At Apple, Steve Jobs divided people into 2 groups: ‘Insanely great’ and ‘crappy’ – Guy Kawasaki

“I’ve had a long and exciting journey — full of failures and successes — since I first started working at Apple in 1983,” Guy Kawasaki writes for CNBC. “Ask people who worked at Apple when Steve Jobs was around, and they’ll very bluntly tell you it wasn’t easy. There were days where he was impressed by my work, and there were days when I was certain he would fire me. But it was always exciting because we were on a mission to prevent totalitarianism.”

“I wouldn’t trade working for him for any job I’ve ever had — and I don’t know anyone in the Macintosh Division who would, either,” Kawasaki writes. “Jobs elevated women to positions of power long before it was cool or socially responsible to do so. He didn’t care about gender, sexual orientation, race, creed or color. He divided the world into two groups: ‘Insanely great people’ and ‘crappy people.’ It was that simple.”

“I hope that everyone has at least one chance to work for someone as brilliant as Steve Jobs,” Kawasaki writes. “It won’t be easy, but what doesn’t end your career makes it stronger.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Which, as mistakes, missed deadlines, and abject failures pile up at today’s Apple, naturally provokes questions about how the company operates today.

Apple is the most successful broken company in the history of the world… The butterfly keyboard is but one manifestation of Apple’s issues. The AirPower fiasco (printed on AirPods boxes no less) is another. Five+ years and counting with a dead-end goofball design on sale as the company’s flagship Mac, yet another. Need we go on? There have been many easily avoidable screwups over the years and, until the root cause is fixed — this stems from the very top with misplaced priorities and conflict aversion, to name just two biggies — these snafus will likely continue, further eroding Apple’s brand in the process.MacDailyNews, April 2, 2019

Tim Cook is not the best person to be CEO of Apple – April 2, 2019
The MacBook keyboard fiasco is way worse than Apple thinks – April 2, 2019
Apple’s AirPower: a fiasco beyond imagination – April 1, 2019
Apple apologizes for ongoing reliability problems with its MacBook ‘butterfly’ keyboards – March 27, 2019
Tim Cook’s Apple vs. Steve Jobs’ Apple – February 28, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook plummets in Glassdoor’s tech CEO rankings – June 20, 2018
Tim Cook: ‘Maybe we should have been clearer’ over throttling iPhones with aging batteries – January 18, 2018
Apple product delays have more than doubled under CEO Tim Cook – January 5, 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook paid close to $102 million for fiscal 2017 – December 28, 2017
At Tim Cook’s Apple, Steve Jobs is long gone, and so is the ‘it just works’ ethos – December 19, 2017
Tim Cook’s sloppy, unfocused Apple rushes to fix a major Mac security bug – November 29, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple’s Tim Cook reaped $145 million last year, most of S&P 500 CEOs – June 30, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook plummets 45 spots in employee ratings – June 22, 2017
The culture at Apple changed when Tim Cook took over as CEO – April 10, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Lazy Apple. It’s not hard to imagine Steve Jobs asking, ‘What have you been doing for the last four years?’ – December 9, 2016
What Steve Jobs gave Apple that Tim Cook cannot – November 18, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook falls from 1st to 18th in Glassdoor’s tech CEO rankings – March 15, 2013


    1. If it’s so obvious that cook is in the crappy group, then why did steve personally choose him to be his successor after working closely with him at Apple for about 12 years?

      Just wondering

      1. Perhaps Cook was less crappy than the available alternatives at the time? Perhaps Steve thought that Cook had the potential to grow into the job over time? Perhaps Steve just made a mistake – he was not immune to mistakes.

        In my opinion, some of the criticism levied against Cook over the years has been unfair. Cook was treated much more harshly than Steve for similar issues (e.g., insufficient supply of retail products at launch), even as the scale of the challenges had significantly increased with Apple’s growth in size and scope (number of technologies developed in-house and the increasing complexity of devices with additional sensors, unified antenna architectures, etc.).

        Some of the criticisms have been more a difference of opinion with respect to Apple’s path than actual failures on Cook’s part.

        And, in my opinion, the critics often fail to give Cook’s Apple credit for their significant successes, such as the Apple Watch and the AirPods.

        Personally, I have tried to give Cook the benefit of the doubt in many cases as I watched Apple evolve from the Jobs’ years, possibly because he had so many ardent critics from the start. But there have been some significant failures on the part of Apple to advance and integrate key technologies (e.g., Siri), failing to foresee new areas of home electronics (e.g., late-to-the-party HomePod), and failing to maintain best-in-class Macs including support for pro users. Those are Cook failures, and Apple has been slow to effectively respond to them.

      2. Jobs made the wrong call. If it were in his power, he would fix it. That’s exactly the kind of expensive correction for quality’s sake he was willing to make and today’s Apple doesn’t seem to be.

  1. When Tcook took the helm he spent years talking about the insanely great products in the pipeline. They were “developing products that our competitors won’t be able to match.” Whilest coyly leading us on he would say he couldn’t talk about the products yet but we would be delighted and amazed.

    Fast forward five years. WTF? We have some nice headphones and… what else? Despite the flat out retarded (I use that knowingly) commercials about the TouchBar being the next in a line of long advances in the history of humanity including discovering fire and inventing the lightbulb no one is all that thrilled with it. The Pro is in disaster land. The iPhone looks and acts just like it did 5 years ago only a little faster with a nicer screen. There’s Animoji I suppose. The FaceID scanner and AR are clearly still waiting for their killer app. One wonders if there is one. There Watch, which with the headphones is probably the other key success from the last 5 years.

    Are these what Tcook was thinking of when he said we’d be blown away? I’m not. To my mind Apple has fallen to earth. They’re just a regular company whose business is to make money, which they’re doing just fine.

    But it’s been a while since I’ve been delighted by Apple. Now that I think about it, a long while. I suspect they’ve stocked up $250 billion in the bank to weather seasons like this, as well as to buy up or buy into the next big thing before it passes them by. That makes sense. But as Apple gets bigger it gets more unwieldy and the brand dilutes. I’ve stopped buying the newest iPhones. I’m typing this on my MacBook Pro 2010, which still gives me a smile every time I open it, working great. I have UE Booms in my kitchen instead of HomePods because I bought the booms first and they work great.

    I guess I’ll just be here on the sidelines waiting for the next insanely great thing. Not holding my breath though.

  2. Steve Jobs didn’t know he was elevating someone from the “crappy” group to become a crappy and neglectful CEO with zero charisma and milquetoast presentation presence.

    In fact there’s no way for Jobs to even think of telling Cook (or anyone else) to “make Apple his own” when Apple’s reputation rested firmly with Jobs leadership, or his soul – the true soul of Apple. Which wasn’t always perfect but a lot more perfect than anyone else.

    Cook still hasn’t learned all the lessons Jobs imparted or he wouldn’t be making such blunders, especially in regards to the Mac – which is still the very heart of Apple.

  3. Like I said somewhere, Tim Cook is fully aware of his grave shortcomings. He is painfully aware what the real Apple fans, not just the iPhone aficionado, wanted but he also knew he could not satisfy them due to his inability. But being a pipeline Tim, he always “prematurely” announces things he “hopes” to send out to the thirsty market (i.e., it’s in the pipeline) or announces something still way too far in the pipeline.
    Then, of course, he fails to deliver. So, what’s new?
    We are not expecting “insanely great” products from him, but please keep at least the Mac line alive. Enough of the “Post PC era” and the iOS-centric gadgets (which is not really, or has not reached the post PC era product status).

  4. I watched the posted video clip of SJ talking about the polished rocks. When it’s ended, I clicked the next clip, titled
    Steve Job’s 10 top rules for success.
    It’s rather long but all of these rules are very informative about how SJ viewed his own company.
    Particularly, when it came to Rule 7 (11:29 – Be Proud of Your Products), look how younger Tim Cook, who was sitting right next to SJ behaved. Very indifferent looking, scratching his head, stroking his hair and did not at all look he understood what SJ was talking about. Then comes to Rule 8 (Marketing is about Values), SJ was talking about his eagerness to please customers and when the product was accepted and praised by the customers, how proud he was. This was exactly what I was feeling those days and it resonated very well with Apple fans. It was Apple’s mojo, which under Tim Cook, unfortunately, was lost and Apple became just another gadget marketer.

  5. “But it was always exciting because we were on a mission to prevent totalitarianism.”

    Enter iOS…
    If preventing totalitarianism was the goal, then it was an abject failure. So what am I to believe?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.