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Steve Jobs: Redefining The CEO

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the more-like-ring-master dept.

Businesses 224

conq writes "BusinessWeek has a nice piece on how Steve Jobs is redefining the job of being a CEO. From the story: 'Just over a decade ago, Steve Jobs was considered washed-up, a has-been whose singular achievement was co-founding Apple Computer back in the 1970s. Now, given the astounding success of Apple and Pixar, he's setting a new bar for how to manage a Digital Age corporation.'"

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Singular (-1, Troll)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588092)

Did "singular" with an "s" (instead of a "c") look weird to anyone else?

Re:Singular (-1, Offtopic)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588103)

Not to a non-American.

Re:Singular (0, Offtopic)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588104)

Not as funny as the title, "Redefining the SEO".

Re:Singular (0, Troll)

Kuvagh (947832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588111)

No.

First Post! (0, Offtopic)

Propaghandi (873713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588099)

Seriously-in the words of Yogi Berra, could it be "deja vu all over again" for Pixar and Disney. Hmmm-the iMouseketeer!

Who is going to top him? (3, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588106)

Indeed, one of the facts of life is that everyone gets topped by somebody who is better, or by somebody who will take it to the next level. That is why I am very intrigued to see who will do that to Jobs. He has already set the bar pretty high, and whoever comes along afterwards will really have to do something spectacular to be noticed, and to earn their name.

Re:Who is going to top him? (3, Funny)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588123)

Come to think of it, it could even be he who tops himself! Imagine that! It is not often that one is so great that they are able to reach a level of unparalleled stardom, only to turn around and trump themselves!

The only way I think it would be possible for him to raise the bar higher would be to sing "It's Raining Men" on stage at the next Macworld Conference.

Re:Who is going to top him? (1)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588320)

Indeed, one of the facts of life is that everyone gets topped by somebody who is better, or by somebody who will take it to the next level.

Yeah [softlab.ntua.gr] .

Re:Who is going to top him? (0)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588434)

Yuch, that's gross, the middle one is ****** in the ***!

Re:Who is going to top him? (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588441)

Indeed, one of the facts of life is that everyone gets topped by somebody who is better, or by somebody who will take it to the next level.

Or the next somebody who is roughly as good as you are, once your legend starts getting torn down.

Remember, Jobs was huge before he was torn down as being a has-been, before being built up again to who he is now. His legend will fade... We like to tear down our heroes.

Re:Who is going to top him? (0)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588760)

Remember, Jobs was huge before he was torn down as being a has-been, before being built up again to who he is now. His legend will fade... We like to tear down our heroes.

Oh boo hoo hoo... To be blunt, most of our business "heroes" don't give a shit about the common man (i.e. most of us on Slashdot) saying their legend has faded when they still have several billions in their bank account. That goes to show that Jobs really had his head on straight after his first go with Apple in the 80's and 90's.

Re:Who is going to top him? (5, Insightful)

Deanasc (201050) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588491)

I don't think anyone is going to top Steve Jobs. I think that like Henry Ford there will be imitators and skillful managers who stand out. Men like Malcolm Bricklin, John Delorean and Lee Iaccoca will be forgotten long before history forgets the man who changed the face of the earth with standardized parts and the moving assembly line.

Jobs will definately surpass Bill Gates in the history books simply because his story is so much more dramatic. Found the first personal computer company that goes beyond the simple needs of the hobbyist, get fired by the guy he hired to manage the business, start a competing business that goes nowhere, start another business that breathes new life into a 100 year old art form, get begged to come back to the company that fired you, see both businesses take off beyond all possible dreams. What did Bill Gates do? Bluff his way into buying an operating system early in the game and copy copy copy then leverage market position to unfairly damage new comers and competitors. Don't get me wrong, Bill Gates had a great idea at the right time but I doubt he'd be anything more then a footnote if he had to do it twice in his life.

Re:Who is going to top him? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588541)

Balmer is going to fucking bury him! (chair goes whizzing past)

A new bar? (5, Funny)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588113)

he's setting a new bar for how to manage a Digital Age corporation

literally [apple.com] .

Drugs (1, Troll)

ilyanep (823855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588114)

Tech companies have long been ham-handed marketers. Their best is usually utilitarian or cute (remember ``Dude, you're getting a Dell''?). Yet Apple has consistently stood out for aspirational ads with a heavy dose of counterculture rebellion. The ``Think Different'' series featured John Lennon, Rosa Parks, and Pablo Picasso. The message isn't about trimming costs by 10%. It's this: If you dream of changing the world, we want to help you do it. Jobs even had a hand in writing the copy.

So...if your ads are on crack then you're a good CEO?

Re:Drugs (0, Offtopic)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588125)

So...if your ads are on crack then you're a good CEO?

Yes ... if they work.

Re:Drugs (0, Offtopic)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588132)

So if your ads are on crack, then you're a good CEO?
It's a lot like classic rock. The more drugs the artists had in them, the better their music was. ;)

Re:Drugs (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588298)

The ``Think Different'' series featured John Lennon, Rosa Parks, and Pablo Picasso. <snip> Jobs even had a hand in writing the copy.

I wonder which bit of the copy he wrote - was it the 'Think' or the 'Different'?

Re:Drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588424)

I believe he wrote the implied (you) at the beginning.

Oh yeah.. (1)

priestx (822223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588115)

Steve Jobs makes making losses for Apple hip and cool! Of course I'm just kidding, but it is nice to see that he's put so much force into leading all of his big companies to stardom [Except for NeXT].

NeXT did reach a level of stardom. (4, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588131)

NeXT did reach a level of stardom within the engineering, scientific, and academic community. However, that was due to their innovative systems, rather than Jobs himself.

Indeed, if you went into nearly any modern engineering firm or research lab around 1991 or so, you'd often hear about how many of the employees there wanted even just access to a NeXT system, if they couldn't have one for themselves. Often times the price of such a system was quite prohibitive, but those who did have access were often far more productive than their peers.

Oh, I don't know about that (2)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588178)

I had a NeXT slab way back in the day. It was a good computer. And somewhat cheaper than a Sun, DEC, or HP Apollo workstation. The DSP in the cube was an advance. And the software -- as seen in Mac OS X -- was certainly nice. But no one else was coding in objective C, and X was the defacto display standard not DPS. Still, I really liked it.

Re:NeXT did reach a level of stardom. (4, Informative)

mrtrumbe (412155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588216)

The same could be said about the financial community. Many of the tech, research and trader workstations at some of the large banks went NeXT. (I'm not talking brick and mortor bank branches here--think trading). Same goes for some of the smaller trading firms at the time. Many divisions of UBS went this way in the early 90s.

Taft

Re:NeXT did reach a level of stardom. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588280)

Many of the tech, research and trader workstations at some of the large banks went NeXT.

Yes, those banks made great customers, back in my road-warrior days.

-jcr

But... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588120)

he hasn't done a monkey dance or even thrown chairs? How can he be a real CEO?

Behind the Cover podcast (5, Interesting)

merger (235225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588130)

Business Week also has a podcast [businessweek.com] where they talk with the author of the story to provide a litte more depth. It was a fairly entertaining discussion where they discuss a little of the history of how it all came about and the relationship between Steve Jobs and Disney.

Jobs said... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588134)

...All your CEO are belong to us

This is a "piece"? (4, Insightful)

gamigad (932350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588145)

Sorry, but somehow I expect a link to a story when I hear the word "piece". You know, with more than perhaps 200 words, especially given the subject.

This is just a short, non-interesting slideshow.

No news here - move along.

Re:This is a "piece"? (1)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588268)

Um...wait...you actually looked for the story? YOU TRIED TO RTFA?!? ...... Are you trying to destroy al that makes slashdot holy and good?...

Re:This is a "piece"? (0, Flamebait)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588421)

No news here - move along.

Wow, great catchphrase! I think it could replace "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters."

Re:This is a "piece"? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588527)

Mod this funny and insightful and informative, in that order as well please. This place is so fucking empty.

Re:This is a "piece"? (2, Funny)

CheddarHead (811916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588431)

Well, you knew that after the recent article that unfavorably compared Jobs to Gates that the Apple faithful would have to come up with something in rebuttal. I imagine that the submitter spent hours scouring the web for something suitable. I guess that this was the best that he could come up with. :-)

Re:This is a "piece"? (1)

runningduck (810975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588462)

Ironically, this "piece" contained more information and insights about Jobs' role as CEO than most full lengths articles on the respective subjects.

yes it is (0, Redundant)

0x1234 (741699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588502)

Sometimes more words are just more words. It's the whole point of Blaise Pascal's famous quotable:

I have made this longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

There are alot interesting things in the slide show associated with this piece. For example:

"Jobs has believed that small teams of top talent will outperform better-funded big ones."

I think this is a very important lesson that few CEOs of big companies understand. It's why companies like Scaled Composites (Burt Rutan's Company) can accomplish so much with so little.

Re:yes it is (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588642)

Sometimes more words are just more words. It's the whole point of Blaise Pascal's famous quotable:
I have made this longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

The French have been trying to make up for him ever since.

Re:This is a "piece"? (1)

uctpjac (827845) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588519)

I think you're wrong to be narrowly quantitative about this - I was impressed by the presentation and content that they packed into that slide show. That's the hard thing to do: say something of interest _and_ be short.

Here was what I found interesting:

should a CEO be a "products" person or a "manager"? I recently sat in at a CEO forum where exactly this was discussed, and I expressed strongly the view that the best company leaders have to understand products and take ownership of them. But - you may be surprised - this was definitely a minority view.

what usually happens in tech companies is something like this: a product visionary founds a company; if it's successful, it grows fast and the product visionary, being no manager, hands over the reins (maybe if forced to by worried investors) to a pro manager who can manage the process of change. if the company is lucky, this happens without the culture and the vision dying.

What is impressive about Jobs is that he grew himself from product guy to manager and back to product guy. that is quite a rare ability, let alone doing it _so_ successfully. There is an interesting hint in the slide show about his ruthless business style. This is not something that is very commonly found together with the creativity and visionary qualities you need to get something off the ground. Maybe the combination of those 2 traits is important for the super-hero tech entrepreneur.

This, love him or not, is something he shares with Gates.

This sums it up for me (5, Insightful)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588153)

TFA is only 7 paragraphs long (with 7 pictures), but this sums it up for me:
"Other CEOs may focus on finance or sales. Jobs spends most of his time trying to come up with the next blockbuster product."

He's not there for the money, he's there to change the world. Well, at least, he succeeds in making us believe he's not after the money... Of course, MacOS X is not open source (yet?!), he's running a corporation after all!

I remember his quote: "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me"
I don't think a majority of CEO can honestly say this nowadays.

Source of the quote (1)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588173)

Humm.. wanted to find the source of the quote, before being asked. Looked on Jobs' entry on wikiquote [wikiquote.org] and haven't found it. I must say wikiquote isn't very exhaustive on Jobs' account.

Re:Source of the quote (2, Informative)

nick8325 (825464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588219)

Well, googling for it [google.com] turns up that it appeared in an interview with him in the Wall Street Journal in 1993.

Thanks, added now (1)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588249)

Thanks Nick. I tried to be a good 'net citizen and added it to wikiquote.org. Cheers.

Re:This sums it up for me (5, Insightful)

Jasin Natael (14968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588281)

He's a founder. Look what happened when John Sculley came in in the early 90's. We got the Newton, which I liked, and still like, a lot. But we also got to see the American MBA in action.

The type of accounting and business strategy that for-hire CEO's and CFO's are trained with tells them that everything is about increasing shareholder value in the short-to-mid term (ie, no more than 2-5 years). They are unconcerned with providing value to employees or customers, unless doing so will assist them with goal #1. Even if they think they are working for the long-term success of the company, all the tools they have to put things in perspective are centered around the short-term stock value.

When Jobs came back to Apple, it was like he was the spurned father called to the hospital when his child was morbidly ill or injured. This company is his baby, and he wants to see it succeed in the long term. He wants products that his customers will slowly come to believe they can't live without, not some flash-in-the-pan fad with the latest buzzwords attached.

A lot of Silicon Valley CEO's are founders and have this fatherly instinct. They don't get press because they weren't ousted and then called back to fix things. Neither do the CEO's who weren't called back as their companies went to the chopping block.

If you oust the original founders of the company, it's almost always a death sentence. Apple's board was right to call Jobs back to the helm. But don't think it's something special about Jobs. It's what any company founder should do, and what most would do, because they actually believe in what they're doing.

Jasin Natael

Re:This sums it up for me (3, Insightful)

macwise77 (876493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588816)

But don't think it's something special about Jobs. It's what any company founder should do, and what most would do, because they actually believe in what they're doing.
I think you've hit the nail on the head, though maybe even more literally than you realize. Jobs is a CEO who has a passion for what he does. He, unlike so many of todays CEO's, managers, and even business/corporation owners, truly thinks to himself, "we have the best thing since sliced bread"; the only difference between Jobs and all the other leaders in business today is that his belief is founded more in truth than not. I know that some may blast me by questioning why Apple only has 3-5% market share if the products are so great.

I realize that some see scale as proof of ultimate value. I prefer to look at things in context. Sure, generic PC's with Windows pre-installed is all the rage among computer buyers (in general). However, we are in a market that is dollar driven, where the emphasis of our buying decisions has been placed squarely on the price aspect. That doesn't mean that a Ford is better than a BMW. Of course, it also doesn't mean that a Jaguar is better than a Ford!

My point here is that Apple is so fascinating, and their products so exquisite, simply because the person who has power to make change, both within the company and outside in the world is taking full opportunity to do so. His motivation is not money first (though he seems comfortable being moderately loaded). I believe his greatest asset (and motivation) is that he can sleep at night knowing that whatever he is selling at the time, he truly feels that there's no better alternative. The guy may seem cocky, but I think he's set the bar so high mainly by his confidence to get the job done right the first time. (haha, that's a pun.)

different summation (1)

not goods (937984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588299)

i thought that what was interesting is that he insists on having something to do with everything. control freaks are everywhere, not all of them are as effective as jobs has been so far. and yes, this "piece" is sadly lacking depth.

Jobs is what a CEO ... (4, Insightful)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588331)

should be.

Most CEOs are just middle managers who got promoted to the top spot; either from within or were hired from another company. But the thing is, what makes a good middle manager (attention to detail, thinking about finances, day to day stuff) is exactly what makes a poor CEO. To be a great CEO, you need to think about strategy, where your market is going, where there is new markets, ner tech, etc... - Which is exactly what Jobs does. Saying he's "trying to come up with the next blockbuster product." is over-simplifying what he does.

It's sad that corps have this mentality that you have to work your way up through the ranks before becoming a CEO. But the problem is, what gets you promoted on the lower levels actually hurts you as a CEO. (There's a reason why the average CEO job lasts less then 2 years - they fired.) If Jobs were concentrating an each department's finances and other details, he would have missed the boat on these new products.

Gates on the other hand, is not a visionary. He is a follower (which can pay off big), but look at MS's strategy: throw money at anything new. Apple on the other hand creates something new.

I think my point is made and I don't want to turn /. into a MBA class! :-(

Re:This sums it up for me (0, Troll)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588365)

Oh BS, as is the article.

If he's not interested in money, he is most certainly interested in power and influence. So he's "only" interested in changing the world. I dunno, maybe if you spend enough money you can change the world? Wipe out malaria for instance? Yeah, no one should be fooled into believing he's not interested in money. He's sort of like Ed McMahon. He needs people like Wozniak for ideas. Except now, he doesn't want their ideas, he wants them to turn his ideas, however crappy, into reality. He's willing to pay hefty bribes^H^H^H^H^H^Hsalaries, and that takes money. Or at least that's the impression I get. Does Jobs have any technical accomplishments on the order of Wozniac's creation of the Apple II?

Re:This sums it up for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588445)

First of all let me say that I love Macs, I even have a new MacBook on order, but categorizing Steve Jobs as anything other than a greedy bastard seems wrong. Gates consistently donates large amounts of money to various charities while Jobs donated less than 1 million dollars over the past 4 years, certainly not something to brag about. In the next few years when Apple really takes off (hopefully) we will see Job's true colors, but until then I would say he is in for the money as much as any other CEO.

Re:This sums it up for me (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588482)

Very much true. You see, research is expensive, and often doesn't pay out. Thus, CEO's and boards that are looking simply at the bottom line tend to cut research. They also cut products that are making profits, but 'not enough'.

But if you're not looking to stay ahead, then somebody will pass you by. Just look at Japanese auto industry compared to the American one. Heck, Sony and the IPod.

Cutting 'low profit' services can also harm you, as it erodes options and 'brand loyalty'. If I can't get the service I want from my traditional company, I'll move, and then be tempted to move all my other systems over. I use the american railroad system for this one. By cutting the low profit lines, they actually hurt themselves because many companies with cargo to move went entirely to trucks, cutting traffic even on profitable lines. The new system of having modular cargo containers helps now, but it really hurt them in the time of the box cars where you had to unload and reload onto trucks. Personally, I'd of loved it if they did some research into highly automated short trains. Small locomotive run by 1-2 guys, still carrying several times what a tractor trailer can haul, at the substantially higher fuel economy of a train.

Disney (4, Interesting)

Chromatic Aberration (926933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588155)

I can't believe that the board of directors of Disney is going to include Jobs. Ten years ago I would have said, "When they pry it from Michael Eisner's cold, dead hands." So maybe it's a good thing that people are sitting up and noticing CEOs who aren't just businessmen with suits and a book by Jack Welch.

Re:Disney (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588259)

Ten years ago I would have said, "When they pry it from Michael Eisner's cold, dead hands."

Ten years ago, Disney had no prospect of being liberated from Eisner. He'd done an amazing job of packing the board of directors with his supporters.

Then again, twenty years ago, who thought the Berlin Wall would come down?

-jcr

Re:Disney (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588269)

aren't just businessmen with suits and a book

You mean Mormons?

Fundamentally the same strategy as before (4, Insightful)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588170)

Jobs' insistence on controlling all aspects of a product -- from hardware and software to the service that comes with them -- is the new blueprint.

To be sure, Apple is a unique presence in the world of digital media, but the slideshow picture they put alongside this caption was that of an iMac. As far as computers go, total control of the platform is not a new idea. It is, in fact, the oldest one. That type of solution stretches back as far as the room-sized big iron of the '60s and before, but it was most publicly visible, I think, during the '80s, when several companies were vying for dominance of the personal computer market. Commodore, Atari, Apple, IBM - they all had their own little universes where you bought their hardware, ran their OS, and dealt with their disk format. Each company dreamed of taking over with its own end-to-end solution, but that didn't happen. It can be argued that the market is simply too large for any one company to hope for dominance of that kind.

Steve Jobs (4, Interesting)

greyrose111 (945171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588182)

Steve Jobs is certainly a mastermind. There's no doubt that he's good at what he does. But the question is, where is he heading? For a long time now, there have been multiple sides to his maneuvering. One theory is that he trying to directly challenge Microsoft. Supporting evidence would be his switch to Intel processors, his continued development of iWork (many think Apple is working on a competitor to Excel), Apple's closed business model and their careful manipulation of the media world. However, to truly become a power player in the computer market they need to seriously drop prices. Another argument might be that Jobs is trying to take over the next big frotier, the TV. Although hundreds of companies have released DVRS and media center PC's, none (except Tivo, which has a monthly charge) have made a product cheap enough and easy enough to make it truly mainstream. Many think it likely that the Mac mini will be converted to a media center Mac based on front row. And then there's the iPod, which by itself has opportunity to explode into a dozen other markets. Many people see Apple entering the cell phone market. Other's see them becoming the single driving force in the upcoming explosion of mobile TV. Still others view the iPod as taking music one step further releasing iPod boom boxes and stereos (this type of speculation is still on the same level however as the Apple TV we kept hearing about). The next year will be the defining era of Apple, will they remain the iPod and high end PC maker, or will they come into the market in ways no one could have forseen in the past?

What would you ask Steve? (4, Interesting)

toby (759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588189)

According to Usenet, people have a lot of questions they'd like to ask him - in groups from alt.support.tourette [google.com] to alt.sports.soccer.manchester.united [google.com] . Here's a few that I saw, searching for 'ask Steve Jobs' [google.ca] (sorted by "relevance"):

...and much more...

when 1 page could have been enough (3, Insightful)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588206)

Unbelievable, 7 pages to smear out text that could fit easily on a single page. It takes longer to load one such page than to read it.
It's scaring readers away. I am not waiting for your page to load, and I am not clicking multiple times to read a single article.
And while I am at it. Since the invention of tabs, will everyone please stop using links that insist on opening in a new window. I have one window, perhaps two with multiple tabs. And new links are opened in their own tab. But, noooo, sites still insist links are opened in a new window.
Want to keep me as a return visitor? STOP ANNOYING ME. Stop dictating how I can access your data, if you want me to see it.

Re:when 1 page could have been enough (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588311)

Just a FYI, but when you use a browser that is natively dedicated to tabs, such as Opera, instead of a browser that allows you to utilize tabs but does not exclusively integrate them, such as Firefox, links opened in new windows will instead open in new tabs. One of the reasons I prefer Opera, honestly - either I'm going to use tabs or I'm not - and if I'm going to use them, I'd prefer to use them all the way. Whole hog or none, so to speak. I agree with many of the sentiments expressed here in that it seems to be a waste of a front page space - there's no much real information here and it reads like a publicity stunt. Inspirational pictures of Steve Jobs and his creations plus little snippets about how great his is, having risen from the horror of being a "has-been".

Re:when 1 page could have been enough (1)

Vasey (909370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588349)

Have you ever actually used Firefox? It takes all of about thirty seconds to set it to open links in a new tab instead of a new window.

Re:when 1 page could have been enough (2, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588498)

So your complaint was that this vacious, airheaded, personality-obsessed article was presented in a particularly airheaded, vacious, design-over-substance way?

Heh :)

I thought the entire premise of the article was crap. It reminds me of the Wired "Ten Important Personalities Who Have Something Or Other To Do With A Technology We're Hyping Right Now" type thing (you know the sort? It always includes:

  1. a professor from MIT who invents knew uses for the prefix "Cyber" a lot (Probably Negroponte)
  2. a "hip" CEO of a small "hip" start-up
  3. a particularly stupid venture capitalist who'll put money into anything
  4. a lawyer who "gets it"
  5. a libertarian blowhard
  6. some guy who works at a high level for a giant, gray, corporation who's approved doing research into whatever-it-is and "gets it"
  7. an open source programmer
  8. a senator who once voted against a draconian copyright bill, or some other bill that's currently unpopular (though he voted for all the other ones, a fact not mentioned by the article.)
  9. that guy from MTV who writes a blog about his iPod
  10. Steve Jobs, Bill Joy, or Larry Ellison
  11. Forbes does these types of articles, with a slightly different make up, on a regular basis too.

    Essentally it works like this: The magazine in question doesn't actually know what to write about, and the editors rather like People magazine and other similar gossip rags. So they conclude the best way to bump up sales is to focus on personalities rather than actual facts and information.

    This is BusinessWeek doing their own version. This Jobs fellow is in the news rather a lot these days, I mean he's CEO of Apple and that was kind of interesting because he was fired from Apple and then came back, and now he's also the power behind the throne of the most famous media company, Disney, I mean, he's hip, and we ought to show everyone that we think he's hip. And how better than a content free slideshow? That way our readers don't have to read anything, we don't have to do any thorough fact checking, we can just regurgitate what everyone knows anyway with a few obvious observations, and everyone will read it and go "Gosh, BusinessWeek said exactly what I was thinking about this Steve Jobs fellow, truly they are an insightful magazine."

    This is why I don't read Forbes, or BusinessWeek, and why I don't read Wired any more. (On a similar note, New Scientist's habit of comparing everything to The Matrix in the year I subscribed to them is why I never renewed my subscription.)

    It's called the "media" because it's mediocre.

Re:when 1 page could have been enough (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588617)

It's called the "media" because it's mediocre.

This is why I stick to trade papers like EE Times. It's mostly about technology, and I've rarely seen them report on something that didn't eventually ship (even if it took a couple of years).

-jcr

Re:when 1 page could have been enough (1)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588716)

Yep, the article is utter crap. That is why I went nuts this time. I can to a certain degree tolerate 2 page articles (but please don't do this anyway) if it's decent, but this crappy piece in 7 parts broke the camel's back.
If it the article is broken up into too many partes, I just open the print version. Usually it's devoted of ads. So I someone thought they could shove more ads through our throats by splitting it up: it aint working

Re:when 1 page could have been enough (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588529)

fuck you you whining son of a bitch. no one fucking cares that you don't like web pages that open links in new windows.

Invidual vision trumps rule by committee (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588215)

A focused, strong willed individual in a leadership role almost always excels over rule by committee. You can see it at Apple. You can see it with Linux. You can see it with industrial companies like Old World Industries [findarticles.com] .

Entertainments companies in particular are hurt by focus groups and rule by committee. Disney turned out a better product when Walt was still around. Turner Entertainment faired much better under Ted, than under Time Warner/AOL.

The Ultimate Consumer Lock In (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588232)

I don't get it.

Apple is the ultimate consumer lock in and selling your personality is suppose to that alright? I don't like monopolist and Jobs is a greater extreme then Gates.

I will say, Ipod had got enough potential if Jobs takes that genre in the right direction, to accelerate new tech by consumers in areas where adoption might be slow (like cellphones (or at least the tech) and hopefully change how the tech is used and logical progression of PDA-like form factor (and everything PDA aren't used for today--that innovation doesn't normally come from those kinds of companies-->mindset is too stiffling and too closed, left)).

Quicktime really really sucks btw. heh

Disney has the IP but lacks in contemporary performance (a twisted sense of morality) thanks to professionals who want to use the company as a peer influence. The art of telling a good story was killed by imposing politically correct on people who know better. If Jobs does will likely do same thing to Pixar, hype will be predictable same with knowing when to sell. (google anyone?-->has absolutely huge opportunities but is wasting away in stagnation).

Re:The Ultimate Consumer Lock In (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588294)

two or more trains of thought in one sentence
out of place individual words are relevant and can be expanded upon to complete sentences
syntax is always important

"the special needs /. troll", disappointing y'all haven't figured that out yet, it's been going on here for years and years.

Merry xmas you bastards and die you fucking bitches.

Re:The Ultimate Consumer Lock In (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588396)

Disney is really screwed up. They used to rotate their classic animation in theatrical revivals every few years. Beloved classics like Snow White [imdb.com] and Song of the South [imdb.com] used to turn up regularly in theaters, introducing new generations to the beauty of Disney animation and story telling.

Unfortunately the PC crowd has hijacked Disney. Now Snow White has been black listed as un-PC. You see, poor little Snow White has white skin and that is deemed too politically incorrect for Disney Studios. And poor old Uncle Remus is mistakenly labeled as "racist" even though the tales of Brer Rabbit celebrate the cleverness and survival skills of former slaves suffering under Jim Crow laws. The current Disney regime hasn't a clue to the storyline!

The world turned upside down!

off subject=PC's- cd/dvd burners/cd's/dvd's (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588305)

We had music to burn hundreds of cd's,which pretty much justified,owning a good cd-dvd burner,and plenty of storebought cd-dvd's.Now we pretty much only have linux to burn our cd/dvd's.
        With most distros making a poor mans install harder and harder,and new live cd distro's popping up every other day.
    I think Linux is primarily a means of selling cd/dvd burners etc.
  mp3 was a conspiracy from the beginning,but I still dont own a mp3 player,and never will.
    Fuck Linux_anyone agree??

Will Jobs stay with Apple? (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588307)

The real question is whether Jobs will become CEO of Disney/Pixar. If he does, he'll probably have to give up Apple, and move to LA. Running Disney is a full time job.

Re:Will Jobs stay with Apple? (1)

Jozer99 (693146) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588413)

He doesn't need to. All the Disney movie department needs (after firing all their staff and replacing them with Pixar, as they already have) is a hit movie every year or so. Pixar has been doing that for about a decade. I don't think this will take up significantly more of Steve Jobs time in the long run than when he was just running Pixar and Apple.

Re:Will Jobs stay with Apple? (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588460)

There's far more to Disney than the studio and the theme parks. Disney owns the ABC television network, ESPN, and a few minor networks like Lifetime. They own not only the Disney film brands (Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood, and Caravan), but Miramax. They own several record labels, several book publishers, about thirty hotels, and Infoseek.

Running all that stuff is a full time job, and the current management doesn't do that good a job of it.

Re:Will Jobs stay with Apple? (2, Interesting)

coleridge78 (603449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588593)

They also own the third-largest (behind Clear Channel and Cumulus) lineup of radio stations in the United States. iPod Radio, anyone?

Re:Will Jobs stay with Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588553)

He was already offered the job of chairman (or something) at disney, but he turned it down.

Re:Will Jobs stay with Apple? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588803)

He was already offered the job of chairman
He'd always be a poor second - a fucking poor second - to Ballmer in that role.

Re:Will Jobs stay with Apple? (1, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588641)

Why would he? Disney's a smaller company than Apple now, and it doesn't have nearly the growth prospects.

-jcr

Being a knowledgable CEO is "redefining"? (4, Insightful)

Starker_Kull (896770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588343)

It seems the main thing that distinguishes Jobs, according to the slideshow, is that he knows his companies' products to the point where he is unafraid to get involved with them at any level from suppliers of suppliers to design to marketing. In other words, he thoroughly knows his business.

A CEO who thoroughly knows his business redefines what a CEO is? This merely highlights the disease that has infected much of corporate America, namely that you don't have to know shit about your business or product, all you have to know is how to manage people, whatever that means.

This is about as effective as the idea that you don't have to know jack about math, or physics, or history in order to teach them; all you have to be is a good teacher, whatever the hell that means.

News Flash: Intelligence, experience, knowledge and motivation are far more important in running a company than an MBA. Steve Jobs illustrates this. News at 11.

Please get a life! (-1, Flamebait)

wondercool (460316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588346)

After Apple it was easy....
Please, none of the innovations where his, not even the Apple Mac....

Obviously the voice of experience. (n/m) (1)

jscotta44 (881299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588490)

n/m

Art (4, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588433)

Jobs is an artist selling art supplies. For most of their history Macs have enjoyed their greatest success as tools for graphic designers. Design always has required a single, personal vision to succeed. Those great looking toasters and clocks and cars that industry turned out in the middle of the 20th century weren't designed by committee. There were rather a handful of recognized top designers, some of whom spanned everything from streamlined steam locomotives to soap wrappers.

So Jobs has been an industrial designer producing tools mostly used by graphic designers, who of course are sensitive to good industrial design. That's worked. More recently he's gone into the music/fashion accessories business - also one which melds easily with design, and also one where to top lines always come from a single designer's vision rather than committee. And with Pixar, as the good-looking but shallow-on-info slide show says, he knew enough about "creatives" to keep the teams small and together.

None of this should be taken to imply that Jobs' success illustrates the right approach for industries in which design is not properly the central focus. For instance, Carter was famously a micro-managing president. Look how that worked out. The Soviet economy was micro-managed from the top (and they even started out as a culture with some very good designers). Results? Nada. The hard-earned lesson that micro-managing is bad still applies across most of the spectrum. Jobs is just fortunate to be in one of the few niches where the generalization fails.

Re:Art (1)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588718)

Jobs is just fortunate to be in one of the few niches where the generalization fails.

You make it sound like it is just a fluke that Jobs is doing what he's doing right now. Everything that Jobs has done seem to point to the idea that Job knows very well what he is good at and, unlike other businessmen less smart or smarter than him, focuses his attention at only things he wants to be focused on. Witness the way upon returning to the company, he ditched some of Apple's product lines and there way no indication he was doing this based on anything but the fact that he felt those products were distracting the company away from what it does best.

Is Steve Jobs really the best CEO? (4, Insightful)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588461)

Margaret Whitman's company (Ebay) is bigger
Larry Ellison (Oracle) has been around longer (without leaving the company at least)
Eric Schmidt's company (Google) gets an article on Slashdot every few hours
Steve Balmer's company (Microsoft) sells more Operating Systems

I guess to Jobs credit he founded a very successful company, then left and it tanked and came back and it became a great company again, but I just don't think that there's no question about him being number one as this article has implied.

Re:Is Steve Jobs really the best CEO? (3, Interesting)

Mistah Blue (519779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588564)

How much PROFIT are those companies making? Cash is King in my book. A CEO should be judged on PROFIT, not revenue, how big is yacht is, etc. At some point in time, the market will realize a highly profitable company is worth owning and that will be reflected in the stock price.

Re:Is Steve Jobs really the best CEO? (2, Insightful)

sharrestom (531929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588679)

Steve has been able to apply his midas touch to more than a single business. The number of CEO's that came claim that has to be a pretty short list. I'm pleased that he will be able to help Iger at Disney, though I always felt that his rightful throne awaits at Sony.

Re:Is Steve Jobs really the best CEO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588761)

By what Metric is eBay larger than Apple?

Re:Is Steve Jobs really the best CEO? (1)

iMac Were (911261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588823)

By what Metric is eBay larger than Apple?
Heterosexuality.

It's great to be right (2, Insightful)

Jeff1946 (944062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588477)

I recall reading a story about the development of the IPOD. Several times Jobs looked at the prototype and said, "Change it, I don't like this feature." Because he controlled Apple this could happen even if it caused the schedule to slip and cost $$$. When you are right this is great. On the other hand Henry Ford stuck with the Model T too long, because he misread the consumer's needs.

Jobs certainly has the ability to judge what will make something become a unique product. Wonder if he will have the same skills at picking movies for Disney to produce.

yeah right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588483)

I don't buy it!

Yeah, what a guy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588510)

He's conquered a whole 3% of the computer market. What a huge success. Not only that, but he's given away tens of thousands of dollars to charity, if you count Democratic politicians as charities.

He's a bigger loser than he was a decade ago.

Re:Yeah, what a guy (0)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588639)

3% yeah, but it's the top 3%.

Losers. . . (4, Interesting)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588754)

He's conquered a whole 3% of the computer market. What a huge success. Not only that, but he's given away tens of thousands of dollars to charity, if you count Democratic politicians as charities.

He's a bigger loser than he was a decade ago.


Loser? When you're not in the game to 'win', losing only means not being able to continue playing.

One of my favorite personality types is the one which pisses off guys like you by not caring about winning or losing in the boring conventional terms so many people think hold validity. Creativity is everything. Greed is a disease. --This, I believe, is a Universal truth which shapes our reality, and once you figure it out, you can fly.

There's a reason why a fellow who has only 'conquered' 3% of the computer market is such a recognized name. It's because he's learned one of the key secrets of life; how to have fun while everybody else is agonizing over which way the ball is being kicked.

Who would you enjoy meeting more at a party? --A boring conservative money-getter, or a 'loser' who isn't scared to dream and get excited about it? All my friends are technically 'losers', but they live happily, without fear or want, and they light up the world. All the money-getters I've met, by contrast, are like pre-fab appliances with 2-dimensional social skills. These are the 'winners'. Hmm.


-FL

hero worship (4, Insightful)

Rage Maxis (24353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588533)

why are people so obsessed with rewarding single people with success of organizations?

Why is it steve jobs that is responsible for all the success of apple?

why was it hitler that was responsible for nazi germany?

Why do humans always have to make everything about one person?

This is retarded. Companies are people and teams. Not people. Countries are people. Not presidents. Parties. Committees. As soon as people stop making decisions this way maybe we'll start making some progress.

Role Models. . . (4, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588638)

why are people so obsessed with rewarding single people with success of organizations?

Because most people in their lives simply manage to get to work on time, do as they are instructed, and pay their taxes. This behavior pattern does not inspire much of anything to the casual on-looker.

Having a "vision" isn't uncommon. Uncommon, however, is the person who is brave and strong and skilled enough to go about realizing it.

Many people strive to be so capable, and thus they look up to those who have managed it. Role models are what they are for this reason, or so I think.


-FL

Re:hero worship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588669)

Hey - a fish who can see the water! Very good.

This is a seriously good point. As to why, the answer is easy - that's how the ego (it's all about me) manifests in the larger society (it's all about one person). A CEO, a president, a king - they are all "super"-persons.

The rest of us secretly dream of being a super-person; that's why we support the idea.

How naive are you? (2, Insightful)

jamrock (863246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588806)

"why are people so obsessed with rewarding single people with success of organizations? Why is it steve jobs that is responsible for all the success of apple? why was it hitler that was responsible for nazi germany? Why do humans always have to make everything about one person? This is retarded. Companies are people and teams. Not people. Countries are people. Not presidents. Parties. Committees. As soon as people stop making decisions this way maybe we'll start making some progress."

Here's a news flash for you: the vast majority of the human race needs some sort of direction in any organizational enterprise. The guy ultimately responsible gets the credit for the organization's success, but he also gets the blame should things go wrong. The perfect example is the crew of a ship. Sure the crew all know their jobs, or should, but it's up to the captain to make sure that the jobs are being done to the benefit of the ship and crew. He's the one who has to decide where the ship is going; how best to get there; use the resources aboard, material and human etc. Sure, the other officers can give him the best advice, even the correct advice, but ultimately, somebody has to make the decision. And if you think you can operate a ship by committee, you're sadly mistaken.

It's not a matter of obsessively rewarding single people with the success of the enterprise, it's about having a focus of direction and responsibility. Your suggestion that progress can be made without such a focus is simplistic to say the least. In an anarchistic society who makes the decisions about garbage collection, public safety, environmental protection, legislation etc? And don't be so naive as to suggest that we'll all just group hug and sing "Kumbaya" and the good inherent in humanity will magically make these things sort themselves out. The average human is more than willing to pass the buck and let somebody else worry about this stuff.

Measure the man by his basic beliefs. . . (4, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588561)

"Do you want to sell sugar water or do you want to change the world?"

You don't come up with cool sayings like that unless you're right into it. (Or unless you have a great PR department, which I don't believe was the case).

My impression of Jobs is that he's simply entertaining his mania. --He sees possible futures where technology becomes an idealized, humanity-altering version of itself, and he's simply trying to realize this vision by following and then occupying what seem to him the obvious and inevitable steps.

Is he angling to go head-to-head with Microsoft? I doubt it. Guys like Jobs find reward and adrenalin rushes, etc., through realizing creative vision. Competition and the dark 'joy' of destroying competitors, and the 'joy' of collecting all the money in the world pale in comparison. Jobs is entirely capable of 'losing' to Gates, because winning and losing are of little importance when one's goal is merely to shape and advance. (Even if shaping and advancing mean being a control-freak, which is typical for people like Jobs. Nobody else can see it right or therefore do it right, so why muck about depending on others?)

Time for a little more metaphysical etymology. . .

"Gates" - Not quite the same as a door; doors can be opened and closed by regular individuals. A gate implies a door which is watched and controlled by somebody else, one which is designed to limit and control the flow of that which enters and exits. Bill exerts control over the flow of information.

"Jobs" - Tasks which need doing. Steve follows the work toward his peculiar vision, and then does it, no matter how ludicrous it may appear.

--His moves will at first seem irrational to the sharks, (and frustrated board members), because he likes to invest and play rather than invest and reap. But then when the circumstances are right and creativity blossoms, he suddenly seems like a genius.

My only trouble is that he's embraced the idea that people don't like to think outside certain boundaries and want to be coddled, which may well be true. This bothers me, because while he's out there changing the world, I have to live in it. --And I do not like to be coddled or to have somebody else do my thinking for me.

Candy-coated buttons piss me off. Complexity does not scare me.


-FL

Re:Measure the man by his basic beliefs. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14588623)

Is he angling to go head-to-head with Microsoft? I doubt it. Guys like Jobs find reward and adrenalin rushes, etc., through realizing creative vision. Competition and the dark 'joy' of destroying competitors, and the 'joy' of collecting all the money in the world pale in comparison.

Jobs does indeed want to go head-to-head with, and defeat, Microsoft.

He will probably never admit it, but drives him crazy that Microsoft's shitty, inelegant and crash/problem-prone OS and office suite basically run the planet.

Re:Measure the man by his basic beliefs. . . (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588696)

Super creativity, Fantastic Lad!!!!!

Now how about: We need "Jobs for President, and screw Gates!!!"

Re:Measure the man by his basic beliefs. . . (2, Funny)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588785)

Time for a little more metaphysical etymology. . . "Gates" - Not quite the same as a door; doors can be opened and closed by regular individuals. A gate implies a door which is watched and controlled by somebody else, one which is designed to limit and control the flow of that which enters and exits. Bill exerts control over the flow of information. "Jobs" - Tasks which need doing. Steve follows the work toward his peculiar vision, and then does it, no matter how ludicrous it may appear.

Where can the rest of us get the crack you've been smoking?

Celebrity CEO Death Match! (2, Funny)

Danborg (62420) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588573)

I'd like to see Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs in some kind of TV trivia game show for charity.
Here's the twist: Bill would have to answer questions about Apple, and Steve would have to answer questions about Microsoft. They are both keen competitors, I think many would be surpised at how much they knew about each other's business. And to avoid bruised egos, both charities would "win" with a large prize at the end. Wouldn't that be cool?

How about that RDF? (1)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588688)

Man, has to be the biggest thing I ever saw, swallowing up sober journals like BusinessWeek.
The metoo's are clustered around adoringly because he hasn't said BOOGA WOOGA this week...

Same success formula at Google. (3, Insightful)

guidryp (702488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588737)

The biggest factor that I see is recognition of top talent. This is essentially the same thing I see Google doing.

"Jobs has believed that small teams of top talent will outperform better-funded big ones. He has used the same approach at Pixar, where creative chief John Lasseter has led the way in creating blockbusters like Toy Story and Finding Nemo. Jobs also outsources far more selectively than his rivals. He'd rather have all his creatives working together than save a few bucks by outsourcing such work overseas."

I work designing telecom software and I see the opposite. Software personal here are hired and managed like cattle. They throw bodies at problems and the cheaper the bodies, the better(we are currently ramping India and China labs while downsizing Texas labs). They create a process that is aimed at the lowest common denominator and that is the result it has, lowest common denominator performance.

If you want to be the best, you hire the best and remove obstacles from their path, and demand their best.

I have occasionally had the priviledege to work in an environment that empowered the talented employees and encouraged them to do great things. It is amazing. But those days are gone now.

Some have an almost accusatory tone when referring to Jobs micromanaging. I think of it as taking a direct interest in the quality and showing it. Encouraging his people to do great things.

I would rather be encouraged by a perfectionist wanting great things, than the mindless hordes of management graduates with decks of powerpoint slides and MS project plans indicating when every piece is projected to be done by the headcount. Mindlessly they shuffle bodies around when reality doesn't line up to projections.

Building leading technology will always be a least partially like producing great art. It will be the domain of creative driven talent, not commodity bodies monitored in MS project plan.

An yet he won't give me an autograph. (2, Funny)

Wallstreetfighter.co (941366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14588780)

I have been trying to get his autograph for 15 years. Now I think he's risen to a level that it will be impossible. There is going to be a big hole in my autographs of people that wear turtlenecks every day.
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