Showing posts from December, 2023

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

The Steve Jobs Way - Chapter 2 - Attention to Details

This book is about a charismatic leader while Blue Ocean and Disruptive Innovation were about creating a process that didn't depend on such a leader. So in certain aspects they would be opposed to each other. Especially with someone like Steve Jobs, things can go into the realm of hero worship. This chapter does that to some extent. Some of the things are just blind appreciation of generic leadership traits such as recognizing people which don't really carry differentiatiable insights. But let us look past and see what is replicable by just about anyone. One of them that comes out is integrated architecture versus modular. Steve Jobs clearly was going for integrated architecture. That was the only way he could control every detail right from the customer experience of opening of packing to how the chips inside the computers looked. And to craft an unique experience one really needs to fine tune an optimize value across the end to end value chain. Once the value is established,

The Steve Jobs Way - Chapter 1

After reading two books that tried to drive home the point that leaders don't matter but the right process, we switch to a book about one of the most charismatic and successful leaders - Steve Jobs. As we go over the chapters and try to decode his success, we will see how the insights stack up against the ideas in disruptive innovation and blue ocean. The first chapter is about leaders and teams having passion about the product. The book talks about how Steve Jobs while being non technical was very excited about the idea of a personal computer as an user at a time when computer were mainframe behemoths with which communications was through batch jobs painstakingly encoded on data cards.  The book talks of how he like the idea of a cursor controlled by a mouse being the primary control as against the traditional key board. Today the cursor and mouse are so central to our digital experience, we fail to even think of it as an innovation. It feels so obvious. But Steve Jobs was the per