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Doug's Mailbag: Is Steve Jobs a Tyrant?

Here are a couple of reader responses to Doug's assessment of how Steve Jobs is perceived:

I've always heard the Steve Jobs was a jerk which is why, no matter how good his products are, I don't buy them. I don't believe in supporting bad behavior. I don't want any part of helping to make a horse's ass a rich man.

I believe in accountability. I also believe in treating people with respect. I figure when people screw up, they are already beating themselves up. If they aren't, they shouldn't be working with me. If a major screw up occurs, I can calmly ask what happened and if I find that people need to find employment elsewhere, so be it. Being a respectful person does not preclude expecting excellence. Your employees don't have to be afraid of you to do their best. In fact, I know that I personally will work my hardest for someone who treats me fairly. If they treat me badly and I see them running for a brick wall and it's not specifically my job to stop them, I step back and let them hit it as hard as they can.

His being 'a tyrant' has served Apple well because he is also a brilliant salesman. (Thank refrigerators and Eskimos.) But Steve's nature will also be the ultimate downfall of Apple.

As with most warlords, when Steve Jobs leaves Apple (probably feet first), there will be a big power vacuum. There will be no one in Apple with the strength to fill that void. Most likely, the resulting fragmentation of power will lead to a slow decline of Apple in the marketplace -- if for no other reason that no one will have been groomed to 'take over' at Apple and no one can match the charisma and the vision of Steve Jobs.

That's too bad.

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 06/01/2011 at 1:18 PM


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