Steve Jobs was many things, and his technical genius can’t be denied, but it turns out he may have had a talent for prophecy as well.
During an interview with famed tech journalist Robert X. Cringely back in 1990, the Apple founder may have accidentally predicted the downfall of his own company.
Apple’s had something of a bad year with a fall in iPhone sales, profits dropping for the first time in 15 years and a lukewarm reception to their latest phone, the iPhone seven.
But did Mr Jobs predict Apple’s own doom? Well maybe.
In the interview with Cringely, Jobs criticised the practise at traditional companies of promoting marketing and sales teams as they’re the ones who help a company grow while neglecting designers and developers.
What happens is like with John Sculley. John came from PepsiCo. They at most would change their products once every ten years. I mean, to them a new product was like a new size of a bottle, right?.
If you were a product person you couldn’t change the course of that company very much. So, who influenced the success of PepsiCo? The sales and marketing people!
Therefore they were the ones who got promoted. Therefore they were the ones who ran the company.
Mr Jobs goes on to say that while this is okay for a company like PepsiCo it can happen at other companies as well. He points out that at a company like IBM or Xerox if someone makes a better computer then it doesn’t matter.
The reason being that when you have a monopoly market share, new products don’t make the company more successful, so company’s execs stop caring about designers.
So the people that can make a company more successful are sales and marketing people. And they end up running the companies. And the product people get driven out of decision making forums. And the companies forget what it means to make great products.
Do you agree that Apple’s gone a bit rotten or do you think they’re still fresh?