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A Great Man Knows His Own Limitations

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A Great Man Knows His Own Limitations

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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