Two things really resonated with me in this video interview:
Steve talking about returning to Apple and tried to work out why a lot of smart people still stayed on when leaving to go elsewhere would have been the rational decision. The phrase that Apple employees responding to Jobs’ gentle questioning around this issue was that ‘they bleed six colours’.
They were passionate about their company, what it stands for, or what it stood for at one time.
At Yahoo! a similar language is used, I know current (and former Yahoos) who ‘bleed purple’.
I find the way some companies have inspired a passionate workforce that sustains the businesses even when they have a kamikaze management team and strategy is impressive. The company becomes more than the organisation, it becomes a state-of-mind. Whilst Sun Microsystems didn’t manage to reascend the hill to business greatness after the dot.com bubble, the company culture held together a solid business turning out great technology that Oracle managed to acquire at a time when other businesses would have fallen apart as key staff head for the door.
The big challenge of course is how do you bottle that inspiration to imbue a company with this core strength?
The second thing was when he addressed products; he described them as packages of emphasis. A product is as much about what you choose not to put in as what is included. This really resonated with me partly because of discussions that I had been having around a project at work. It goes back to the old wisdom of ‘The Void’ in chapter six of Sun Tzu – The Art of War.