I read an article yesterday about the latest issue of Fortune Magazine, which has a piece called “Inside Apple” that takes a look at how Steve Jobs manages his innovative tech company. One of the topics that the article looks at is how Steve manages the geeks that make up his posse of creative engineers when a particular project doesn’t go as expected. The piece used MobileMe’s less than stellar launch, which took place in 2008. Personally, I don’t use MobileMe, but in speaking to some fanboys that do, I’ve learned that its launch was nothing short of a disaster.
According to the Fortune article, Jobs called the MobileMe team into his office and let them have it in a way that not many Apple fans may expect from their beloved leader. Reportedly Steve opened up the meeting by asking his team, “Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?”, and when someone gave him the answer he was hoping to hear he then asked, “So why the f*** doesn’t it do that?” Honestly, I would’ve asked the same question, so I can’t blame Steve for saying what he said, and I also don’t fault him for telling his MobileMe team that they’ve “Tarnished Apple’s reputation,” and that they should “Hate each other for having let each other down.” Once again I appreciate his tactics for getting a point across to a team that ultimately let him, and all of Apple Nation down. Sometimes even working professionals need to be talked to like they’re little kids so they’ll get back on track.
The article also goes into how Jobs micro-manages things such as the shuttle design for the transports the company uses to ferry its employees around. Supposedly, he also has Apple meeting rooms checked for bugs before each session, and he has his workforce constantly competing to score an invitation to the company’s “Top 100” employee recognition meetings. None of this behavior surprises me one bit. How could a man innovate the World without being a hard a*s? It’s just not possible.
Usually when leaders are full of creativity and passion they’re bound to bust some balls to get their visions turned into reality. I don’t think Apple would be the leader in technology it is these days if Steve didn’t have meetings where he told his employees to hate themselves for not giving their best efforts. Great minds never got anywhere by being nice guys right? You’ve got a clearer understanding of why Foxconn employees kill themselves…
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