Think big, think different - and then do it

"The purpose of this design is to create a low-cost portable computer so useful that its owner misses it when it's not around – even if the owner isn't a computer freak..." This is how the vision of the Macintosh was described in an internal Apple memo in January 1980 (Source: Rolling Stone, 1984).

Funny enough, this is exactly how I felt about my Macintosh a few years later - and still do, by the way. It wouldn't have passed as a 'proper' positioning or mission statement at most companies yet it's obviously so much more precise and useful.

Key to the success is of course also the fact that the Apple team was able to actually execute against it. It was never 'just words'.

Why Steve Jobs was the model CEO

"Steve Jobs did what a CEO should: Hired and inspired great people; managed for the long term, not the quarter or the short-term stock price; made big bets and took big risks. He insisted on the highest product quality and on building things to delight and empower actual users, not intermediaries like corporate IT directors or wireless carriers. And he could sell. Man, he could sell."
(Walt Mossberg on Steve Jobs, AllThingsD Oct 5, 2011)

But there is one more thing: He was like a focus group of one, he thought like the ideal Apple customer,  only he was always two years ahead.

All that for a 1$ annual salary.

We will forever wonder what else he could have done.

What Steve Jobs and Michelangelo have in common

According to Fast Company Steve Jobs gave the following business advice to Nike a few years back when they launched the iPod/Nike collaboration: "Get rid of the crappy stuff".

"I expected a little laugh," Nike president and CEO Mark Parker says of the exchange. "But there was a pause and no laugh at the end."

Jobs' comment is akin to one of my favorites, namely Michelangelo's when he was asked how he could create a sculpture as magnificent as David. He said, “I carve away everything that isn’t David.”

(This post was originally published in April, 2010)