During early 2000's every other company in the world was trying to go mobile and trying to get most of the huge upsurge in the demand for computing devices. What made Apple stand out of the competition and emerge as the most admired tech company on planet? What made Apple product better than others? What does Apple have that other companies don't ? Simplest answer that comes to mind is Steve Jobs. He was the one with the revolutionary ideas, futuristic vision and great leadership skills. Some of the attributes that he showed during his tenure at Apple:
- Deciding what not to do: When Steve jobs came to Apple in 1997, the company was producing numerous products and there was no focus on the consumers. Jobs decided to focus on only 4 types of computers – Desktops for Consumer, Desktop for pros, Portable for Consumers and Portable for pros. He scraped all other products in the company’s catalog. The decision had direct impact on the current revenue model of the company which was on the verge of bankruptcy. But it was also helping in cutting the cost of producing and marketing various models.
- Corporate Culture: Jobs always believed that corporate culture is developed not forced. To achieve this, he used to take his “Top 100” people on retreat each year to refine the strategy that they will be pursuing next year. This gave all the people to speak their minds. Also, it made them feel that whatever they think also matters to the company. This practice was followed at each level within Apple and effect of this practice reflects in their superior products.
- Change the Original vision: To keep up with time, business plans and vision needs to be changed. During 1980s, Bill Gates realized that software will rule the hardware and won the battle for PC’s. Apple started as a computer company but later realized that future lies in portability. Responding quickly to changing times, Steve Jobs changed the name of company from Apple Computers to Apple Inc. in 2007. This showed the world and employees within the company that company is moving towards broader vision than before. Apple did the same and produced everything from Desktops, Laptops, and MP3 Players to mighty iPhone.
- Create Solutions to Roadblocks: Stores like Best Buy was not able to give adequate positioning to Apple products in their stores. Steve jobs came up with the idea of opening Apple stores which will have trained staff and aesthetic looks to lure customers towards Apple products. This was considered as one of the smartest move in the retail industry.
- Ask Questions rather than feedback: He changed the product strategy by asking the customers what they want rather than asking for feedback. Apple achieved the finesse in their products that users wanted their products even when they don’t need it.
- Hiring: Apple hiring strategy was different but it was in line with what they were trying to achieve. Being a tech company, it was expected to be full of Ivy League graduates working on designing algorithms and robust infrastructures. But instead, Apple hired musicians, artists, historians to give the aesthetic feel to their products and some of them proved to be greatest computer scientists of all time.
- Trust your Guts!: Steve jobs always trusted his guts and made several decisions during his career based on that. In his Stanford commencement speech, he said "Have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."