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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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By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2011 8:04:00 PM , Rating: -1
Microsoft's old model of everyone upgrading their Windows version every time they buy a computer is under siege if Mac keeps growing at the rate it is now. Companies are allowing Apple products into the ecosystem and many people are going to start taking them. With how Apple kicks people out when they get into power, they may end up designing their own office suite (iOffice, I'm going to have to patent that quickly) and then leaving MS out of the desktop space. Honestly the only thing keeping MS wedged in the corporate world at that point would be AD and Exchange.

And here is where it falls apart for you. Apple's track record of productivity software, and hardware, is a joke and there are no signs pointing that it will ever change. The idea that you even could think the above paragraph is sane and reasonable is laughable to me. Do you realize what kind of market share Apple has in the business sector? It's a joke!

The only reason Apple is being more widely adopted into the business sector is pretty obvious. Hello? It's called Boot Camp.

By Gzus666 on 5/10/2011 9:39:50 AM , Rating: 3
I think this is wishful thinking on your part. You seem to blindly hate the company so much that you fail to see they are a real competitor. I want MS to keep competing so we still have a full market. Saying Apple does badly with hardware is clearly biased, as they do just fine with hardware.

You are correct, they still don't have a massive business sector share, but they are moving up very quickly. I seem to remember Android having a laughable share of the phone market and was said to be going nowhere against the mighty RIM and Apple, oh how the mighty have and will fall.

I work with people who use OSX and they never touch Windows. Believe it or not, that isn't a requirement anymore. If it wasn't for the obnoxious buttons on the left side of the window just to be different and the weird menu system, I would probably be using it too. There are probably customizations I could do, but I haven't cared enough to look yet. An OS is a means to an end, not a damn sports team. You use whatever works best for you and it is starting to look like OSX works better for a lot of people.

I know deep down you want MS to win cause you basically a MS fanboy. It shows through in everything you say. You even go against the basic facets of capitalism just for them. The market is speaking and they like Apple more, get over it, you aren't on the MS board and you don't win anything if they do better.

By Guspaz on 5/10/2011 3:08:01 PM , Rating: 2
Let's be fair, OSX's buttons aren't on the left side to be obnoxious, they're there because they've BEEN there since 1984 when MacOS first shipped, and they were there before on the Apple Lisa from 1983, on which development started in 1978. People often seem to forget that the Lisa/Mac operating system was around before Windows. It's not a matter of wanting to be different, it's a matter of "if it ain't broke" and UI continuity.

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