A Great Man Knows His Own Limitations

A Great Man Knows His Own Limitations

AUTHOR

Vivek Sood

TIME TO READ

minutes 

UPDATED ON

January 8, 2019

This picture prompted me to write the blog post. Like many other people, I am a great admirer of Steve Jobs – his integrity, his passion and his sense of design.

Almost single-mindedly he twice created a company that eventually became bigger than the economy of Spain (and many other countries).

Having grown up away from computers, I personally experienced his genius much later in my life than most people did; only when I installed a very expensive and clunky hard drive based music system in one of my cars I found out in a few months that his company had released a much more compact, mobile, versatile, far superior iPod, which made my costly, and clunky install redundant.

But today, when I reflect – almost every technology I use on daily basis has his finger prints on it – Microsoft Word, Windows, Android Phone – all have ideas inspired by him. It was his misfortune that ‘the look and feel’ was something that could never be patented – shows you how useless the patent laws really are when they protect what is not worth protecting and give no protection to what is worth protecting the most.

When I wrote my book The 5-STAR Business Network I used Apple as a shining example of the first star – Innovation. The collaborative approach to innovation that Steve Jobs pioneered, and that is epitomized in the quotation above was worth emulating.

Admittedly, his is not the only company that does it – his company just used to do it better than anyone else. Using a business network of suppliers, suppliers’ suppliers and collaborators to co-create a product in far less time than anyone else could have created was a work of a genius.

He stood the Edison and Tesla model of innovation on its head. And, even Ford could have learnt a few things from him. What surprises me most is that despite the overwhelming evidence and a clear role model – why most companies still cannot get their act together when they sit back to create products that their customers would worship.

Why do they still settle for shoddy GM cars, or pills that do more harm than good.

I will end this blog with a quotation from Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson:

“Because he believed that Apple’s great advantage was its integration of the whole widget – from design to hardware to software to content – he wanted all departments at the company to work together in parallel. The phrases he used were “deep collaboration” and “concurrent engineering”. Instead of a development process in which a product would be passed sequentially from engineering to design to manufacturing to marketing and distribution, these various departments collaborated simultaneously. ” Our method was to develop integrated products, and that meant our process had to be integrated and collaborative”, Jobs said.

He called it ‘deep collaboration’ – and we call it Supply Chain 3.0. Hopefully, we will have a lot more time to put it into practice. This tribute to the great man has been cooking up in my brain for a long time. The world is a much better place, for he was in it for a few brief decades. You cannot say that about too many people.

Disclaimer: I never had, and do not currently own, any shares in Apple.

 


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Notes:

  1. These ideas and concepts will be usually expressed by our thought leaders in multiple forums - conferences, speeches, books, reports, workshops, webinars, videos and training. You may have heard us say the same thing before.
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Vivek Sood

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    • I think self-knowledge is already a great first step.

      Your solution will also come from within – once you know yourself. I cannot advise you over internet. If you are a supply chain or business professional we do conduct several training programs. For senior (board level or close) executives, we also have a signature masterclass. Send me an email if you are interested in this – but you have to qualify for the latter.

      • Yeah Mr. Sood you are right with your statement “Self knowledge is already a great first step”. As you are experience or i should say master of supply chain so obviously you will be having a vast and deep knowledge about all this topics related to supply chain.

    • It’s much easier to remain within the boundaries of where you feel comfortable than it is to face the fear of venturing beyond them.

      But by limiting yourself to what you already know, you’re likely missing out on professional opportunities, life experiences, and personal growth.

      • Hey Jameson,
        Using this concept has been incredibly useful in breaking through my own laziness.

        Imperfections are part of life. I think it’s sad that some people feel that because being perfectly consistent with your values is impossible, that there is no point trying to debug the inconsistencies

  • I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities have inspired me to start my own Blog Engine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

  • Steve Jobs is truly an inspiration. The principles that Jobs used to achieve his breakthrough success are guidelines available to any business leader in any field who hopes to create radical transformation. Passion is everything. Innovation doesn’t happen without it. Dig deep to identify your true passion. Steve Jobs was not passionate about computers; he was passionate about building tools to help people unleash their potential.

  • He knew how to design devices, no doubt about that. But Steve Jobs’s talent for making user-friendly, intuitive technology didn’t end at the iPhone. His design principles offer a guide for any company looking to maximize the potential of its work space to promote creativity, encourage productivity, and improve employee satisfaction. But organizations need one more element in plans to optimize their work spaces and prepare for the future of work: if they want to collaborate, they need the technology that will facilitate that collaboration.

  • Two of the most important lessons Jobs seems to have learned throughout his career are to never give up on the details and to have patience with one’s goals. After losing a battle with Apple’s board of directors in 1984, Jobs left the company, returning in 1997 to save it from bankruptcy. In the meantime, he became a more effective leader by listening and trusting the people he worked with. These skills would enable him to deliver Apple’s complex line of iPhones and iPads which are business ecosystems with tremendous complexity, partners, products, stores, must all be managed and work coherently, so the customer derives a unified experience.

  • Steve Jobs believed that a broad set of experiences lead people to conclusions that others might have missed. He was on to something. Harvard researchers spent half a decade studying the world’s greatest innovators. They found that innovators “associate” ideas from different fields and apply them to the product or service they’re working on. Those researchers could have saved themselves a lot of time by simply interviewing Steve Jobs, who used experiences to inspire his best ideas. Jobs didn’t always know where the dots would connect, but connect they did.

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