Steve’s secrets

Steve’s secrets

We all want to know the secret of successful entrepreneurs. How did they do it? And in the back of our minds: how can it inform me and my business?

There is a whole shelf of books written on Steve Jobs, the visionary and idiosyncratic front-man of Apple. John Sculley, who worked with Steve in the early 80’s also wrote a book last year. You are excused if you don’t remember Sculley. He was an executive at Pepsi-Cola and lured by Jobs to be CEO of Apple in the 80’s. They co-managed the company when Apple revolutionised the industry with the Macintosh, the first personal computer to have a mouse and icons to click on.

How did Steve do it? (And still ‘does it’, according to Sculley.) Here’s the secret: When all competitors were concentrating on smashing the costs of components, Steve Jobs started at the other end: the customer experience. He believes perception leads to reality. Therefore he wants to control the customer experience from A to Z. The supply chain, the marketing, iTunes, the stores, even the sensation of opening the box of the product are all carefully designed.

Jobs has excellent taste. Beauty is more important than licensing products. Details count. Sculley remembers for instance that Jobs insisted on six colors for the logo. This was 40% more expensive each time the logo was printed, but it was what Steve wanted.

Jobs’ other ‘secret’ is his minimalism. For example, he wants no more than one hundred people in the Mac team, the crucial product development group, because he wants to be able to know them all personally. The master himself walks around, looking at, and commenting on, the jobs done. Most of the time he is unhappy with the work he sees and he rejects it. He is a perfectionist.

Omission is also essential to Jobs’ work style. Jobs believes that the most important decisions are not the things you do but the things you decide not to do.

Do you agree with Steve Jobs that it is the decision not to do certain things in business that is most important?

Do you want to read more on Jobs secrets of success, the way Sculley sees it? Read the interview:

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