Steve Jobs wouldn’t hire Steve Jobs

Here’s an absolutely fantastic career/work idea I got via This Week in Tech:  Steve Jobs would not have hired Steve Jobs.  There are multiple reasons.

  1. Steve Jobs wouldn’t have wanted to go to work for a big corporation like Apple.  He was an entrepreneur.
  2. A strong CEO like Steve Jobs wouldn’t have wanted to hire someone like Steve Jobs who wanted the #1 job.  He wanted to be firmly in control.
  3. People wouldn’t have wanted to work with someone like Steve Jobs, because he would have been too focused on becoming the #1 guy.

The list could go on.  I thought the point was brilliant.  On This Week in Tech they were discussing whether there was a guy like Jobs at Apple and they pointed out – quite rightly – that there most likely couldn’t be a guy like Jobs at Apple.  That kind of guy would exist outside Apple.  He wouldn’t want to be part of Apple – he’d want to be part of a small startup.

Here’s a relevant point:  after Walt Disney died, the Disney corporation spent decades trying to do “what Walt would’ve done.”  Guess what?  They couldn’t figure it out, and nothing good ever came of that thought process.  Eventually Disney reinvented itself as a media company that had – as a side business – some of Disney’s theme park/animation business.

This could be applied to almost anyone:  are you a startup person, or a corporate power-struggle person?  There are skill sets suited to both, and reasons to be proud of both, but they don’t overlap at all.  The kind of skills that make someone successful in their own business don’t make someone successful in a large corporation – they can actually hurt.  And a corporate employee might be lost as a small business owner.

I don’t like Apple, to be honest, but I admire Steve Jobs:  not as a “visionary” but as  businessman and a marketer.  He figured out how to sell a product and sell it well.  He was not a visionary like Ted Hoff or Steve Wozniak, who actually INVENTED personal computers.  He was a master marketer.   But marketing is a large part of making a product come alive, and how companies succeed.  Understanding why Steve Jobs wouldn’t hire Steve Jobs is a good way to understand how companies transcend the marketplace and become exceptional.  Companies don’t hire entrepreneurs or innovators:  they hire good workers.

Photo Attribution Some rights reserved by Annie Bannanie 06