BusinessWeek Computer Editor Peter Burrows recently talked about the nature of innovation with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Excerpts of a few of Jobs’ comments:
I get asked a lot why Apple’s customers are so loyal. It’s not because they belong to the Church of Mac! That’s ridiculous. It’s because when you buy our products, and three months later you get stuck on something, you quickly figure out [how to get past it]. And you think, “Wow, someone over there at Apple actually thought of this!” And then three months later you try to do something you hadn’t tried before, and it works, and you think “Hey, they thought of that, too.” And then six months later it happens again. There’s almost no product in the world that you have that experience with, but you have it with a Mac. And you have it with an iPod.
Not everyone knows it, but three months after I came back to Apple, my chief operating guy quit. I couldn’t find anyone internally or elsewhere that knew as much as he did, or as I did. So I did that job for nine months before I found someone I saw eye-to-eye with, and that was Tim Cook. And he has been here ever since. Of course, I didn’t tell anyone because I already had two jobs [CEO of Apple and of movie maker Pixar Animation Studios and didn’t want people to worry about whether I could handle three [jobs]. But after Tim came on board, we basically reinvented the logistics of the PC business. We’ve been doing better than Dell [in terms of some metrics such as inventory] for five years now!
We’ve got such great people [in the top executive team] that I’ve been able to move about half of the day-to-day management of the company to them, so I can spend half my time on the new stuff, like the retail effort. I spent and continue to spend a lot of time on that. And I meet weekly for two or three hours with my OS X team. And there’s the group doing our iLife applications. So I get to spend my time on the forward-looking stuff. My top executives take half the other work off my plate. They love it, and I love it.
Much more in the full article here.