Post by Pd Post by Rowland McDonnell
The Steve had an eye for what was right - that's true.
There's far more to it than that, but in essence that was his greatest
Post by Rowland McDonnell
But it was others who did the actual design work, and there's evidence
that The Steve's management style was very poor.
Depends how you define management. If it's "how much do your employees
like you" then it was probably poor. If it's "how much do your employees
want to do the absolute best that they can, how much do they respect
your judgement and how proud are they of what they produce" then it's
hard to argue that his management was poor.
But think of all the wasted talent especially in the early days when he
sacked people at the drop of a hat - and think of all those marvellously
talented people who wouldn't work for Apple because of The Steve.
He was grossly unfair, bullying, and (according to some) verging on
psychopathic. Not a nice man at all. His management style was one that
I simply wouldn't put up with for five minutes.
And think of all those wonderful ideas that The Steve strangled at
birth, and all the things The Steve's vision decided we were going to
have to abandon leaving us only with The One True Way of The Steve (At
Least For This Week) rather than what we'd have if he were capable of
respecting viewpoints other than his own.
I mention that last issue because certainly since Mac OS X 10.4, I
reckon Macs have got *less* useful for me overall. That's down to The
Steve's ideas on what old stuff to drop and what new features to give
us. The new stuff's mostly of no interest to me, and the stuff that The
Steve's vision has removed is to a large extent useful to me.
Post by Pd
How did Microsoft manage to become the dominant desktop operating
system? Through clever business practices, leveraging the market
perception that IBM were the ones to follow, and then using their
virtual monopoly to make it unattractive for hardware manufacturers to
recommend anything else.
Not so much "clever" business practices as nigh-on illegal
anti-competitive business practices, such as offering big discounts to
OEM PC clone makers on MS-DOS if they sold /only/ MS-DOS.
There's nothing clever about that - it's just an abuse of a dominant
position intended to wipe out competition.
Post by Pd
How did Apple manage to produce the dominant music player, smart phone
and tablet, in markets that already had several major manufacturers?
By designing and producing gadgets that fulfilled their function
beautifully, both in looks and in the way they worked. Other people did
the nitty gritty of the design, but Steve told them *what* to design.
AIUI, The Steve provided direction which in many cases was initially
relatively vague, assessing each design iteration and then providing
other direction until the designers had come up with something that felt
The reason the iPod took over was that the competition was mostly crap.
Most of the competition subjected the user to serious pain just to get
music onto the player and a crap UI to drive the player itself.
Generally too many features, controls of great confusion, and too little
music capacity (most of 'em).
When the iPod came out, I recall the slagging off it got from those who
liked the then current crop of portable music players. Not one of them
seemed to understand that the great mass of potential portable music
player users simply wouldn't be able to make much use of the fiddly
feature-rich gadgets they adored.
I knew someone who had a non-iPod mp3 player at the time of the iPod
launch (a gift from someone else). She never used it, because she
couldn't work out how to put music on to the thing.
It was no great stroke of genius on The Steve's part to head up a
project to come up with the iPod, nor was it a great stroke of genius to
come up with the idea of providing iTunes and the iTMS to provide an
easy way to get music on to an iPod.
Engineers did all the hard work of implementing the necessary
technology. The Steve's great contribution was his `sense of rightness'
as to what's `just right for the job'. For example, insisting on the
mechanically smallest HDD available, on the grounds that the slightly
larger (but cheaper) HDDs suitable for the job would make the resulting
music player inconveniently big. Never mind the extra cost - The Steve
understood that people are willing to pay for convenience and beauty.
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