Steve Jobs, founder and current Chief Executive of Apple Computers, is a phenomenon. He has no doubt assured his place in business history by being fired from his own company in 1985 (well actually he resigned to avoid being fired). The business was started from his garage in 1976. In 1996 he returned to rescue the company from bankruptcy, and in ten years made the company bigger and better than it’s ever been. “He’s tripled Apple’s annual sales, doubled the Mac’s market share, and increased Apple’s stock 1300 percent. Apple is making more money and shipping more computers than ever before, thanks to a string of hit products – and one giant blockbuster”. This “blockbuster” is the iPod, introduced in October 2001. In the years since then,
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Someone’s got to make the call. Jobs is Apple’s one-man focus group. It’s not how other companies do it, but it works. * Don’t shit on your own doorstep. Apple’s engineers hated the old Mac OS, but Jobs ordered a positive spin on it. * Don’t listen to your customers. They don’t know what they want. * It’s OK to be an asshole, as long as you’re passionate about it. Jobs screams and shouts, but it comes from his drive to change the world. * Put boot to ass to get things done. * Become a great intimidator. Inspire through fear and a desire to please.
And so on and so on. Each chapter of the book discusses one of the key elements of the Apple business. So the final product is a quite engaging business philosophy for high technology companies, from design, engineering and manufacturing right through to marketing and retail sales. And all of it is totally unusual. Apple is one of the few high-tech companies left with complete vertical integration from beginning to end. This alone makes it one of the most remarkable companies of our time.
One of the most distinctive features of company marketing is total secrecy about new product development. Employees are as secretive about their work as CIA operatives planning a military coup-d’etat of a neighbouring third-world country. New consultants use fictional names when checking into hotels. Leaking news is a fireable offense. But with
20 000 employees, such leaks are inevitable, and