retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Financial Times this morning writes that it has named Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple, its “Person of the Year.”

The Jobs story has oft been told, but here are the three passages from the FT profile that are striking ... and worth emulating.

• “Steve’s the last of the great builders,” says Roger McNamee, a Silicon Valley financier who led a recent, failed attempt to rebuild Palm in Apple’s image. “What makes him different is that he’s creating jobs and economic activity out of thin air while just about every other CEO in America is working out ways to cut costs and lay people off.”

• Those who have laboured under him describe him as a stern taskmaster who understands the art of the possible, rather than a long-range visionary. That means pushing relentlessly forward rather than milking old successes – even ones as significant as the iPod.

• Inside Apple, it is clear who calls the shots on design and development. “You have to make one guy like what you’re doing,” said one recently departed executive, who spoke only on the condition he not be named. “He’s the customer, and he’s the marketing department too.”

That’s the kind of eye-opening business leadership from which every company could benefit.
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