Biswanath Bhattacharya

The name of Steve Jobs is doing the rounds in the corridors  of computer technology since quite a pretty long time now. The “Apple” and “Steve  Jobs” have become almost synonymous. People went crazy when ipod was first released  in the market; they went berserk when iphone was launched and then the imminent  release of iPad –a magical and revolutionary product at unbelievable price has caused  wildfire in the market. .And it is coming to the market on April 3, 2010. The iPad uses Safari web browser which puts the Internet literally in your hands. Since finger is  used for accessing the browser, navigating the web has never been easier or more  intuitive,  

Therefore, it was no wonder that I felt curious to know the man who is almost  revolutionising the entire gamut of the computer world. Since I couldn’t lay my hand on  an authentic biography of Steve Jobs, I searched the net frantically to get inputs and  this article is the product of my intense search. I have unabashedly taken notes from net, sometime just copied, and pasted. This foreplay is, I feel, necessary so that no controversy is created at any stage. 

Steve Jobs is an enigmatic character. One apple executive who worked closely with  Steve Jobs described him as a „Doberman who would chew off the head of anyone who  stood in his way ‟. He is an amazing personality. Jobs is also known as the one man  who could have upstaged Bill Gates. But Jobs‟ passion was for innovation while that of  Bill Gates was making money. Is it believable that he takes home an annual salary of  U.S. $1?

His resume may speak well about himself. The salient points of his resume are summarized below: 

I'm looking for a fixer-upper with a solid foundation. Am willing to tear  down walls, build bridges, and light fires. I have great experience, lots of  energy, a bit of that "vision thing" and I'm not afraid to start from the  beginning. 

The words “Tear down walls, build bridges, light fires, starting from beginning etc.” should be carefully taken note of . These words are sufficient enough to portray the  personality of this great man. He had the courage to be impatient and the patience to  be brave. 

In 1976, Jobs, then 21, and Wozniak, 26, founded Apple Computer Co. in the Jobs‟ family garage. The first personal computer was sold for $666.66. By 1980, Apple had  already released three improved versions of the personal computer. It had a wildly  successful IPO, which made both founders millionaires many times over. An astute  business man as Steve Jobs is, he had managed to rope in John Scully of Pepsi to head  the marketing function in Apple. 

The naming of his computer after “Apple” was equally interesting. There is hearsay that when his colleagues were not being able to come up with a suitable name even  after elapse of considerable time, he instantly named it after his favourite fruit apple. 

I have read of Steve Jobs sporadically and not in a systematic way. While reading on  Steve Jobs, I tried to find out the characteristics of the leaders. .There is basically five  types of leaders.  

∙ Level 1 is a highly capable Individual who "makes productive contributions  through talent, knowledge, skills and good work habits." 

∙ Level 2 is a contributing team member who "contributes individual capabilities to  the achievement of group objectives and works effectively with others in a group  setting." 

∙ Level 3 is the competent manager who "organizes people and resources toward  the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives." 

∙ Level 4 is an effective leader who "catalyses commitment to and vigorous pursuit  of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards."

∙ Level 5 is the executive who "builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical  blend of personal humility and professional will." Every one of the good-to-great  companies has level 5 leaders in the critical transition phase. Jack Welch, Andy  Grooves, Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi, Carleton S. "Carly" Fiorina are some of the  examples of Level V leaders. They constantly strive for taking company from  good-to-great. And Steve Jobs is an essentially a Level V leader and  transformational leader as well. 

His most endearing characteristics are that he is self-effacing; quiet reserved and even  shy - more like Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar. Personal humility is one of  his most adorable characteristics. 

Steve jobs relies on instilling inspired standards and not inspiring charisma to motivate.  He is not a tyrannical disciplinarian one but one that enables freedom and  responsibility. He hires self-disciplined people who are willing to go to lengths to fulfil  their responsibilities. They consistently adhere to what Collins calls the Hedgehog  Concept, the intersection of three circles: 

∙ Brutally and realistically determining what the company can be the best in the  world at and pursuing it in light of these next two. 

∙ Deciding the most effective way of generating sustained cash flow and  profitability. Then determining the single most important indicator. In the case  of Walgreens it was profit per customer visit and not the traditional profit per  store.  

∙ The good-to-great company and its employees only do the things they are  deeply passion 

Steve jobs is also a narcissist leader. He has a compelling vision. He may not be  remarkable at number crunching. But he is truly exceptional at envisioning the big  picture. George Bernard Shaw once said: “Some people see things as they are and ask  why.” But Steve Jobs sees things that never were and ask why not. 

He is essentially a good orator. Bill Atkinson considered by many to be the most gifted  programmer at Apple during its early days said of Steve Jobs: “He can con you  believing his dream”. The increasing adulation of large numbers of his followers makes  him believe that he is invincible and therefore, he almost always throws caution and  advice into wind. He continues with his unassailable logic that he is sure and right when  everybody is in doubt. He doesn‟t try to persuade people who disagree, he just ignores  them. As a result he is emotionally isolated. He is street smart but lacking in empathy. 

He is "apparently" a very rough, intimidating boss who is a great motivator but has the  capacity to unleash a blistering verbal attack upon those who do not meet his demands. 

Steve Jobs is a good manger too. He believes that people should feel free to dislike  others as well as to be friendly. He doesn‟t believe that mangers should become  inseparable and indistinguishable from the organisation. He believes that inseparable and  indistinguishable managers can breed organisational sickness. He doesn‟t believe that  superiors can develop subordinates to be more skilful in interpersonal competence and  diagnosing accurately administrative situations. He believes that no one can develop  anyone else except himself. The door to development is locked from inside! 

There was a phase when due to certain reasons Steve jobs was not a part of Apple and  it was during that time that Apple came close to extinction. It was only when Steve jobs  joined back that the company rose back to glory again and thereafter, there has been no looking back. It is mounting glory one after another. 

Even in his twenties, Jobs was obsessed about death. He told former Apple CEO John  Sculley that he was convinced that he would live a very short life and therefore urgently  needed to have an impact before he died. Sculley viewed that this was why he was so  driven and ambitious. He is now only 55. We may only wish that his life be more  colourful and he traverses long uncharted path spanning over number of decades more.  May God grant him a long working life and he continues to baffle the world with more scintillating invention! To quote an Irish proverb: 

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day! May songbirds  serenade you every step along the way!! May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue!!! And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.... May you always have work for your hands to do!!!!”