Skip to comments.Guy Kawasaki: At Apple, Steve Jobs divided people into 2 groups—‘insanely great’ and ‘crappy’
Posted on 04/08/2019 10:37:23 AM PDT by Red Badger
Ive had a long and exciting journey full of failures and successes since I first started working at Apple in 1983. I was part of the original Macintosh team and had two stints at the company (one from 1983 to 1987, and then from 1995 to 1997).
Ask people who worked at Apple when Steve Jobs was around, and theyll very bluntly tell you it wasnt easy. There were days where he was impressed by my work, and there were days when I was certain he would fire me. But it was always exciting because we were on a mission to prevent totalitarianism. (You can read more about my adventures in my new book, Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life. )
I wouldnt trade working for him for any job Ive ever had and I dont know anyone in the Macintosh Division who would, either. My job as a software evangelist in the Macintosh Division defined my career.
Here are the top 11 life-changing lessons that I learned at Apple: 1. Only excellence matters
Jobs elevated women to positions of power long before it was cool or socially responsible to do so. He didnt care about gender, sexual orientation, race, creed or color. He divided the world into two groups: Insanely great people and crappy people. It was that simple. 2. Customers cant tell you what they need
In the early 1980s, Apple was selling Apple IIs. If you asked customers what they wanted, they would say a bigger, faster and cheaper Apple II. No one would have asked for a Mac. 3. Innovation happens on the next curve
Macintosh was the next curve in personal computing. It wasnt merely an improvement to the Apple II or MS‑DOS curve. Innovation isnt making a slightly better status quo. Its about jumping to the next curve. 4. Design counts
It may not count for everyone, but design counts for many people. Jobs was obsessed with great design. He drove us nuts with his attention to detail, but that is what made Apple successful. 5. Less is more
One of the key tenets of Jobs obsession with design was the belief that less is more. He was the minimalists minimalist. You can even see this in his slides: They had dark blue or black backgrounds with 90 to 190 point text and no more than a handful of words. 6. Big challenges beget big accomplishments
The goal of the Macintosh Division was preventing totalitarianism and worldwide domination by IBM. Merely shipping yet another computer was never the goal. 7. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence
When Jobs announced the iPhone, it was a closed programming system to ensure that it was safe and reliable. A year later, he opened it up to third-party apps, and iPhone sales skyrocketed. This was a 180 degree reversal and a sign of intelligence and courage.
8. Engineers are artists
Jobs treated engineers like artists. They werent cogs in a machine whose output was measured in lines of code. Macintosh was an artistic expression by engineers whose palette was software and hardware design. 9. Price and value are not the same thing
No one ever bought a Macintosh based on price. Its true value became evident only when you factored in the lower requirements for support and training. Jobs didnt fight on price, but he won on value. 10. But value isnt enough
Many products are valuable, but if your product isnt also unique or differentiated in some way, you have to compete on price. You can succeed this way as Dell did, for example. But if you truly want to dent the universe, your product needs to be both unique and valuable. 11. Some things need to be believed to be seen
Innovators ignore naysayers to get the job done. The experts told Jobs he was wrong many times for example, Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and Apple retail stores. Its not that Jobs was always right, but sometimes, you need to believe in something in order to see it.
I hope that everyone has at least one chance to work for someone as brilliant as Steve Jobs. It wont be easy, but what doesnt end your career makes it stronger.
Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva. Previously, Kawasaki was chief evangelist of Apple. He has written fifteen books, including The Art of the Start, Selling the Dream and his latest, Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life. Follow him on Twitter .
*This is an adapted excerpt from Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life, by Guy Kawasaki, and with permission of Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
“There were days where he was impressed by my work, and there were days when I was certain he would fire me.”
There’s an old business adage:
One ‘Aw S#!t’ wipes out ALL ‘Attaboys!’........................
Baloney. Customers define need. Engineers and designers who want to meet those needs must learn to ask the right questions.
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor scarcity)states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
The insanely great people matter. They are few in number, but they will do 80% of the work. I've seen management focus on the crappy 80% and try to turn them into insanely great people. It never works. I think management should shower attention on the best people, consider most of the staff as just deadweight. Because that's what they are. And if management showers attention on the deadweight, they will have nothing to show for it -- and the insanely great people will start to leave because they feel unappreciated. You really don't want that.
Kawasaki is a joke. His real fame has been to be an author and a speaker not so much as evangelist in the early days of Apple. People became aware of this role at Apple because of his books.
Ah yes, I see in the last sentence of this article - he has another book out. His books do keep his name out there.
I remember meeting him after he was fired from 4th Dimension, the database company, I kept thinking this “guys is trying to sell himself by bitching about others”. At this meeting he was complaining about how bad the founders of the company had been...which probably became a chapter or two in subsequent book.
Steve really scared employees. I’ve heard about it. He was intimidating and as many have learned not very nice.
He himself admitted as much in the end.
What was so revolutionary about the Macintosh really? Apple didn’t invent the GUI. Xerox did many years before.
No, he was just smart enough to sell what someone else invented.
I saw GK at the user group conference in Dayton. When my fellow geek and I arrived and checked in, we headed down a very crowded corridor, and GK was sitting on a bench of some kind, hands clasped, elbows on knees, leaning forward, just smiling and taking it all in. GK gave a great presentation, I don't remember much about it, merely a lot of rah-rah, and it was his last weekend with Apple before his jump to the company that made the DB software 4th Dimension.
Looks like he's peddling another how-to-have-a-great-career book. Better books exist to read about Steve Jobs.
The best things that ever happened to Steve Jobs? He met Steve Wozniak; he got his way for commercializing the Apple II; and by following his base instincts, he got himself removed from any decisionmaking role by CEO Mike Markkula. Thanks Red Badger.
Most of the time, Dilbert makes sense. That one just doesn’t reflect reality in my line of work.
I sometimes get customers feeding specifications, when they should in fact be feeding requirements ... but that level of cluelessness just doesn’t match reality.
My analysis has always been simple and I use it frequently: “What would happen if this person suddenly wasn’t here?”. With some the honest answer is “not much would change”, and with others it is clear that the loss would hurt greatly.
If you want on or off the Mac Ping List, Freepmail me.
As is the “insanely great” and “crappy” dichotomy, which ventures toward borderline splitting.
Something that Xerox wasn’t smart enough to do.
It seems to be a recurring theme among liberal groups:
Fight totalitarianism by being totalitarian.
Fight Fascism by being Fascist.
Fight hate by being a hater.
Fight lies by lying your ass off........................
I met Jobs in the 70s, as Apple II was really taking off, as a potential supplier. His managers said we had to get his buy-in as VP Engineering before they could proceed. He was over an hour late for the meeting, and dismissed us in the reception area with “I know what you have and I don’t like it”.
Being a visionary and an asshole are not mutually-exclusive.
But its fun to have his business card from that era.
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