Andro T. Cuevas
HUBEHOR – EF
Prof. Debbie Nacu
Article on leadership: Steve Jobs’ Magic Kingdom
How Apple’s demanding visionary will shake up Disney and the world of entertainment.
Leadership. As defined by The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, it is to guide or direct in a course; to direct the performance or activities.
Whenever I hear the word “leadership”, the first thing that comes to my mind is a manager or an entrepreneur. Their job is to make sure that everyone working under them does the right thing everytime (or at least most of the time). The proof of a good leader is a successful venture much like that being experienced by Apple today.
Great Business comes from great products. Apple today is one of the hottest techie companies thanks to iPod and iTunes, the tandem that redefined coolness. They are so popular, they have become an icon for the electronics age. Apple focused on simplicity and convergence of technology unlike hi-tech Microsoft or plain, old, boring Dell. In three years span, their market value ballooned from $7 to $74 today. Apple however wouldn’t have risen to success if it wasn’t for Steve Jobs’ ingenious ways. In 1997, Apple was at rock-bottom having poor sales because of poor products. It all changed when they re-hired Jobs who took-over the company, transforming it to a quality-over-quantity company that made Bill Gates and Mike Dell a run for their money.
The secret, knowing what the market wants and releasing the product when it would be a hit. All his movements were very timely from the release of iMac to the current success of iPods. He knew that music should be portable and music players should match what you’re wearing. iPods today have been both a necessity and accessory for the young and the young-at-heart.
In terms of competency, Steve makes sure that he gets the best person for the right job and position. Efficiency is the key. He prefers to have a small team with the most brilliant minds than have a huge team with mediocre members. He even personally calls promising talents and other prodigies of different fields.
The same quality-over-quantity thing applies to the products they develop. He axed a dozen products being manufactured by the company and focused on just four. This way, he made sure that every product would be recognized best-in-class. Jobs never stooped to a level that made them manufacture products of inferior quality such as lower-end products just to boost sales or to expand to other technologies where Apple wouldn’t be the leader. He has this saying “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as much as I am of what we do.” It’s actually true. Why would you focus on things you know you are not capable of doing? Steve would rather devote his attention, as well as money, to his area of expertise.
Ironically, he ventured to animation industry via PIXAR, an all-digital animation studio famous for blockbusters like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. In short, it also became a huge success applying the same principles he used for Apple. Just recently, PIXAR and animation giant Disney became partners making Steve Jobs a majority share holder of Disney. In there, he established good relationship with the other executives gaining most of their trust.
With every bond he makes, he capitalizes. Since Disney is the owner of Network titan ABC and the world-wide leader in sports: ESPN, he used this links to further expand the scope of his iTunes. It now allows the download of Disney classics, ABC TV series (such as Desperate Housewives and Lost ) and ESPN clippings aside from the music downloads. Steve Jobs really had his eyes focused on Apple being the center of every living room, replacing the TV, radio, CD player and other appliances. (hmmm… do I see iRef or iStove in the near future?)
The qualities of a good leader does not end with making good relationship with other businesses, choosing the right people for the right job or focusing on continuous product development. A good leader is a working leader. Steve Jobs started out his empire with himself doing all the pencil-pushing and bolt-tightening, He assembled his own computer and conceptualized his own products. Having a leader that has all this skills would surely bring out the best in everyone. Looks may be deceiving but the hardly shaven, denim-wearing computer geek is actually a very good and successful multi-billionaire leader; certainly the core of this juicy Apple. Who wouldn’t want to be like him?