The Steve Jobs Way - Chapter 9 - Holistic Development

The key aspect of this chapter for me was the Innovators' solution idea of integrated architecture versus modular architecture. The writer speaks of every aspect of a product needing to gel together giving an example of Gillette cans that rust because the cans are not manufacture by Gillette and because the brand executives are not users of the product. That has been the much repeated central message of the book - of having executives that make the product be not just users but passionate about the product and not ones who just look at numbers. On the aspect of modularity versus integrated architecture, Apple has always been known to promote integrated architecture. So it is no surprise that this chapter extols the virtues of an integrated architecture. I guess it is also the Apple brand and positioning which makes this best for it. But as professor Christensen says, it makes sense to choose the one that suits the present maturity of a product in most cases.  I could relate what th

Steve Jobs Way - Chapter 8 - Recovery

 This chapter is about how Steve got back into leading Apple. I would say the main takeaway here are his marketing abilities. And again centered around passion for the product. Steve Job pitches his NeXT computers to develop the operating system for Mac and finds an entry back into Apple. His preparation for the pitch is highlighted. The chapter talks of his unconventional background and how he was driven by passion, talking of his school education and how a teacher inspired him. And about how he always got what he wanted through his passion - convincing companies to sponsor projects, getting his adoptive parents to send him to the school he wanted to go to, internships etc. It talks of how he met Steve Woziniac during his younger days and came up with ideas to commercialize the computer he was developing. This chapter tells how Steve Jobs convince Apple to buy out NeXT along with all employees, including Steve Jobs as a consultant. Of how he then eventually got to replace the CEO and

The Steve Jobs Way - Chapter 7 - Surviving the Winter

 As I read through, I feel this is more of a book around the life and myth of Steve Jobs than hard business lessons. More of self improvement type lessons if any than business theory that that can be replicated. So let me go with the flow. The Chapter is about surviving lean periods. The 10 years when Steve Jobs was out of Apple. What he did during that period. He took his money out of the Apple Company shares. So he had money. He started Next Computers to realize his Mac vision on his own. He invested in Pixar. Though Pixar was an animation company, Steve Jobs' interest was more from the point of view of a computer for high resolution graphics which they had built for their animation work.  There are some superficial lessons mentioned in this chapter. About executives who live for the passion of the product versus those who care only about personal career growth. This is my own personal peeve about corporate careers. I could resonate but not sure if there is any solid lesson to ta

The Steve Jobs Way 6 - Right Organization

 This chapter is about the right organization structure, right incentive, right channels - aspects that professor Christensen talks about a lot. This chapter's hypothesis is that a company should be organized by product rather than by function. Rationale being functional organization will try to standardize and not cater to the different needs of different product. This books talks of Mac, Lisa and Apple II. It doesn't really talk of how each one's need is different. But the chapter is more on how John Sculley wanted to adopt approaches similar to consumer goods focusing on distributors and retailers which was not working for Mac. The retailers obviously are not incentivized to sell Mac with no need for peripherals and no training needs thus giving them no scope for revenues. This is the aspect of choosing the right channel. Traditional channels will not favor innovative products. And from blue ocean stand point this is the implementation aspect. We see how Steve Jobs wante

The Steve Jobs Way - Chapter 5 - Rewards

 This chapter emphasizes the importance of rewards and how Steve Jobs used rewards to keep his teams motivated. Rewards and celebration are the standard tools of any human resources department. There is nothing ground breaking in the idea as such. What I would think different is the close linkages between the rewards and the products. For instance the celebrations are mostly related to project phases rather than personal events in the lives of the employees. Some of the rewards were around an engineer's pride as an artist. Instead of motivation around generic success, his approach apparently was centered around engineers' pride as artist to create the perfect product. The author compares the team to pirates - maybe I would go a step further and compare to Captain Ahab and his crew in quest of Moby Dick - a product in team in quest of the perfect product in every aspect. Continuing along these lines, some of the rewards were also the company's products at discounted rates so

The Steve Jobs Way - Chapter 4 - Tapping Talent

 This chapter did not have real great insights as such. It is mostly the usual stuff - hire smart people who are passionate about your product. You need to charm the best people to work for you. And it is about Steve Jobs driving his people hard and being judgmental. As well as being sharp with his people. The author tries to justify it as being out of passion for his product. Frankly I could argue against every point. It is not clear if every team has to be full of A players only. There are theories that suggest we need B players as well for complimentary roles. It is not like every aspect of an innovation team is exciting. We do need B players to get some of the not so exciting or intelligent tasks done or the A players have to do it. Which would be such a waste. And a mix can add to  cohesion of the team whereas a team of A players can have personality clashes. The idea of taking only people passionate about the product aligns with my own view. And Steve Jobs hiring unconventional p

The Steve Jobs Way - Chapter 3 - Team of Pirates

Here we talk about the way Steve Jobs thought about teams. The thought was to have small teams of size less than a hundred focused around a product. And have the team members well connected with each other so that everyone knows what the others are working on and can cooperate well bringing the various team members joint thought process to solve the problem. The idea of a team of pirates refers to the informality of the team and the tyrant like power of the leader. There is the joke in the book, "If you are not working on Saturday, don't bother to come on Sunday." The book talks of team members work sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. That would be what - 112 hours - way more than seventy hours that our own Narayana Murthy was talking about. I think it is possible. But it should not be seen in isolation. One can do hundred when you are working together like a pirate team chasing a big loot - a dream. When there is no common dream, and still worse no jolly spirit among