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 take away from that. Then there was this stuff about Apple being highly profitable in the years following Steve Jobs exit but by doing routine things and not creating an iconic product that would leave a legacy that Steve Jobs wanted to create. I still don't have a business theory to support the idea of working with lower profits for some time to create an iconic product. That sounds risky and I am not sure if that can be anything other than a gamble.
And with Next computers and the Pixar Computer, Steve Jobs apparently failed. In both case because he had priced it way higher than what the market segment could pay. The Pixar computer was for graphics companies while the Next computer was for universities. This could be related to the theory from Blue Ocean around cutting features the segment does not need to align with their cost affordability. And apparently Steve Job's understanding of the products and what the segment needed was more for consumers and not for business. So he could not possibly not plot the mental strategy canvases for businesses.
The Pixar story is interesting. Of using computer generated graphics to replace manual animations And the step by step progress towards capturing the key elements consumers of the end products - the movies - would care about - the story and the emotions. How computers could be used to generate human like emotions and how that managed to win the game. With more details this could be seen through the strategy canvas framing. Or on disruptive innovation frameworks against other products in the market. But this hardly had much to do with Steve Jobs except for maintaining trust and investing in Pixar.
Finally the book concludes with the lesson that winners maintain momentum during the tough period. Which is a bit of a generalist motivational kind of lesson.