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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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A Warning from Steve about Pursuing the Wrong Values

His attitudes about money contributed mightily to his personal distress over what became of Apple in the years he was out of the company. In 1995, while he was away from Apple running his competing start-up company NeXT, Steve sat down for an oral history interview for the Smithsonian Institution. His comments in the interview shed some fascinating light on his values, and provide a warning to all entrepreneurs and business leaders. Talking about what was going on while he was not at Apple, he said,

What ruined Apple was values . . . bringing a set of values to the top of Apple which were corrupt and corrupted some of the top people who were there, drove out some of the ones who were not corruptible, and brought in more corrupt ones and paid themselves collectively tens of millions of dollars and cared more about their own glory and wealth than they did about what built Apple in the first place—which was making great computers for people to use.

They didn’t care about that any more. They didn’t have a clue about how to do it and they didn’t take any time to find out because that’s not what they cared about. They cared about making a lot of money.

So they had this wonderful thing that a lot of brilliant people made called the Macintosh and they got very greedy. And instead of following the trajectory of the original vision—which was to make this thing an appliance, to get this out there to as many people as possible—they went ...

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