Emperor Jobs

Given I’ve always been a big Apple fan, co-workers ask me from time to time, “why don’t you go work for Apple?” Well, as much as I think Steve Jobs is a brilliant guy, it’s tough to work on projects your team doesn’t control. Check out this passage from a recent Wired article on the making of the iPod:

At the beginning of the project, Jobs held meetings about the iPod every two to three weeks, but when the first iPod prototypes were built, Jobs became involved daily.

“They’d have meetings and Steve would be horribly offended he couldn’t get to the song he wanted in less than three pushes of a button,” Knauss said. “We’d get orders: ‘Steve doesn’t think it’s loud enough, the sharps aren’t sharp enough, or the menu’s not coming up fast enough.’ Every day there were comments from Steve saying where it needed to be.”

What is it about CEOs that they have to have their fingers all over projects? Don’t they trust their teams? Now someone like Steve Jobs didn’t become such a success by not having an opinion. In fact, given his eye for design and marketing, any product team would be crazy not to involve him in their product design efforts. However, it is morale killing to have someone micro-manage your every move. You end up being a virtual mouse that’s being moved around by the CEO’s hand.

That’s a tough environment to be inspired in (I would think).