often used because it is a vowel sound, so it is generally accepted. Basically, anyone who gives you a hard time one way or the other is just being an ass.



    And it would be foolish to put an FM radio in the ipod. It is a minority of people who want an FM radio in an ipod...if it was in high demand, the zune would have eaten up a much bigger portion of the marketshare than it did.



    And the fact is, FM radio is slowly going the way of the buffalo. If the ipod was going to include radio, it would be xm/sirius. There's no sense in putting money into including a feature based around a medium that is approaching obsolesence



    Exactly, Fm is fossilized.



    I'm so sick of these dorks who keep asking for an FM radio. Get over it already!
  • Reply 20 of 38
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    However I'm also frustrated that Apple seems to ignore consumer demand which I believe is hurting them considerably.



    The question is always whether Apple is ignoring 'consumer demand', or ignoring 'my' demand.

    Most people can't get beyond that in these forums.

    I think Apple is doing a pretty good job of giving the bulk of buyers what they want. They don't always give each niche its demand however. Never can.
Sign In or Register to comment.