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Steve Jobs proved his dark side powers by bringing Apple back from the dead -- a seemingly impossible feat.  (Source: Fortune)
Clearly Jobs has little mercy for incompetence

Love him or hate him, you have to admit Steve Jobs was responsible for almost single-handedly righting the ship at Apple, Inc. (AAPL), saving the company from bankruptcy.  Thanks to a revitalized Mac lineup and an armada of i-devices, Apple has surpassed Microsoft in profits and market cap and gained dominant positions in a couple of critical sectors, including online music and tablets.

So how did Mr. Jobs accomplish the seemingly Herculean task of fixing the badly broken company?  If a new report is to be believed, the answer may be -- by acting as an exacting and unforgiving "dictator".

It's little secret that working at Apple is one of the toughest assignments one can take on professionally.  But Fortune magazine's Adam Lashinsky offers all the juicy details regarding why that is the case.

According to the report Jobs gives every incoming vice president at the company a speech on why they cannot rely on "excuses" and "reasons".  He says these things are important for hourly employees, but unacceptable for managers.  Writes Mr. Lashinsky:

Jobs imagines his garbage regularly not being emptied in his office, and when he asks the janitor why, he gets an excuse: The locks have been changed, and the janitor doesn’t have a key. This is an acceptable excuse coming from someone who empties trash bins for a living. The janitor gets to explain why something went wrong. Senior people do not. "When you’re the janitor," Jobs has repeatedly told incoming VPs, "reasons matter." He continues: "Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering." That "Rubicon," he has said, “is crossed when you become a VP."

And Mr. Jobs was true to his word -- he accepted no excuses for poor performance.  The story recalls the launch of the iPhone 3G with MobileMe in 2008.  MobileMe was supposed to be a service that synced your calendars and more to an online cloud for accessibility from anywhere.  But at launch the service proved ugly, marred by crashes and bugs.

Mr. Jobs called an emergency Town Hall meeting with all members of the MobileMe team.  Outraged at the problems, he complained that the MobileMe team was "tarnishing Apple's reputation" and that they "should hate each other for having let each other down."  He added, "[The Wall Street Journal's Walt] Mossberg, our friend, is no longer writing good things about us."

Writes Mr. Lashinsky:

An exasperated Mr. Jobs remarked "Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?"

Having received a satisfactory answer, he continues, "So why the f*** doesn't it do that?"

Mr. Jobs then cleaned house, relieving all the MobileMe managers of their duties and installing new managers on the spot.

In the kingdom of Jobs every Monday the chief meets with executives to review every important meeting.  On Wednesday the company holds its marketing and communications meetings.  

At Apple those meetings represent the ying -- technical professionals -- and yang -- creative professionals.  Apple gives its creative professionals as much license as its technical professionals, or more, in some cases.  For example the head of Apple's online content has no control over what images get posted to Apple's website -- that's almost entirely in the hands of the company's graphic artists.  

And it offers those artists a virtual blank check to "perfect" projects -- for example it hired Hollywood camera crews to film a pair of fake weddings in Hawaii and San Francisco (the San Francisco one used Apple employees as extras) for iMovie.  The iMovie soundtracks were contracted, at great expense, to the London Symphony Orchestra.

Despite the sometimes conflicting interests of the technical and creative staff, there's seldom clashes, thanks to Apple's carefully spelled out documents which detail the DRI ("directly responsible individual") for every item in a project.

All of this precision gets back to Mr. Jobs.  Writes Mr. Lashinsky:

The creative process at Apple is one of constantly preparing someone — be it one's boss, one’s boss’s boss, or oneself — for a presentation to Jobs. He's a corporate dictator who makes every critical decision — and oodles of seemingly noncritical calls too, from the design of the shuttle buses that ferry employees to and from San Francisco to what food will be served in the cafeteria.

Given Mr. Jobs health problems, their leader's eventual demise is a thought that has plagued many at Apple.  

Mr. Jobs, himself, reportedly handpicked the dean of Yale's School of Management, Joel Podolny, to both head Apple University (Apple's internal training programs), and lead a group of business professors (many of whom were from Harvard) to collect case studies to be used after the CEO's death.  Mr. Job's goal is to make sure that even when he dies, that he lives on in the company's leadership and management style. 

Fortune magazine's app is available for free here for Apple iOS devices.  The latest issue with the full report can be bought as an in-app purchase for $4.99.  It's free for the publication's subscribers.



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RE: Behold...
By B3an on 5/9/2011 11:25:10 AM , Rating: 4
I was really disappointed with that South Part ep... they had a great opportunity to really make fun of the retarded things Apple do. It could have been comedy gold and Jobs could have been portrayed as some kind of sith emperor, or a million other funny things. Instead he was just pretty normal.
Or maybe the makers simply realised Apple would sue as usual if they went too far.


RE: Behold...
By priusone on 5/9/2011 11:38:31 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you about that episode. But, like every series, you get the mostly good with the occasional bad. I just hope that the bad stays that way.


RE: Behold...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2011 12:00:53 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah I think Tray and Matt know a bit more about what makes a good episode than you. If it had been nothing but a half hour Jobs bash fest, it wouldn't have been funny and it would have put off like half their audience.

South Park episodes have a story to them, not an agenda. The Jobs/Apple stuff was funny, and they could have gone further, but that would have taken from the story. Which was Cartman getting "fu%$%" by his mom :P lol


RE: Behold...
By priusone on 5/9/2011 12:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
I just can't quite figure out the CentiPad. Sure, I get the whole "It can't read" part. Okay, so, um, there is an iPhone on the head, then stitches, more stitches, and an iPad. What am I missing, or is there nothing there?

Sure, B3an and I may lack the skills of Trey and Matt, but given the insane amount of ways to bash iFans, how exactly did the CentiPad accomplish that? iFans buy into a lot of Job's sh!t, but they don't eat it. Perhaps they are hinting at how spineless most iFans, at least the ones I have met, are. Any guesses?


RE: Behold...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2011 12:44:27 PM , Rating: 2
Well first off nobody was even shocked or surprised when he revealed the Centipad, that unholy abomination. In fact, it was CHEERED lol. The analogy there was pretty clear; Apple fans will eat up anything. And the world media will herald anything Jobs does as a smash hit, no matter what.


RE: Behold...
By 3DoubleD on 5/9/2011 1:07:53 PM , Rating: 2
Google "The Human Centipede" if you don't understand where that south park reference came from.

Otherwise, as someone else pointed out, the points was that no one was surprised/disgusted/disappointed by the centipad when Job's unveiled it. Showing the effect of the Steve Jobs reality distortion field, ect. A direct reference to the distortion field would have been nice, but overall I really enjoyed the episode, especially how they made iTunes out to be the worst program ever... which it is.


RE: Behold...
By priusone on 5/10/2011 2:32:48 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, I knew I was missing something. And now I get to kick myself for not putting it all together. Thanks 3DoubleD

On a side note, since shows like South Park and Family Guy parody such a large spectrum of events, it would be interesting to see a list of shows or events to look at prior to watching the episode. I didn't understand the whole 'Dawg' hall monitor episode until I watch the Dawg Bounty Hunter. I saw the episode about the Perians before I saw 300, so imagine my confusion. Even worse, I can't watch Family Guy without my netbook right next to me and the pause button at the ready.


RE: Behold...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 8:31:52 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Even worse, I can't watch Family Guy without my netbook right next to me and the pause button at the ready.


That's why I don't watch family guy. An avalanche of pop-culture references that have nothing to do with the story, if there even IS a story, does not make me laugh. I mean, how many David Hasselhoff cracks do they really expect people to sit through?

quote:
I didn't understand the whole 'Dawg' hall monitor episode until I watch the Dawg Bounty Hunter.


LOL yeah me and a friend were watching "Cripple Fight" when I started laughing uncontrollably. The fight scene was an exact parody of the one in B rated sci-fi cult hit "They Live". He didn't get it though until I played the They Live fight scene for him, then he laughed too.


RE: Behold...
By AstroCreep on 5/9/2011 12:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
As much as I'm sure many of us would have enjoyed that, they have a point with people agreeing to EULAs and other various "Agreements" without reading them. Seriously, as an IT professional who worked in the heyday of adware/spyware removal(Bonzai Buddy, Smiley Central, Weather Bug, etc) I used to see it all the time; people would install things without reading the EULA and are then SHOCKED by the fact that they are getting pop-ups, redirected web searches, etc. If you would have read the EULA you would have known.

...but then again, I don't think reading the EULA would have stopped many of them from installing these programs anyway. :p


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