On this the fifth anniversary of Steve Job’s death, Business Insider gives us rules to live by to be successful in the business world. These tips are said to be ones employed by the guru himself, as outlined by Walter Issacson’s Steve Job’s biography entitled Steve Jobs.
In case you question the man and his method, let’s not forget Jobs created two of the most successful businesses of all time. Pixar and Apple.
As Business Insider calls it:
He also used a blend of manipulative tactics to ensure his victories, particularly in boardroom meetings with some of the most powerful company executives in the world.
Let’s get to it.
Tip One: When pitching be passionate about it.
Jobs was a master pitchman, something that can be seen in the commercial ads he created for iTunes and the iPod. His pitches were fused with emotion that was more captivating then the products he sold.
Tip Two: Be honest, get advice from the workers
Jobs was brutally honest and solicited opinion from his workers. From BI:
Jobs summoned Apple’s top employees to the auditorium, and, wearing shorts and sneakers, got up on stage and asked everyone to tell him “what’s wrong with this place.”
After some murmurings and bland responses, Jobs cut everyone off. “It’s the products! So what’s wrong with the products?” Again, more murmurs. Jobs shouted, “The products suck! There’s no sex in them anymore!”
Tip Three: Respect is crucial first step to getting what you want.
Jobs was respected cause he worked really hard. He came in early in the morning and departed late at night. When you work hard, others will respect you and follow you.
Tip Four: Flattery will get you everywhere
People seek opinion and flattery whether you are working for them or they are working for you. Compliment them and you can later get them to do what you want.
Tip Five: Even if you are reversing yourself, get behind good ideas and claim them as your own.
As if right out of the Donald Trump playbook, do not acknowledge you were wrong. Convince people you are right even if you are wrong and later adopt their opinion as if it were yours. From BI:
An example: When Apple decided to open retail stores for its products, Jobs’ retail SVP Ron Johnson came up with the idea of a “Genius Bar,” which would be staffed “with the smartest Mac people.” At first, Jobs called the idea crazy. “You can’t call them geniuses. They’re geeks,” he said. “They don’t have the people skills to deliver on something called the genius bar.” The next day, Apple’s general counsel was told to trademark the name “Genius Bar.”
Tip Six: Make decisions quickly and definitively ( you can always change your mind later and no one will notice).
In stunning quickness, Jobs made the decision to sell the iMacs in a rainbow of candy colors. The decision was made without research or customer surveys which could have taken months. The result was wildly successful.
Tip Seven: Fix problems as soon as they arise.
When Jobs was designing the first Apple Store, his retail VP Ron Johnson woke up in the middle of a night before a big meeting with an excruciating thought: They had organized the stores completely wrong. Apple had previously organized the stores by the types of products being sold, but Johnson realized Apple needed to organize the store based around what people might want to do with those products.
Johnson told Jobs his epiphany the next morning, and after a brief eruption from Jobs, the Apple CEO told all who attended that day’s meeting that Johson was absolutely right, and they needed to redo the entire layout, which delayed the planned rollout by 3-4 months. “We’ve only got one chance to get it right,” Jobs said.
Tip eight and nine: Address problematic people head on or ignore them entirely
Again, like Donald Trump, Jobs saw people and products as either a winners or a losers.
To that end, Jobs was famous for bullying his employees to become more successful or firing them outright. Bill Atkinson, who was tasked with the early graphical design of the Apple OS learned an engineer complained he could not build a mouse to Job’s specs. He was fired the next day. The new engineer’s first words were “I can build the mouse”.
But in some cases, particularly in his personal life, when confronted with an issues, Jobs did nothing. From BI:
“There was a community of people who wanted to preserve his Woodside house due to its historical value, but Steve wanted to tear it down and build a home with an orchard. Steve let that house fall into so much disrepair and decay over a number of years that there was no way to save it. The strategy he used to get what he wanted was to simply follow the line of least involvement and resistance. So by his doing nothing on the house, and maybe even leaving the windows open for years, the house fell apart. Brilliant, no?”
Tip Ten: Strike when the iron is hot.
When Pixar came out with Toy Story, which was hugely successful, Jobs immediately took the company public, riding on the wave of that success.
It became the biggest IPO, at that time, in history. It meant the company could venture out on its own, severed from Disney. Eventually the Disney Corporation would buy Pixar for a whopping 7.5 billion making Jobs one of the biggest stakeholders in history.
Tip Eleven: When you have leverage, use it.
When Jobs returned to Apple after being fired, he immediately went to the board with a crazy idea. From BI:
…[he] demanded Apple reprice its stock options by lowering the exercise price to make them valuable again. It was legal at the time, but not considered good business, at least ethically. But even after the board of directors balked at the idea, saying a study would take at least two months, Jobs fired back.
“You brought me here to fix this thing, and people are the key… Guys, if you don’t want to do this, I’m not coming back on Monday. Because I’ve got thousands of key decisions to make that are far more difficult than this, and if you can’t throw your support behind this kind of decision, I will fail. So if you can’t do this, I’m out of here, and you can blame it on me, you can say, ‘Steve wasn’t up for the job.’”
The board gave Jobs what he wanted. But Jobs didn’t stop there: The next day, he demanded all the board members resign, “or else I’m going to resign and not come back on Monday.” He said all the board members had to go, except for Ed Woolard, and that’s exactly what happened. By being able to choose his own board members — and act independently from them — he had the power to control Apple’s next projects, which made it possible for gadgets like the iPod to exist.
Tip Twelve: Demand perfection
Jobs hated cutting corners and refused to make compromises even if it meant getting a product in on time.
When the Macintosh booted up too slowly, he badgered the engineer responsible, equating the situation to a matter of life or death.
He worked with countless artists and advertising agencies to make sure Apple’s ads had the right feel, and that the imagery and the audio synced up perfectly.
Of the iPod engineers, he demanded the ability to access any function on the music player with three button presses, and no more.
He insisted the production process for all Apple computers be shaved down from four months to two.
Many believe all twelve tips are why Steve Jobs was a legend and Apple is the success it is today.