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

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Reviving a Radical Idea: A Virtual Company within a Company

Steve created what would become a company within Apple, a virtual company that for all practical purposes had almost nothing to do with the rest of Apple.

In our daily conversations (my office was only 20 feet from his) and on our frequent walks outside, around the buildings, Steve talked often about his frustration that Apple was quickly turning into a company with a traditional structure and way of operating. He talked a lot about the danger, often speaking of the rest of Apple and especially the other product groups as “the bozo organizations.” They were hiring people with the right degrees and the right experience at other companies, paying little attention to whether they had the start-up mentality.

He didn’t want the Mac group to be dragged into this and lose the entrepreneurial focus—the ability to see and be motivated by an inspiring vision of the future.

He went to his original partner, Steve Wozniak, who had been responsible for creating the original Apple computer and the Apple II, and for choosing the hardware engineers and programmers. Steve told Woz, “We need to build a new team for the Macintosh.” Woz fully bought into that, but his heart still belonged to the Apple II, which was his own creation. Before Jobs could get any support from his start-up partner, Woz crashed an airplane he was flying—stalling on takeoff in a type of plane he wasn’t sufficiently familiar with. He was seriously injured, even losing ...

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