Jobs: An “Insanely Great” Micromanaging Dictator

As with everyone else, Steve Jobs was like a coin. The coin has a head side and a tail side. They are  inseparable from each other. You want one side, you have to take both. Here’s one of many Book-of-Jobs anecdotes being recalled today, from Fortune mag:

So exalted is Steve Jobs that often he is compared, metaphorically at least, to Jesus Christ. (Exhibit A: Alan Deutschman’s revealing 11-year-old book, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs.) True to form, the shepherd to his Apple flock often teaches in parables.

       One such lesson could be called the “Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President,” and it’s a sermon Jobs delivers every time an executive reaches the VP level. Jobs imagines his garbage regularly not being emptied in his office, and when he asks the janitor why, he gets an excuse: The locks have been changed, and the janitor doesn’t have a key. This is an acceptable excuse coming from someone who empties trash bins for a living. The janitor gets to explain why something went wrong. Senior people do not. “When you’re the janitor,” Jobs has repeatedly told incoming VPs, “reasons matter.” He continues: “Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering.” That “Rubicon,” he has said, “is crossed when you become a VP.” (Apple has about 70 vice presidents out of more than 25,000 non-retail-store employees.)

Love his products, but I wouldn’t want to be in the “reasons stop mattering” department. Imagine how many angry 4AM texts Jobs’ minions must have endured in order to bring the world these wonderful devices.

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