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    • I haven't read any books or seen any movies about Steve Jobs but I'm wondering if someone can comment on his methods to get the best out of his people. From comments so far it seems like he could blow a fuse and go off on people but my experience is that can backfire and really isn't a very effective strategy unless used extremely sparingly. Top quality talent tend to have enough pride, ego, and options that they don't tolerate being yelled at. The best motivators I've worked for were people I just wanted to please because I respected them. Did his motivational style vary depending on the level of the employee? For example, was he less likely to yell at an engineer working in the trenches?

    • I had a theory but I never asked Steve about it so I’m not sure.

      My theory is that the best people tend to be pretty self-assured and therefore less sensitive. He used the same weeding out process that, say, the Navy Seals use. Your sergeant is not going to give you hugs when you show up for basic training. If you had enough confidence that you could cut the mustard, then your sergeant screaming that you’re weak like a little girl didn’t bother you because you knew it wasn’t true. And if it did bother you, you probably shouldn’t be a Seal.

      For example, Jon Rubinstein and Phil Schiller decided to hire windows programmers to create a Windows version of iTunes. They did it in secret because Steve would have said no. When Steve found out, he screamed at Jon in a hallway: fuck you! You’re going to wreck the company and it will be on you. Didn’t matter, Rubie was right (I worked closely with him at NeXT) and Apple did okay.

      The success of Steve’s approach is he retained people with confidence and conviction, enough to know the iPod would not succeed if it wasn’t Windows compatible.

    • Hi Louis,

      No one's perfect and neither was Steve. Many employees who had rare occasions to be around him were usually terrified. It really wasn’t justified, but they would be anyway. Steve could feel this which made the interactions with them even worse sometimes.

      As for documented interactions with people I worked with on events, it was usually something that should have been accounted for, or they didn't do what they were supposed to. At that point things could get heated for a moment. But those situations inhibited the goal of the show which was the real issue. If you took it personally you didn't survive. If you learned your lesson, corrected the problem and never did it again you lived to work another day. 🙂

    • You’re going to have to read the book to get the full answer! I can let you know, though, we had very little time to “take over” that production. The scale of the staging was not planned to be so dramatic. Steve had some interesting comments when we first saw the preview onsite. But as you noticed, that’s what we went with. 😬

    • I can’t really say much about Phil (yes, that is a legal requirement) but suffice to say Phil had his place in all of these events. But it’s not exactly as you might perceive.

    • I’d agree 100% with your assessment, Chris. I’d add that those that work best with Steve were those that knew how to get close to the fire to stay warm or even slightly singed but were never totally burned by it. 😁