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 profiles just due to the passion the person had for the company's products. Though the unconventional profile here is a Harvard graduate. Not like he hired a coal miner or a janitor with passion. 

And I cannot think being judgmental about people's ideas is necessarily a great practice. It goes against the whole idea of brainstorming where all kind of ideas are allowed to come up and bad ideas naturally get weeded out. With a leader like Steve Jobs who is likely to call you a bozo for coming up with a bad idea, people are likely to think twice before coming up with ideas.

The aspect of pirate like personality versus a navy like makes sense. In innovative start up kind of environment, you need hustlers and go getters rather than traditionalists who go exactly by the book. But it is possible they may also be needed to bring some sense into the madness. A whole bunch of excited loons can easily run you to the ground as well.

Needing to charm the best people make sense. With products like Apple's and personality like Steve Job's, it is very much part of the game. 

Despite all that, things worked out for Steve Jobs.  But I can't see any clear takeaways in his approach to talent.


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