Would you have hired Steve Jobs?

“It’s easy in retrospect to say you would grab the leader who drove the creation of the iPhone, iPad and so many other things that built Apple into the most valuable company in the world,” Kenneth Roman writes for Medium. “”

“But would you have taken on this scruffy college drop-out who showed some interest in technology but looked like a hippie and smelled so bad that Atari had to assign him to the night shift to placate co-workers who complained he seldom showered or used a deodorant? The negatives went beyond a lack of obvious qualifications, body odor and dress,” Roman writes. “He had shown himself to be, says Walter Isaacson in his best-selling biography of Jobs, manipulative and arrogant, and ‘a dreadful manager’ who was not a great engineer and didn’t know much about technology.”

“Not many of us would have looked past these off-putting weaknesses to imagine his passion for perfection, an uncanny ability to understand the needs and desires of consumers, and uncompromisingly high standards. You might have hesitated, but Peter Drucker would have urged you to look again. Jobs is an instructive example of the management guru’s over-riding principle: Hire people for their strengths, not their absence of weaknesses,” Roman writes. “Avoiding weakness, Drucker explains in his classic The Effective Executive, will at best produce mediocrity.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Beyond his visionary clarity, Steve Jobs’ passion for perfection and uncompromisingly high standards are exactly what Apple misses most right now.

Steve Jobs would not ship a smart speaker that did not support stereo paring out of the box, the putrid Apple TV Siri Remote, or allow his flagship Mac to languish for five years (at the very least, he’d has stopped trying to sell it years ago out of sheer embarrassment), to name but three examples of the post-Steve Jobs Apple not meeting our expectations, much less Jobs’.


  1. Jobs was unmanageable and would never fit in any role as an employee, so the premise in the article is flawed. Like many in the same boat he started his own gig, and he had the great fortune of a guy named Wozniac as his launch partner. The rest is history.

    1. Exactly. His un-hireability, his inability to be a normal “employee”, is what pushed him into entrepreneurship. And, yes, he was lucky to connect with Woz, or was it luck? Was it just part of Steve’s talent to recognize Woz’s greatness and convince him that they could do something great. Woz was content at HP, just as he was content plodding along on the Apple II. Steve was never content, and by shear will and connivance strong-armed the Mac into existence, leaving his old friend Woz with to continue with the Apple II where he was again content. I agree with MDN that Steve would have done a better job at keeping the troops focused delivering higher quality products. Tim is great at making money for Apple, but Steve see the future with unparalleled clarity. He could absorb the tech stuff other very smart people were doing draw a roadmap for commercialization better than anyone in the past 50 years.

  2. If I had interviewed him as a prospective employee, I am pretty sure that my instincts would have told me not to hire him because he would be more trouble than he was worth.

    I am also pretty sure that if he really wanted that job, he would have somehow persuaded me to hire him anyway and he would have been trouble, but worth it.

  3. “…easy in retrospect to say you would grab the leader..”
    Really? “Grab the leader.” Sheesh!
    Recently, my physician’s assistant asked if she could grab my blood pressure, grab my pulse, grab my weight. A few days later a waitress asked if she could grab me something to drink. I swear, in English speaking America we’re down to about two verbs; namely, “like”, and “grab”; as in, “I’m like, let’s grab a movie tonight.”

  4. You guys are missing the point: Apple has decided that stereo sound is already obsolete and is going to replace it with something better, in a few years. That’s why they didn’t include it in HomePod. [end sarcasm]

    1. Uhm, while the HomePod is a single unit, it isn’t “mono”. A TV soundbar can be a single unit, and no one acts like it’s “mono”, but if Apple does it, then hilarity ensues.

      The HomePod has 8 speakers, with 7 of them arranged in a circle for maximum separation, creating a soundfield, just like your two speaker, or multi speaker setups.

  5. “or allow his flagship Mac to languish for five years”
    Steve Jobs may actually disagree with that…
    “If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing.” — Steve Jobs

    “the putrid Apple TV Siri Remote”
    You’re saying this about the guy that okayed the release of a ROUND MOUSE??? 🙂 If you ask me, the Apple TV Siri Remote is EXACTLY what Steve would have approved. And he would have had a fistfight with the person that wanted to add the white tactile ring around one of the buttons.

    “ship a smart speaker that did not support stereo paring out of the box”
    But he WOULD ship a computing device without an API to write applications for that computing device out of the box.

    Steve Jobs is the kind of person that would NEVER approve anything I personally didn’t like — said no one. Ever.

  6. Q: Hire an ENTJ? (See Myers-Briggs personality system).
    A: Yes, immediately!
    A: He was also a cross-brain, left and right.
    A: He was also a creative PITA (versus destructive PITA).
    A: Yes please!

    A+: His immaturity early on was clearly showing. But seeing as he was devoted to continual personal improvement above and beyond mere ego (aka compensation for insecurities), he’d clearly have required time and experience to climb the self-learning-curve. But that’s the point of living and using living beings as one’s staff. Robots will never have a clue what that’s about. So no robot Steve Jobs need apply. 😉

      1. Not even remotely. I’m never amused when such statements are pulled out of dark, wreaking orifices. I’ve had the personal opportunity to work with and befriend such left&right brained folk. You’re blessed if you get to work with them. That’s why I made my point.

        No go do your homework and look up the real facts of the matter. Very naughty. 🙁

  7. How does a trillion dollar company get so out of touch? You should hear the teachers laughing at a tablet with. $100 detachable pen for middle schoolers.

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