What I Learned From Having Steve Jobs Swear at Me

steve-jobsMy subject line was borrowed verbatim from another excellent WSJ article, linked here.

The author was an engineer at Apple who worked on both the iPhone 4 and the iPad.

When he showed Steve Jobs a font that was supposed to illuminate the iPhone 4’s superior screen-resolution, Jobs told him the font was “dog shit.”

Jobs also took the opportunity to publicly sneer at him on other occasions, and Jobs often criticized projects without giving reasons.

The author made a couple key points:

1. Criticism, even without reason, is often necessary to make products or services the best they can be. Team members and bosses cannot be afraid to criticize.

2. Brand new work, no matter how much effort was put into it, often sucks. When creating anything new, be prepared to throw away all of your original efforts and to go through many iterations to get things right.

I loved #2 as a reminder b/c we have poured our hearts and souls into massive projects like our website, our digital marketing assistance, our training program, and even our entire systems and operations – only to have to sit down, start over and revise everything.

For a small firm like ours, it is simply brutal, requiring many weekends and evenings of extremely hard work.

But – we now know it is well worth it, and the above article reminds us we are not alone.

Last point about Steve Jobs’ management style. 

Steve Jobs was able to be Steve Jobs b/c he was a genius and he was careful to only criticize people’s work and not the people themselves.

I often read or hear about managers who use Jobs’ management style to justify their own loutish behavior and what they end up doing is destroying culture and suppressing input from others.

Image courtesy of: BGR.

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(925) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646