In the end, the most important element in creating a Pirate organization is choosing the right people, and the most important element in choosing the right people is being able to recognize the values and qualities of Pirates when you see them.
That means you have to know who you are as an organization, you have to have a clear product vision, and you have to have a clear sense of the culture you’re trying to create. Steve was describing the culture of innovation when he said that “Apple runs like a start-up.” He meant that the company has small teams of Pirates working with a tight focus on one important project at a time.
I once asked an old Apple friend what he missed most about Apple after he left. He answered, “A CEO and executive team with great vision and a great ability to communicate direction that ripples down through the company.” That’s as good a definition as any of the Pirate organization.
1. Steve Jobs, “Steve Jobs Speaks Out,” an interview with Senior Editor Betsy Morris, Fortune, August 3, 2008.
2. Eric Gelman et al, “Showdown in Silicon Valley,” Newsweek, September 30, 1985, 47–50.