I was reading a synopsis of Steve Job’s biography, written by Malcom Gladwell for the New Yorker. It was a very interesting synopsis of a very complex person … one who had a profound impact on our world, but who was obviously not the easiest person to live with!
One of the stories about Jobs, which was focused on his obsession with perfection, centred around a debate/argument with a copywriter (James Vincent) about a commercial that Jobs did not like. Vincent wanted input, Jobs wanted to “see stuff” so that he could THEN provide input.
Jobs is portrayed as someone capable of taking good ideas and turning them into fantastic products and solutions, he is not however credited with having original ideas. He also had a habit of NOT giving credit to the originator of an idea.
The interchange between Jobs and Vincent is a common one in business as business leaders look to solve business issues and their staff look to leaders for guidance.
That small insight into Steve Job’s world offers some thoughts to ponder:
- The first step in any process is the idea … without it there is no end product or solution, but ideas alone go nowhere!
- Taking an idea and turning it into a “sell able product or service”, or even into “a business” is a skill unto itself. There are often a lot of ideas “out there” … but spotting the good ones, and then being able to take them from “concept” to “reality” is what differentiates successful businesses from the “wannabes”.
- Steve Jobs genius was in not just spotting the good ideas, but in refining and improving the idea, at the same time as driving towards the “sell able product”.
- I believe that there are many ways to harness ideas … nobody can argue with Job’s success, but you might argue with his methods (particularly if they were your ideas).
- Thoughts that Apple will lose its lustre without Steve Jobs are probably debatable … the Apple culture exists, they have plenty of brainpower, the only question is whether their ability to refine ideas to “Apple perfection” will still exist without Jobs. Time will tell.
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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