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Leadership Insight

Steve Jobs made some interesting observations at an industry interview last night.

On his return to Apple in the 1990s:

“Apple was about 90 days from going bankrupt. It was much worse than I thought back then. I expected all the good people had left, but I found many of them still there, and I asked them, “Why are you still here?” They said it was because they believed in Apple.”

On the platform wars between Microsoft, Google and Apple:

“I don’t see it. We never saw ourselves in a platform war with Microsoft, and maybe that’s why we lost. We think about the competition, but we’re focused on building a better product.”

On passing Microsoft’s market capitalization:

“It doesn’t matter very much. It’s not what’s important. It’s not what makes you come to work in the morning. It is a little surreal.”

On Google:

“They decided to compete with us. We didn’t go into the search business! We want to create better products than them. If people like our products, we get to come to work for tomorrow. Just because we’re competing doesn’t mean we have to be rude.”

On journalists and, er, bloggers:

“The foundation of a free society is free press, and some of the newspapers are in real trouble. I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. I’m all for anything that can help newspapers with new ways of expressing themselves and getting paid. We need editorial oversight now more than ever.”

On the future of PCs. They become farm trucks:

“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farms. But cars eventually became more prevalent is people moved to cities. PCs will be like trucks…they are still going to be around, but there is a transformation coming, and it will make some people uneasy. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years from now?”

On his work:

“I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to come in and work with some of the most brilliant people in the world. We play in the best sandbox. We’re structured like a start-up. We’re the biggest start-up on the planet. And we all meet once a week to discuss our business…and there’s tremendous teamwork at the top and that filters down to the other employees.”

On his Stanford address:

“Probably I would just turn up the volume on it. The last few years have reminded me that life is fragile.”

Steve Jobs’ Commencement Address

I had posted a few years back on Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford. Although the words on the page are powerful, I found the video more engaging. Takes about 15 minutes. And it provides some insight into this man’s journey in life.


Sad News

The following media advisory was posted on the Apple site:

Team,

I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple”™s day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.

I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.

Steve

Random Quotes

Apple shipped 6.89 million iPhones this past quarter and RIM shipped 6.1 million units.

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” — Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft, April 30, 2007.

“We sold more phones than RIM.” — Steve Jobs, CEO Apple, October 22, 2008.

This article says it all.

Steve Jobs is Sick

I found this story about Steve Jobs very interesting. Should an executive be required to disclose information about their state of health?

Be Like Steve

Businessweek had an interesting article on how to deliver a presentation like Steve Jobs. Here is a summary of the ten ideas that can help improve any presentation:

Set the theme: once you identify your theme, make sure you deliver it several times throughout your presentation.

Demonstrate enthusiasm: next time you’re crafting or delivering a presentation, think about injecting your own personality into it. If you think a particular feature of your product is “awesome,” say it.

Provide an outline: make a list of your key points and provide your audience with guideposts along the way. For example, say “There are four things that I want to talk about today.”

Make numbers meaningful: numbers don’t mean much unless they are placed in context. Connect the dots for your listeners.

Try for an unforgettable moment: what is the one memorable moment of your presentation? Identify it ahead of time and build up to it.

Create visual slides: inspiring presenters are short on bullet points and big on graphics.

Give ’em a show: enhance your presentations by incorporating multimedia, product demonstrations, or giving others the chance to say a few words.

Don’t sweat the small stuff: despite your best preparation, something might go wrong. Have fun. Few will remember a glitch unless you call attention to it.

Sell the benefit: your listeners are always asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” Answer the question. Don’t make them guess. Clearly state the benefit of every service, feature, or product.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse: a Steve Jobs presentation looks effortless because it is well-rehearsed.