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

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Facing Up to Criticism

If you manage to conceive of a radically new product and bring it to market while remaining true to your vision, be prepared for the likely onslaught of criticism. Steve experienced that when the Macintosh was first introduced. The same thing happened again years later. So-called experts and journalists warned that Apple was making a huge and costly misstep when Steve announced the first Apple store. The company had zero experience in retailing, which is a notoriously difficult field to survive in, let alone show a significant profit; established, nationwide retail chains go out of business regularly because they are unable to remain profitable.

But once Steve had the vision of what he wanted to do and had made certain that his instincts aligned with his goal, he stuck by his decision and followed his gut.

And what happened? As Apple opened more and more stores, the critics changed their tune. I noted earlier that on a per-square-foot measure, the Apple stores were generating far more sales than any other national retail chain in the United States. That was true even though discount retailers were selling the same Apple products at reduced prices!

The moral is, make your goal something you strongly believe in, make certain you have a clear vision of how it will benefit your customers, process enough information to confirm you are moving in the right direction, and then stand by your decisions.

And be prepared to withstand the criticism of people who don’t ...

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