Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs

We will be reading all sorts of testimonials and obituaries about Steve Jobs, the driving force behind the most innovative information technology company in the world. All I would say, tonight, is that when my students at the Tuck School at Dartmouth College, or executives in various programs and seminars I lead around the world, ask me about Steve Jobs, all I can say is that I have no theory to explain what he does and how he does it. He broke the rules - on how to think about customers, on product design, on the role of the CEO, and many more - and with very few exceptions, it worked.

Don't concern yourself with what customers are demanding, give them what you know they want.

Don't worry about dominant technological designs, go your own way regardless.

Don't let yourself become the primary driving force in your company, make it easy for others to challenge you.

This is a playbook that doesn't follow any of the standard management principles, and I'm not sure breaking all these rules would work for anyone else. As Apple board member and CEO of JCrew Mickey Drexler told me tonight, "He is an extraordinary loss to the world."

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