The surprising (and untold) genius of Steve Jobs

“Apple Inc.’s disappointing earnings have generated a firestorm of media pontification — mostly bears saying that Apple’s good days are gone,” Peter Sims writes for MarketWatch. “It is far too soon to tell. Apple CEO Tim Cook has stepped into the hardest shoes to fill of any leader in recent history, and the key to his success (and Apple’s next chapter) ironically will be the same challenge that vexed the late Steve Jobs for years — how to effectively recruit, motivate, and retain the best talent.”

“Despite the volume of anecdotes and the interesting details Walter Isaacson provides in his book ‘Steve Jobs’ about Jobs’s visionary capacities for understanding consumer product trends and vectors, and his ability to motivate the hell out of people, we still don’t know the real Steve Jobs,” Sims writes. “The Apple co-founder was too complicated and nuanced for any biographer to understand and communicate quickly.”

Sims writes, “Some of those blank spaces will be filled in, and we’ll find a better balance, this fall when Ed Catmull’s forthcoming book is published. Catmull, co-founder and president of animation studio Pixar (now part of Walt Disney Co.), worked with (and for) Jobs for 25 years. His book isn’t about Jobs, and he probably won’t contradict the stories that have already been told, but Catmull is likely to add a great deal of richness and perspective to the picture of Jobs that we have now. And I suspect people will start seeing Jobs differently when the book is published.”

“People have focused on the controlling aspects of Jobs’s personality, but that focus has obscured his genius for collaboration,” Sims writes. “Steve Jobs did it dozens of times over, yet he wasn’t born with the ability to be a great collaborator and partner. It took painful life experiences to uncover his true genius.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Apple Inc.’s disappointing earnings” or, in other words: The Largest Corporate Quarterly Earnings by a Tech Company of All Time.


  1. Now that they mention Ed Catmull, I’d love to see a Steve Jobs movie made by Pixar, with 3d animation, to honor him.

    It would be better than that monstruosity with Ashton Kutcher. And it would be produced by people who actually knew Steve Jobs.

    I don’t know, just a crazy idea…

    1. What a GRrrreat idea! Even if it were just in the “short” category, I’d pay full price to see it. They could show SJ mentoring a beginning animator…who goes on to come from behind to capture the BIG PRIZE at the most prestigious of animation festivals, (and this is after being turned down at smaller film festivals….) then toss in a sub-plot of two of the animator’s characters falling in love AND devising a digital doppelgänger for themselves….this could be cool, very cool…

  2. That animated Movie would be cool & it might be easier to get a proper voice match than someone who might look like Jobs but otherwise wouldn’t pass to those that knew him.
    A better version would be a mini web series multiple high quality episodes that would run for several years the length of a few movies.

  3. I think a more pressing question for TC now is how to keep bringing supply prices down while maintaining quality and reliability of supply, and how to keep making money from the lower end by using your old designs instead of spending r&d money actually designing a low end product. That was a brilliant strategy.

    The earnings are only disappointing to people who respect the skills of all those other CEOs etc we see quoted so often. Mostly they spout a load of jargon, but enough people can’t tell the difference.

    The more public figures on Apple’s board speak in english most of the time, it’s one of the things I like about them. Sadly for them, all the ones who get fooled by jargon because they don’t understand it, do understand english. So while everything seems fine at companies with a ridiculous financial position, Apple seems iffy no matter what the financials are. They’d rather remain silent than lower themselves to jargon to cover up a problem. That’s personal integrity.

    It’s all down to: what kind of managers do shareholders want, people with integrity or people who will publicly debase themselves just to make you think they are efficient and effective? No wonder everything’s on the verge of collapse.

  4. “Apple Inc.’s disappointing earnings have generated a firestorm of media pontification…”

    No. Their earnings were fine – it was the profits that some took exception to. The almost flat Y/O/Y profits was exclusively because of lower profit margins.

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