Former CEO of Apple, John Sculley, had some interesting thoughts to share in a recent interview with Cult of Mac. Famous for ousting Steve Jobs from Apple during a struggle for control of the company, Sculley has barely spoken to Jobs since then, saying that “he won’t speak to me” and is “still mad he got pushed out of Apple 22 years ago.” At that time, Jobs convinced Sculley to ditch Pepsi and join Apple. The two worked together as co-CEO’s for awhile, blending their expertise in design and marketing to create the world’s first personal computer.
In the interview, Sculley opens up and talks candidly about why Steve Jobs has been so successful. Here are some highlights from that interview:
About Steve Jobs’ methodology
I didn’t know really anything about computers nor did any other people in the world at that time. This was at the beginning of the personal computer revolution, but we both believed in beautiful design and Steve in particular felt that you had to begin design from the vantage point of the experience of the user.
About Steve Jobs’ Perfectionism
I can remember lots of evenings we would be there until 12 or 1 o’clock in the morning because the engineers usually don’t show up until lunchtime and they work well into the night. And an engineer would bring Steve in and show him the latest software code that he’s written. Steve would look at it and throw it back at him and say: “It’s just not good enough.” And he was constantly forcing people to raise their expectations of what they could do. So people were producing work that they never thought they were capable of. Largely because Steve would shift between being highly charismatic and motivating and getting them excited to feel like they are part of something insanely great. And on the other hand he would be almost merciless in terms of rejecting their work until he felt it had reached the level of perfection that was good enough to go into – in this case, the Macintosh.
About Apple’s Culture Compared to Microsoft’s
An anecdotal story, a friend of mine was at meetings at Apple and Microsoft on the same day and this was in the last year, so this was recently. He went into the Apple meeting (he’s a vendor for Apple) and when he went into the meeting at Apple as soon as the designers walked in the room, everyone stopped talking because the designers are the most respected people in the organization. Everyone knows the designers speak for Steve because they have direct reporting to him. It is only at Apple where design reports directly to the CEO.
Later in the day he was at Microsoft. When he went into the Microsoft meeting, everybody was talking and then the meeting starts and no designers ever walk into the room. All the technical people are sitting there trying to add their ideas of what ought to be in the design. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Read the full interview transcript here: The Secrets of Steve Jobs’ Success