Steve Jobs as manager is being featured in an article by Jobs biographer, Walter Isaacson, in the the Harvard Business Review. Clearly, the piece by Isaacson is an apologia. Even the NYTimes has picked up the story because there are a wide range of attitudes towards Jobs management style. As a onetime Mac User I know these 3 things:
1)I have waited for 5 years for the touchscreen to come to the Mac. It has not been allowed on the Mac for REALITY-DISTORTION “users arms get tired”. I now know touchscreen operations will not come to the Mac until Windows 8 gets on the market and starts to take serious market share in smartphones, tablets and laptops. And it will do so partly because Apple has stayed happy with its icon driven Mac OS and iOS interfaces and partly because Mac OS has been denied touch screen operations to allow for iPads and iPhones to get large market share.
2)Steve beat up on people using the “hero-shithead rollercoaster” technique. This can go awry in so many ways it is just totally unacceptable.
3)Steve Jobs REALITY-DISTORTION on Adobe Flash was typically libelous. The only reason Adobe did not take legal action is because almost half of their business is on Macs – so they had to swallow hard. But false justification for no Flash has cut out about a third of my and thousands of other loyal Mac Flash users business. And this is not the first time as the transitions between Motorola 68000 to IBM Power chips and then Power Chips to Intel architecture were draconian if not downright hamfisted. Hypnotic marshalling false arguments eventually will have negative, if not catastrophic consequences.
All power to Steve Jobs achievments – but for a manager I would take a John Chambers or a Howard Schultz over Steve Jobs anywhere, anytime, any day, any minute.
PS: And if you look at the issue of teamwork being proposed in the Harvard Business Review you will find that Steve’s style is antithetical to the directions and methods being proposed.